must see- things to do in venice

Sep 24th, 2004, 10:53 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Rady, when my husband, daughter and I first went to Italy in the 1970's we had a business that kept us so busy we hardly had time to get the airline tickets. I did have the advantage of being born and raised in the Bay Area (San Francisco and the Bay Area) and had Italians around me from the time I was born and so heard their stories of Italy, their cities, their little villages, their lifestyles etc. But that was it! So we flew to Milpensa airport from San Francisco without the value of spending hours reading guide books, did not even know where we were going except for the first nights lodging in Milano. The plane arrived in Milpensa (Alitalia which at that that time was a wonderful airline). Had no idea how to get to Milano. Saw there was a bus, bought tickets and got on the bus to Milan. At one point my husband asked me "do you know where we are?" My answer was "no, but who cares, we are in Italy". Arrived at the station, got a taxi, went to the hotel that we had the reservation with and from there on -- the two most beautiful months. At a book store we bought the 2 maps (Northern Italy and Southern Italy). Picked up the car at the rental agency we had made arrangements for from the USA. And off we went. The most beautiful,wonderful two months anyone could have. Have been back to Italy many times since but the most wonderful trip was the first one, the magic of everything, the surprises, the unplanned itinery. We did not have have reservations, we just moved on or not as we pleased. While in Naples we decided to go to Capri for 3 days. Made arrangements to leave most of our luggage at the hotel in Naples while we were gone. Ended up staying in Capri for 10 days. I could go on and on but the point that I want to make is that most travelers over worry, try to schdule, try to educate themselves about each and every moment of their trip. You want to go to Venice. You have no clue as to what to do. Believe me,please, you will arrive in Venice and you will discover what to do. Walk throughout Venice, check out the restaurants and go into the ones that interest you. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Don't make this a "homework assignment". And if you miss something "important" so what? You can go back again. Believe me, Italians laugh at tourist that have an agenda for every moment of their vacation. That is not "dolce vita".
LoveItaly is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 12:01 AM
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The best advice I saw was to get lost in Venice. It's the best way to get to know Venice. If you only have a day or two, then you want to hit the hot spots. I myself like the little know spots best. I never plan my trips to Venice and never really will. Carefull who you listen to, it's half opinion anyway. Ciao, TVP
TVP is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 12:08 AM
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I can't get over the attitude of some of the people replying to this question. A holiday can not be planned to perfection. Some people have an idea of what they would like to see and do and others go with the flow! I'm going to Venice in two weeks for the first time. I'm bringing my partner for her birthday and we have bought a small guidebook. I have glanced through the book to get some tips but I certainly don't know the history of each area or building. I'm looking forward to learning that when I get there. To me that's more exciting than reading it in a book. Rady, enjoy yourselves and see what takes youyr fancy when you get there!!
jake is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 06:02 AM
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A professor once told the class, "what you out of this course depends on what you put in to it." I feel the same way about vacation planning.
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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You don't need no stinking guidebooks.

Just walk aimless through the narrow, twisting, winding streets and see what you see. Nobody has the energy to search out that special fountain or neat little park. And who needs a map -just walk around and around and keep soaking it all in for the third and fourth time.

Hey, if a great museum is closed that day, just laugh and move on. So what if you miss that famous bridge, charming church or exciting market. Just chalk it up to being carefree and unrestricted. Who cares if you never knew if you were just a block away from that superb view or great shop. Why stress yourself with little details?

Besides, it will make a great story when you get home. Let me tell you about all the neat stuff we missed in .....

Remember, its only time and money you are expending. Planning is for suckers.
degas is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 08:23 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We have been to Venice four times - we must like it - the last time we had the DK Eyewitness guidebook. It is a good reference book with good maps. It is a bit bulky so we studied before setting out and didn't take it with us. Got along fine.

I would suggest the 72 hour vaporetto pass. We used it a lot.

Have a great trip

ed is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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Although I mentioned a guidebook in my earlier post, I want to chime in again. I said that because Rady seemed to want to know specifically what there was to do in Venice.

Personally I am with Degas on this one (and so eloquently stated I might add!) Venice is a true gem and all you have to do is get yourself there. The rest will unfold before you!
suze is online now  
Sep 25th, 2004, 10:09 AM
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Uh, Suze... Degas is a big ole leg-puller. He absolutely DOES plan his trips, have you not seen his threads on various Paris walks?...Reread his note, injecting just a tad of sarcasm, and then you will get it...
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 07:40 PM
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Who said anything about perfection? rady is doing the right thing asking for advice--there are wonderful things to see in Venice (Rome, Paris, London, etc.) that, for most people, are definite must-sees, and there others that might not be the most famous sights/experiences, but fit your interests. And you could miss them if you don't do some research and planning. This is not the same as saying every minute of every day has to be planned precisely leaving no room for exploration and spontaneity.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Sep 25th, 2004, 08:03 PM
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rady, everything in moderation.

IMHO its always best to at least know your options. A health dose of planning and research allows for exploration and spontaneity and reduces confusion and frustration.

Get a map ahead of time and "learn" the city so you can "wander" in all the right directions.

degas is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 07:44 AM
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I've done both...planned a trip down to every detail, and arrived without a clue as to what to do.

I had a great time either way.

One of the most important things I've learned about European travel is hotel location...try to stay close to some major sights, and close to transportaion. This requires some pre-planning.

I'm sure you'll have a great time in Venice. You'll quickly figure out the lay of the land.
Jim_Tardio is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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For Travelnut & Degas... I thought it was too good to be true! That finally someone was strongly supporting my no guidebook necessary philosophy- LOL.
suze is online now  
Sep 26th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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I feel that it is the traveler's responsibility to plan their trip, to at least do basic research, whether by books or by websites. I think a forum should be for additional information to round out your plans, to clarify something you don't understand, to get advice about your choices or alternate suggestions, etc. I think a person who pops in and says, "here I go, I have NO IDEA, you do the work and tell me what to do" is being lazy and deserves whatever results they get. If they enjoy themselves, that's great. If that is how they wish to spend their travel dollars, more power to 'em, it just isn't my style.
Travelnut is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 11:24 AM
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There are more emails regarding everyone's opinion on planning vs venice itself. Enough already. Now I remember why I stopped checking out these discussions. Your idea of preparing for a trip is just one way. Ever hear of spontaneity? Some of the best things happen by chance.
carol04 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 01:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 68
Dear Rady--Simply "get lost", remembering that you're on an island! Seek out the back streets, get to know the locals and by all means, do take a Gondola ride...Also, take the 30 minute, inexpensive boat ride to colorfully romantic--Burano...Of course there are world-class museums but simply sitting in St. Marks Square while orchestras play Italian classics is a "don't miss" event.--Order some grappa and soak up the atmosphere.
Venice is in a league by itself...What else can I say?

If you want more information, I'm about to post an extensive trip report of highlights which I hope will be of more specific assistance. It will be titled: "Venice & Environs: a unique trip report"...

Happy Travels, Cal
Cal is offline  
Sep 26th, 2004, 11:58 PM
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I also say you've got to experience the Florian. (San Marco Piazza) it's so over the top. Sit inside and do so before the music starts. We ordered "toast" and coffee. I loved it.
PamSF is offline  

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