Leaving Thursday--last minute advice?

Aug 19th, 2003, 06:41 PM
  #1  
slc
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Leaving Thursday--last minute advice?

Hi--I'm making my first trip to Italy on Thursday (opportunity to attend conference in Padua), and invited my 14 year old niece along. We're going to stay in Venice for 4 nights (Pensione Accademia) before conference starts, and then will be in Padua 5 nights.

Thanks to this board, I feel like we're pretty ready, and we're very excited! But have some last minute questions, and would appreciate advice:

If use a water taxi, so you tip on top of fare? If so, what would you recommend?

Do you tip concierge daily? At the point they arrange something for you? At end of stay?

Lastly, has anyone tried touring the lagoon islands on your own (without a tour)? Any advice?

Thanks very much!
slc is offline  
Aug 19th, 2003, 08:35 PM
  #2  
 
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The answers would be No, No, yes.
Tip the concierge when you get there and ask the questions about the last question, "what boats do you take for tours of bla bla islands and where do you find the boat in relation to the hotel?" Get a boat pass for the amount of days you will be there. Just get it punched daily, much cheaper. If the concierge goes overboard to give more information during the course of your trip, tip as you leave. $5 should be good for a warm up unless you ask for cars with drivers (not in Venice!) special services like tics to the opera etc, then $20 is good for a posh hotel. Be sure to tip the guy who does all the work, as many concierge can work one desk. And by all means see Burano! Forget Murano (glass island with big sales pitches!) and save time by seeing the Pauly showroom next to St. Mark's square. Get directions from the concierge! Truly, if you want to see the Venetian glass, see the best...and save yourself the sales pitches at lesser factories!
You are in for a trip of a lifetime!
Enjoy1
Deloris is offline  
Aug 19th, 2003, 09:20 PM
  #3  
slc
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Deloris: Thanks for your reply! Although I've lived in NY and Washington and am used to tipping, I never feel like I'm really comfortable with it! And I've read different things about tipping in Italy, so I was looking for some consensus. Thanks also for the name of the store near San Marco; I think we'll make sure to do that. My niece wanted to see glass-blowing, and I thought we needed to go to Murano for that (but would prefer not to go on a tour that takes you to a particular glass factory). Anyway, thanks for your reply, and for the good wishes!
slc is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 05:38 AM
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Slc,

Regarding your question of tipping the water taxi, we tipped him on our recent trip. I think we tipped about 10-15 euro on top of the 85 euro fare to the airport. I just felt it was proper since we typically tip any other type of taxi service. Plus he was on time, helped with luggage, and was very pleasant.

We spent four days in Venice proper and still never got to see everything. I usually don't suggest going to the outer islands (Murano, Burano, etc.) on a shorter trip. However, if you or your niece are very much into the art of blown glass, then I would highly suggest you take the time to see that on the outer islands.

Have a wonderful time!
Statia is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 06:01 AM
  #5  
slc
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Statia:
Thanks for your reply. I'm also used to tipping, but ever since my relatives in Ireland refused to let us tip in a pub (saying that the people who live there don't tip, and don't spoil it by making people start to expect it!), I've been trying to attend to local norms. But the water taxi norm is unclear to me!

re: lagoon islands, we're also considering making it a day trip from Padua, and not use Venice time for that (from what most people including yourself say, I think we'll enjoy wandering around Venice itself too much!). Do you think that's do-able as a day trip? i.e., take train in after morning meetings, then vaporetto to islands?
slc is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 06:05 AM
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Slc,

Personally I would not attempt any of the outer islands on a day trip. On a day trip I would stick to San Marco and San Polo districts. Possibly Dorsoduro, if you have the time. If you leave Venice proper on a day trip, you won't see any of it before you have to leave!

Have fun! Wish it were me returning.
Statia is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 08:41 AM
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I still am not sure when to tip and when not. we tipped the water taxi to the airport. he was on time, ride was great and he helped with luggage.

small tip: if taking water taxi TO the airport there will be people waiting at the airport to "assist" you with bags. they looked official to us and we went along. turns out it was a private company who charged 15 euros for the ride to the entyrance and to carry bags in. free shuttle was 30 feet away. (made through an entire trip without thinking I was scammed before this). with that said if you have a lot of bags or need assitance they were helpful!
eschule is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 09:39 AM
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We were there a week in May. I didn't use water taxis, but bought a pass for the vaporettos.

With the vaporetto pass, we took one day to ride from the accademia stop around to the far side of the island, then to Murano and Burano and back, then continued around the main island back to the accademia stop. It was a great day; we had lunch at Burano where there are some good restaurants.

We just walked around Murano and watched some glass blowing through an open door, and bought some glasses in a shop. There was absolutely no high-pressure sales pitch. I think this reputation comes from the tours arranged from the hotels where the glass shop provides a water taxi and a demonstration, and the price of that is dealing with a salesman; I am surprised that people seem to expect that the taxi and tour would be without cost.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 09:48 AM
  #9  
slc
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Statia: Thanks for your advice. I think we'll play it by ear, see if my niece still wants to go to islands after we've spent time in Venice.

Eshule: I'm glad to see I'm not the only one confused about tipping norms on the water taxi! Thanks for YOUR tip about the guys waiting to "help". I'll make sure we look for the shuttle.

Cleveland Brown: That makes the islands sound inviting! It's the high pressure sales that didn't, but it sounds like if you go on your own and wander around, you can avoid that. So I guess I'll wait till we're there to decide.

Can't wait, if I can just get everything done today!
slc is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 10:46 AM
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I assume you realize you can take the alilaguna from Marco Polo airport to the hotel. It's 10e/person (don't know if there are children's fares). If you do this, make sure to go to the Zattere stop (not all alilagunas make this stop-ask before you get on). This takes longer than a water taxi & you do have to walk a bit from the boat to the hotel (a water taxi will drop you right at the hotel's landing) but it's a nice ride & the savings will pay for a meal or 2!

I think we only tipped 5e on top of the fare on the water taxi back to the airport. The driver didn't seem upset.
mclaurie is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 10:50 AM
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wishing you a wonderful trip and please give us a trip report upon your return....
JandaO is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 01:29 PM
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I would disagree with the posts that you should skip the islands of Murano and Burano. We found them to be lovely (now Torcello we saw in a rainstorm, and were exhausted, so I'm biased -- though my husband did sit on Atilla the Hun's throne). You can easily do them in half a day though I'd recommend a full day. Burano features quaint painted buildings -- a quick walk around town and into the shops where they sell lace (maybe a handkerchef as a memento) is worth doing. For Murano, agree that if your hotel arranges the glass tour, there's a better chance you will be pressured into buying something. We happened upon a shop near St. Marks and were talking aloud about visiting Murano the next day. A shopkeeper heard our conversation and offered to take us over to his father's shop on the island. It can't hurt to ask around -- and we got quite a history of the area during our ride. There are plenty of shops on Murano that sell less expensive blown glass necklaces and bracelets. Your niece should definitely get one! I happen to be wearing mine right now! Plus just walking around Murano was so nice -- it wasn't crowded and there was beautiful scenery, including a fellow selling fish from his boat.

Overall, riding the vaporetto from island to island was SO easy - you will have such a great time!
hlphillips2 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2003, 03:18 PM
  #13  
slc
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McLaurie: Thanks for tactfully checking whether I knew I didn't have to take a water taxi. In fact, I was originally planning on using aliguna, but then my mom sprang for the taxi--so who am I to object?! (I guess I could just tell her that we took the taxi and then save the difference for restaurants...but I think my niece would rat me out!)

JandaO: Thanks for best wishes! I think I'll be excited once I'm on my way. I'll try to do the trip report, though I'm intimidated by some of the others I've read!

hlphillips2: Thanks for sharing your experience with visiting the lagoon islands. It does sound like you had a good experience; I think I'll keep it on our agenda, but be prepared to change once we're there.

Thanks everyone!
slc is offline  
Aug 21st, 2003, 06:57 AM
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You may already be gone, slc, but if not, I assumed you knew about the alilaguna. I just wanted to make sure you knew about the Zattere stop for the Accademia Hotel. When I went last Dec, I thought we'd have to go to San Marco & change to a vaparetto to the Accademia stop but was told by the man who sold us the alilaguna tickets about taking the boat to Zattere. Have a great time!
mclaurie is offline  

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