Venice for the last leg of our trip

Aug 20th, 2009, 02:48 AM
  #1  
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Venice for the last leg of our trip

Carrying on from Florence by train to Venice. The countryside on the eastern side of Italy was a lot less hilly but still farmed straight up the hillside rather than following the contours. The soil still looked unfertile – maybe washed out from the way they farm. I only saw 2 cows on the route & wonder where all the livestock was & how they produce so much buffalo cheese. As in England the worrying sight of asbestos roofed buildings was in evidence but the roofs were more dilapidated & damaged than at home.
Arriving in Venice everyone was up & rushing for the doors. We were last off & I took time to check the train schedule to Treviso for our final departure. The fare was 2.35 each but the only trains appeared to be at 10.18 & 12.00.
Exiting the train terminal was like walking into a different world. Boats of every size buzzing everywhere. It reminded me of the Mersey back in the 60’s before all the docks closed. I needed the No 1 to Sant Angelo stop so queued up for tickets. Tickets were 6.50 each that included 1 suitcase each. The fare structure seemed very expensive and geared against tourists on whom they must rely. I had time to work out the various price tariffs & for 4 of us it would not be worth the cost of 12 hour, 24 hour, 3 day or weekly ticket as we would not use the ferries that much. Each trip therefore would be 6.50 each & considering the cost for train tickets this is quite a mark up. The boat was quite full but it was marvellous sailing along looking at the buildings & boats. It was a short walk from the stop to the apartment. Because of the trouble with romesweethome it was after 3.00 when we started looking for somewhere to eat. Heading towards San Marco square all the restaurants were shut. Finding one off Calle Larga XXII Marzo we ordered a caprese, 4 basic pastas, water & I had a coffee – 102 euros. The bill included 20 euro cover charge & included a service charge so watch out when in Venice. The same meal was 50 euros in Rome.
Getting over the cost of that meal we headed off to san Marco square. I expected massive crowds but it was quite empty. We sat on the steps at the pier to rest with our feet in the water soaking up the atmosphere. Later we relaxed in the gardens at Giardinetti Reali – it could do with a prune & general tidy up. After sunset we meandered back to the apartment, past the handbag sellers who are not as insistent as in Florence. We were unable to pick up any bread or milk for breakfast.

Wednesday off to the Rialto relying on the signs on the walls for direction. This was the busiest area so far but still not as bad as I was expecting. Everyone was prepared to take photos for you on the bridge. All the shops & stalls seem to be selling exactly the same stuff for the same price. Either the credit crunch has not hit here or there is such a big demand for plastic gondolas, ashtrays, painted face masks & clocks that they need so many. Wound our way round to the Accademia bridge & back to the apartment. Could not find anywhere that had bread for sale until campo santo Stefano where I got the last 4 rolls. Whilst the others were resting I went out in search of bread, got lost, ended up at the Rialto & then found my way back to campo sant Angelo but was unable to find any bread.
Our evening walk was over the Accademia bridge & to the Zattere waterfront. After soaking our feet in the water we meandered back. The streets are like the back alleys in Liverpool that you don’t want to go down so there is a sense of danger when walking down the street in Venice to overcome.

Thursday I was determined to get some bread & was out before breakfast. Plenty of bread stacked up & so I picked a few different shaped breads. Unlike in Rome & Florence the crusts are soft & no matter what shape they were they are all the same. Our destination today was to the ghetto area. Stopping at some curtain shops to check the lace for sale we found some curtains that were ok but nothing special – for the price they were charging it would have to be special. I got some seeds for my allotment next year & at last some plastic flowers. The ghetto area was different to the Rialto & Accademia area. There was a definite tangible change considering it was only a stones throw away. The restaurant advertised no cover charge & our meal was around 60 euros. We continued on up to the train terminal & got a vaporretto back to sant Angelo – 6.50 euro each.
Our evening was out to san Marco where we listened to the music, soaked our feet & bought another handbag.

Friday rushed out for bread before it was sold out & then off across the Rialto & up through the santa Croce area to the bus terminus. On the way we found the Beatles shop – Liverpool only has half as much stuff as this shop! We tried to get dinner inside but they all wanted you to eat outside – heat, sparrows & pigeons. An Irish/Italian allowed us to eat inside. After lunch I checked out the bus prices whilst the family went into Giardino Papadopoli. The direct bus to Treviso airport departs each hour & cost 6 euros each. So dearer than the train but was direct & fitted in with our expected departure time. We then took a gondola ride – you can’t come to Venice and not go one. It was 80 euros for the 30 minutes short circuit, 90 euros for a slightly larger circuit taking 40 minutes or 100 euros for the biggest circuit. We were hoping to just have 30 minutes towards our apartment & get off – that would cost double as the gondola had to return. We took the 90 euro circuit. It was so relaxing floating along & I was sure my daughter fell asleep.
We headed back to the Accademia bridge & then to the apartment. The campo santa Margheritta area had some interesting shops – even had the latest star wars lego at internet prices. There was also a different feel to the area, more social & friendly. It was the area where we had originally booked but been moved to the sant Angelo area.
Our final night we walked over to the Salute stop. It was very quiet & had no where to safely dip your feet. Back at San Marco we dipped our feet & then as the sun set listened to the music being played in the square.

Saturday bought a few rolls, packed & we were out by 10.00 just as the electric was turned off. Had trouble getting luggage on the vaporetto as most people leave around 10.00 & the boat was full. Caught the 11.10 bus to Treviso & were on our way home. The building work on the way to Treviso would not indicate that the credit crunch has hit this area but it is only the impression I got.
Treviso airport is built like a motorway café & all too soon we were off back to Liverpool.

It was said you would either love Venice or hate it. I didn’t hate it but neither did I love it. I am glad I went & would recommend going to anyone who asks. There is an awful lot of repair needed & with the rising aqua I am not sure if Venice will survive in its present state. There are signs of investment in its future but I am not sure that this will be enough.
johngerard is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 04:51 AM
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>>The streets are like the back alleys in Liverpool that you don’t want to go down so there is a sense of danger when walking down the street in Venice to overcome.<<

The streets in Venice may *look* like the back alleys of Liverpool (I wouldn't know; I've never been to Liverpool), but there is *no* danger at all in Venice, beyond pickpocketing in obvious tourist places.
Zerlina is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Are cover charges at restaurants common in Venice, Florence, and Rome?
jimday is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 12:20 PM
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jimday - we spent a week in Venice last November and most places charged a coperto/service charge. It was usually 1.50 to 2.50 Euro, and was clearly indicated on the menu, so no surprises. However, we didn't eat in any restaurants in the tourist area of San Marco or any right on the Grand Canal. I believe the coperto can be much more at those places. And since there is a service charge added to the bill, it is not necessary, or expected, that you leave a tip. If you do tip, it's usually just the small change left after paying the bill - maybe a Euro or two at the most.
SCFoodie is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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>>The streets are like the back alleys in Liverpool that you don’t want to go down so there is a sense of danger when walking down the street in Venice to overcome.<<

On my first visit to Venice I felt as you did. My NYC upbringing naturally dislikes walking down any alley (and the calle are dark). When I returned for a second visit I had no problem and felt no sense of danger - of course, I still stayed alert (can't kill that hablt).
Margaretlb is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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Thanks SCFoodie, I was actually wondering about a cover charge (not a service charge) as noted in the OP:

"The bill included 20 euro cover charge & included a service charge so watch out when in Venice."
jimday is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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hi johnregard

I know that it's a bit late now, but if you google an address [like your apartment] you can then search for businesses like "bakery", "supermarket" etc. we did this when we stayed in an apartment near the Rialto last year, and I can think of at least 3 bakeries near there, and two supermarkets, all of which sell bread.

i love Venice, and in 4 visits, i've never yet been in a Gondola. as for the cost of vaporetto tickets, you are right -locals who can prove residence qualify for passes that are substantially cheaper then anything a tourist can get, AND there are one or two lines that are reserved for them. I aspire to one of those passes - one day.

you were obviosuly ripped off with your first meal - it happens, even in Rome - vis a recent infamous case involving some japanese tourists, who were charged over €700 for lunch. a cover charge [mainly for bread, and cutlery, LOL] and a service charge are customary, but the coperto is normaly only €1-2, not €5 pp. they are obliged to display a menu outside so looking for the coperto before you go in is a good idea.

never mind- at least you didn't hate it. better luck next time.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Aug 21st, 2009, 10:08 PM
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I fell so hard for Venice on my first trip in 2002 that she alone dragged me back for a second try in 2005... and now I'm headed again next month! (I'm giddy, that's the first time I've said it since it's less than a month!)

I can easily undersand johngerard's experience, and am saddened their trip seemed so commercial. However, I know the other Venice and would urge people not to shy away from visiting her. I am unforunately scared like the O.P. that Venice may not be around to visit one day...

First visit I stayed in Cannaregio (Hotel Giorgione - wonderful!) for 3 nights and that made all the difference - it was a lovely neighborhood.

2nd visit we stayed directly on the lagoon in San Marco and it felt to be a horribly touristy experience. Yes I know I too was a tourist, but the difference is palpable.

'Touristy' is like Bermuda when you get off a ship with 3000 of your new closest friends & overwhelm a small town. Our neighborhood Venice experience was more like taking the bus to the Swizzle Inn (keeping w Bermuda example). I was a tourist in both cases, but it was much more enjoyable to be traveling by bus to a local watering hole.

Venice is to be enjoyed, not conquered. I am a type A trip planner, but I can wander Venice & get lost among canals, architechure, food, shops, & public art as easily as I can breathe. I've never responded to another destination as I do Venice!
travelphile is offline  
Aug 30th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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I did enjoy your report, thank you!!

But, I kept getting the willies when you mentioned soaking your feet in the canals! Call me a wuss, but I'd never do that!

Cheers.
YvonneT is offline  
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