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Trip Report Venice in Winter, highlights and tips

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I recently spent four nights in Venice with my 24-year old son. We took the high speed train from Bologna. The only time I had ever been to Venice was in the summer and horribly crowded, so I was looking forward to seeing the city without crowds. For the most part, I did, and I highly recommend it. The only crowded places were leaving Piazza San Marco, walking through the small crowded calles filled with mask shops, and along the "road" from the train station to the Rialto Bridge.

We stayed in Santa Croce very near the train station and a vaporetto stop. It was a fine location but if I were to return in winter I would probably stay in either Dorsoduro or Cannareggio. Here are some hIghlights:

SEEING/DOING highlights and tips:

1. I got to the Gallerie dell' Accademia at 9:00 on Monday morning and there were only five people in there with me. It was spectacular, and so wonderful to be able to spend time alone with the art. After that I had a magical walk through Dorsoduro, Campo S. Margherita, visited the magnificent I Frari, and then on through San Polo back to the hotel.

2. We got to Piazza San Marco, early, around 9:30 and the Basilica was almost empty. By 11 the piazza was filling up. The Basilica was amazing, especially outside, and also the (weird) treasure room.

3. Taking the vaperetto is a marvelous way to travel and see the city. I recommend vaporetto hopping and riding it from one end of the canal to the other and walking back as a great wat way to see and get a sense of the layout of Venice. It can also make a nice break from the occasional frustrations of getting lost, especially at night.

4. The Canneregio is a charming, quiet, atmospheric neighborhood to walk in. Stroll the narrow calles to the Fondamente Nove to see a bigger view of the water that feeds the canal, and watch the ferries to the outer islands, and then meander along Fondamente di Ormasini with its good bars and small canal/boats scenery. It feels like a place people actually live in.

5. Visit the charming Campo San Giacamo with its pretty church and kids playing soccer at dusk. There's also a small coop supermarket there. It's close to La Zucca too.

6. I used a laundromat in Santa Croce, close to the bridge to the train station. It was easy and fast.

FOOD
I had low food expectations for Venice, especially since we don't care for much seafood. However, we ate surprisingly well. Highlights/tips:

1. La Zucca (recommended by several people here) was excellent, and close to our hotel which was nice for the first night. I could have eaten there again. I had the hotel make reservations for me ahead of time as it's very small.

2. We had a delicious lunch at Algiubagio on Fondamente Nove in Cannareggio. It is right on the water. We got there early and sat at a table at the bar with a view.

3. Dinner at Bistrot de Venise was very good. It's a bit of an old school white tablecloth scene.

4. We had good ciccheti at a couple of places along Fondamente di Ormasini in Cannareggio and at Dei Zemei in San Polo.

5. AMAZING PIZZA in San Polo at Birraria La Corte on Campo San Polo. Get one of the specials with buffalo mozzarella.

That's all I can think of for now. Will come back and post if anything else comes to mind.

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