Need advice: 4 days in Venice


Jan 12th, 2012, 07:55 AM
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Need advice: 4 days in Venice

My girl and I will be in Venice during the start of Carnival and I want to make sure we don't miss out on anything. We have the museum pass, secret itinerary for Doges Palace and the Clock Tower tour with plans for Murano, Burano and Torcello. Aside from that the plan is just wandering around and enjoying whatever we run into. Any advice (entertainment, meals, sights etc..) is greatly appreciated. Thanks!
MrLeo is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2012, 08:38 AM
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I was in Venice last fall with my boyfriend. I'll describe a few of our favorites.

Our favorite meal was at a tiny, very expensive restaurant (even for Venice) named Ristorante Da Ivo ( It is within easy walking distance of Piazza San Marco and is accessible on foot or via gondola. There are about 10 tables in the restaurant, and it is extremely cozy and romantic. The food was delicious, and the service was excellent. Reservations are essential.

Several nights after dinner we sat outside Cafe Lavena in Piazza San Marco and listened to the orchestra and even danced. While it is not quite as famous as its neighbors Florian and Quadri, we liked their orchestra better.

One night I had planned a gondola ride before dinner. We had a recommendation from a friend for the Ristorante da Rafaelle ( It is located alongside a canal fairly near the Gritti Palace Hotel and Santa Maria del Giglio. There is a gondola station in the canal right next to the restaurant. We secured a gondola, I got in, my boyfriend got us drinks for our ride from the restaurant, and we took an early dusk ride through picturesque back canals with also a stretch along the Grand Canal (which is just what I had requested). When the gondola returned to the station, we went immediately to our reserved canal-side table. The food here was very good too. Again, I had made reservations several weeks in advance.

This trip I made it a point to take a more relaxed approach and do some wandering through less-crowded areas, which was nice. We enjoyed sitting at the Cafe Rosa Salva in Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo. Their boiled egg and prosciutto sandwiches are simple and delicious.

I highly recommend Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari if you like churches or beautiful art. It is plain on the outside, but has a lovely Titian and Bellini on the inside. I skipped it this time but would go back.

This trip we took the vaporetto from the stop in front of our hotel, the Danieli, to the next stop, San Giorgio Maggiore. There is an elevator which ascends to the top of the campanile where you find magnificent views of Venice and the lagoon. The line was very short, and you get a different perspective from the campanile of San Marco.

If you visit the Basilica San Marco, go up to the museum where they have the original Quadriga (the 4 horses on the front). You can see them and also walk out on the balcony with the copy of the Quadriga for wonderful views of the Piazza.

Murano was nice, but I really liked just wandering around Burano photographing the many-colored houses.
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Jan 12th, 2012, 10:18 AM
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It's impossible not to miss out anything in Venice in merely 4 days. All my visits summed up, I've spent more than one year in that city, and still don't know everything. So get yourself a really good guidebook, and see what's of primary interest for you and what not. And don't stick to the "must-sees" of "everyone". The Secret Itineraries Tour, for example, is certainly skipable for people who don't already know Venice pretty well - the standard (non guided) tour of the Doge's Palace is far more rewarding, and that's still not one of Venice's first-rate sights IMO.
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Jan 12th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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Martin and I loved the Secret Itinerary Tour especially the part where you go up and are standing under the roof above the other rooms. With the SI ticket the only tour guide that is included is for that part of the tour, I believe the ticket allows you to go through all the rest of the Doge's Palace on your own. Siena, Venice and Florence all have their main tourist attractions pretty close to each other and easily marked with directional signs all over the city, so you won't get lost, but I do recommend getting lost in Venice. Trust me there is nothing like discovering these cities on your own. I know Italy might sound overwhelming but once you get here you'll see that it's safe, and you'll enjoy discovering the shops and romantic alleyways on your own and without a guide.

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Jan 12th, 2012, 12:57 PM
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Since you are going to Murano (I liked), Burano( I LOVED) and Torcello (lovely but just needs a quick trip), try and go to St. Michaels ( the very first island) which is the cemetery and very interesting.
jan47ete is offline  
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Jan 12th, 2012, 03:37 PM
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WE've spent a while in Venice. Burano and Torcello are really worth seeing, Murano less so. But maybe if yo are interested in seeing glass being made, then Murano is worth visiting. You may experience quite a hard sell in the showrooms.

A couple of trip reports that might be interesting for you, if you've got a lazy hour or two: and

A book that is worth looking at is "Secret Venice" by Jonglez.
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Jan 13th, 2012, 05:47 AM
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Thank You for the responses. I love having a lot of information to go over and consider so this is all very much appreciated. Please keep it coming. Thanks

@ Peter_S_Aus I have some time free today so I'll be reading over those trip reports
MrLeo is offline  
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Jan 13th, 2012, 12:32 PM
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Mr Leo,

Mr Leo, Several years back I posted a similar question here. One of the replies i recieved recommended I pick up the following book:
Venice For Pleasure: 40 Years On by JG Links.

Mr Links had a passion for Venice and he details several "walking tours" in the various "districts" or Sestieri of Venice. This is only walking tours book I've ever used that doesn't expect you to read and walk simultaneously. Instead, Mr. Links walks you to a café/park bench/great vista and invites you take a seat while he tells you everything about what you can see. I am confident you will find it very useful and an enjoyable read

Buon Viaggio
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Jan 13th, 2012, 01:11 PM
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I agree with a few people who mentioned that you should leave time to just wander and get lost in Venice. One of my most fond memories of Venice was traveling with a friend and we left San Marco to head toward the train station 2 hours before our train. We did not pay attention to the time at all, just wandered around enjoying ourselves, and by the time we made it to the train station we had missed it by an hour. We didn't mind at all, because there are so many hidden gems and beautiful areas all over Venice.

Buon Viaggio.
samori is offline  
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Jan 13th, 2012, 02:55 PM
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yes, i liked Mr. Links' book too.

just wandering is a great way to enjoy yourself in venice.
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