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There Nights in Venice - Lodging, Tour, Places, Language

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Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:51 PM
  #1
BPN
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There Nights in Venice - Lodging, Tour, Places, Language

Hello Everyone,

I'm splitting my posts by city in hope that future reader can find the information easier.

We will spend 3 nights in Venice (arrive 10AM Oct 12 via Thello train and leaving morning Oct 15 for the US). I know it's not a lot of time especially this is our first time in Venice. Hope this will just be the first deposit for future trips

We are looking for more information/specificity for the below items. Any suggestion/pointer is appreciated:

1. Lodging: given the short time, we would like to stay in the center near most of the attractions. Our price range is ~120-160 EUR. Which area we should stay in? Which hotel?
3. Sight: We probably will spend most time around the Canal and Piazza San Marco. Do you have any additional suggestion?
4. Tour: Do you know any good tour that take us though major landmarks and probably a cruise on the Canal?
5. Food: We want to try local food ($$ midrange) and probably one nice romantic dinner. We are open to Venice and/or other region of Italian cooking
6. Language: We don't know Italian. Can you recommend a phrase book or even better a phone app that can help ?

Did we miss any "must" item?

Thank you in advance for all your help,
BPN
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 05:45 PM
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Sorry - you really need to look at a map of Venice. There is not "the canal". There is the Grand Canal and there are hundreds of side canals - some very short - some linking to other parts of the city - also the lagoon and the bacino.

I would spend at least one day in the outer islands. I really prefer Torcello, which is most historic, but many go to Burano (fishing community) or Murano (glass blowing and mobbed with tourists).

How will you be getting into the city - by train or plane? Will you take a water taxi from where you arrive or a vaporetto (water bus - not great if you have a lot of luggage)? What you take depends in part on where your hotel is and the location of the closest dock - so you don;t have to haul luggage across a lot of bridges(over all the canals).

And you don;t "cruise the canal". Depending on where you are going you rake the varpoetto or walk. You can rent a gondola for a "romantic" ride i the evening but the prices are sky high and most of the gondolieri can't sing.

I would read the Michelin green guide to Venice to decide what YOU want to see and do (it also tells you how ong varius sights take). IHO just wandering (you WILL get lost - all tourists do) is a lot of the fun - exploring neighborhoods, markets and the plethora of churches.

for good local food stick to the back calles and piazzas - since the tourist places are usually very expensive and not neccessariy very good (naturally some are but price is no guarantee). For a special meal I like Harry's or the roof of the Danieli (although many will say they are tourist traps - to me they are worth the high $). But we have just wandered down the sidewalks in residential areas and found quite a few pleasant and modest places.

Learn the basic greetings and polie phrases in Italian (will take a day or so) and then bring a menu reader with you. Venetian food is not heavily pasta-focused - it uses the rice of northern Italy (lots of risotto) and lots of seafood (many not usually found in the US). Be aware that fish is sold by weight and not portion - so know how much you are ordering and what the price will be.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 05:47 PM
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Sorry - can't help with hotels - that isn't our price point.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 06:31 PM
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Everyone in Venice speaks English.

Everyone.


I hate San Marco. I like Cannaregio or Dorsoduro, even San Polo.

See what you can rustle up at the Hotel Scandinavia in Campo SM Formosa.

Not too far from San Marco, but far enough...

The most beautiful church in Venice is Santa Maria dei Miracoli. You really should see it.

If you LOVE art, you must visit Peggy Guggenheim. There is a glorious Chagall on display and you can become obsessed by the Joseph Cornell boxes.

No need to book a cruise of the canal. Just take the #1 or #2 vaporetto from San Marco to Ferrovia then walk back via the Lista di Spagna/Strada Nova.

Stop at the Rialto Market for cicchetti at Al Merca, Do Spade or Do Mori.


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Jul 23rd, 2014, 06:54 PM
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<< The most beautiful church in Venice is Santa Maria dei Miracoli. >>

Yes, Yes, Yes. I'm so happy that someone else thinks this church is beautiful!

<< We don't know Italian. Can you recommend a phrase book >>

Every decent guide book has phrases and pronunciation in the back of the book.

<< We probably will spend most time around the Canal >>

There are hundreds of canals - you can hardly get away from them.

You don't really need a tour in Venice but if you feel you would like one Viator is reasonably priced. They do not give the tours but work with local agencies.
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Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:47 PM
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Here is another vote for Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The most beautiful marble interior.

If you are near Camp Santa Maria Formosa, do visit the Foundation Querini Stampalia. Great architecture, also a cafe in the building and a lovely quiet courtyard.

If you click on my user name, you will find several trip reports about Venice. A favourite place for us.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 04:52 AM
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>>1. Lodging: given the short time, we would like to stay in the center near most of the attractions. Our price range is ~120-160 EUR. Which area we should stay in? Which hotel?<<

I think you're going to have a hard time finding a centrally located hotel for that price. The Scandanavia, mentioned earlier, is a decent choice but you'd be lucky to find a room there at your price. One possibility is to search some of the booking sites that offer deals if you pay upfront, with no refund.

>>3. Sight: We probably will spend most time around the Canal and Piazza San Marco. Do you have any additional suggestion?<<

I assumed you meant the Grand Canal. With your brief time in the city, you won't be able to do a lot of other areas. Burano, Murano, Torcello will take a full day, if that's how you choose to use your time. Go to one of the (Grand) canal-from hotels to have a drink at a waterside or rooftop bar.

>>4. Tour: Do you know any good tour that take us though major landmarks and probably a cruise on the Canal?<<

Through your hotel or a local travel agent, you can book a group gondola tour down the Grand Canal and into some back waterways. It's a cheaper and better alternative to hiring a single gondola. Check viator.com for group tours of the Doges Palace, etc.

>>5. Food: We want to try local food ($$ midrange) and probably one nice romantic dinner. We are open to Venice and/or other region of Italian cooking<<

We like Trattoria da Fiore -- not to be confused with the more famous, much more expensive Osteria da Fiore.

>>6. Language: We don't know Italian. Can you recommend a phrase book or even better a phone app that can help ?<<

You won't need it in Venice. But there are tons of sources available if you just want to say stuff like "thank you" and "you're welcome" in Italian.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 10:14 AM
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For hotel I stayed Antigo trovotore. It was nice and really close to everything.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 10:29 AM
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And while you are visiting Sta.Maria dei Miracoli, cross the little bridge for a meal at Da Alberto.
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Jul 24th, 2014, 12:30 PM
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If you can find a hotel in your price range in Cannaregio or Dorsoduro, do that instead of San Marco. Much of Venice is "central" and you don't have to be in San Marco to have access to its wonders.

If you go to tripadvisor and punch in your dates, select the location (sestiere) you want, it will come up with a bunch of choices in all price ranges so you can compare.

We enjoyed taking the #2 vaporetto to San Giorgio Maggiore. Art, lovely church and views. It sort of has it all in a very small package
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Jul 29th, 2014, 11:43 PM
  #11
BPN
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Thank you everyone for such great ideas/pointers. We are really excited looking forward to the trip

We plan to take the Thello train from Paris to Venice. We also will only have small carry-on luggage with us so I think we are ok with the steps.

We ended up reserving a room at Hotel Lisbona because of its location. We'll let you know how it goes.

Thank you,
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Jul 30th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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Jul 31st, 2014, 09:01 PM
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Burano Island is a cute little island with colourful houses, and for me it was worth the day trip. I went in April 2014 and only had 2.5days in Venice. What I did was visiting the Musseo Correr, St Marco Basilica, Doge's Palace in the morning; and went to Burano Island in the afternoon - was just in time for the sunset when we came back to the main lagoon.

I really liked the Doge's Palace as you can have access to the famous Bridge of Sighs from there, and a tour of the dungeon.

Have fun!
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