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Venice - Itinerary advice for first timers

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Jul 6th, 2013, 04:17 AM
  #1
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Venice - Itinerary advice for first timers

Hello All,

Well just over eight weeks until we set off on a 32 day trip around Europe. It's starting to sink in that I haven't done as much research as I had hoped for at this stage. Any advice is so greatly appreciated!!

We are a couple in our early 20's. Not overly interested in art. Wanting to experience the culture and soak up the atmosphere. Any recommendations of things to add to the itinerary is great!

We are staying in an apartment near the Rialto (150m on west side of bridge). We will have 2 x suitcases and backpack/hand bag.

Thursday – 19 September
-Arrive on train at 2:35PM from Rome
-Catch vaporetti line 2 to Rialto and meet host to take to apartment. *How do you tell the direction of vaporetti you are getting on is correct?
-Explore local area to try and find our bearings (e.g. get lost) and walk to St Marks

Friday – 20 September
-See where the day takes us, do some exploring
-Catch Vaporetti to San Giorgio and go to the top of the San Giorgio Maggiore Campanile – (3E each) *What Vaporetti line takes you here?

Saturday – 21 September
-9:30AM Walks of Italy ‘Legendary Venice - St. Mark's Basilica & the Doge's Palace’ (59E each) (3 hours)
-Explore Dorsoduro
-Gondola ride *I have heard it is best to negotiate on the day and 80E is reasonable? Will they take you on the best route or they all differ?

Sunday – 22 September
-Check out Burano and Murano. *What would be the best way to get there from Rialto? Only maps I can find look confusing.
-Heliair Venice – Taste of Venice tour (75E each) (6min) *No booking details on website, trying to contact but email keeps rejecting.

Monday – 23 September
-Catch water taxi to Marco Polo for flight to Berlin at 9:10AM. *Thinking 6:00am pick up, this will allow extra time for check in? How do I book a water taxi? As we are staying in an apartment we won’t have hotel reception to assist us.

Thank you all in advance!
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Jul 6th, 2013, 04:31 AM
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Take your gondola ride at dusk. It's so atmospheric, so romantic. We had a gondolier who did a half-hearted attempt at singing, a half-hearted attempt at telling us some touristy-things, and then fell silent. The only sounds were the water on the boat, an occasional sound from another gondolier passing by and a few sounds from inside some of the buildings we passed. Pretty soon, we were only speaking in whispers ourselves. What a way to experience Venice!
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Jul 6th, 2013, 05:52 AM
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Since you will be near Rialto, you should visit the Rialto market early one morning. Friday should be a good day. Instead of Murano and Burano, I suggest Burano and Torcello. That is unless you want to purchase Venetian glass. They are more scenic and atmospheric. A vaporettto will get you there (I'm not sure of the number.)
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Jul 6th, 2013, 06:27 AM
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I'll try to answer some of the questions:

Vaporetto stops: Do yourself a favor and print out a vaporetto map, and take a minute or two to familiarize yorself with it. It's not overly complicated. That's going to be a whole lot better than asking yourself, or someone else (probably a tourist) "Which vaporetto goes to ..." every time you need to use it. You'll probably want to buy a 3-day pass, for the best bargain. Don't forget to validate the pass the first day you get on.

Gondola: I always recommend going to a local travel agent and booking the group gondola tour down the grand canal, if you don't mind sharing a gondola. It's way better than most single gondola rides. The single ride is one of the most overrated experiences in the western hemisphere. I get it. Everyone thinks they have to do it when in Venice. (JMHO)

Water taxi: Talk to the people who are managing your apartment. A lot of them have connections with water taxis, and will arrange one for you. Or prebook through www.venicelink.com, www.veneziataxi.it or www.motoscafivenezia.it .A 6 am pickup should be OK to make your flight (I think they charge extra for pickups before 7). I don't remember the exact time it takes to get to the airport via water taxi, but it's probably not more than about 30 minutes. (It's a great way to leave Venice.) You'll have a 5-10 min. walk from the dock to the airport building.

Getting to Murano/Burano: I believe the ferry runs from the San Zaccaria and Fondamente Nova stops. There's probably a vaporetto line (12?)that goes there, too, but I've only take the ferry.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 03:14 PM
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You can find the official map of the vaporetto system at this link:

http://www.actv.it/en/movinginvenice...rvicetimetable

*How do you tell the direction of vaporetti you are getting on is correct?*
A vaporetto will be labeled with its final destination. Some stops have different waiting areas for different directions. Otherwise, it's good to study a map and think about where you are and where you are going--"I need to take the boat headed to the right."

*Catch Vaporetti to San Giorgio and go to the top of the San Giorgio Maggiore Campanile – (3E each) *What Vaporetti line takes you here?* Line 2

*Check out Burano and Murano. *What would be the best way to get there from Rialto?*
My choice would be to use this as an opportunity to explore on foot. Find your way through Cannaregio to Fondamenta Nuova where you can catch a few different lines to Murano. To continue on to Burano from Murano, you catch Line 12 at the Murano Faro stop. You could also make a series of boat vaporetto from the Rialto area, but it would probably take longer than just walking, plus the walk will get you a bit off the beaten path.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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what ellenem says. the vaporetto stops have information on them like bus timetables so with that and your vaporetto map you should be fine.

IMO you should go straight to Burano from the Fondamente Nova, and on the way to the vaporetto stop, do allow yourselves a few minutes in the church of the Gesuiti - it has the most wonderful curtains you've ever seen - and only after a few minutes do you realise that they are all carved from marble. the church only opens in the mornings so you can't see it on the way back.

then get the little ferry over to Torcello - the stop is right next to where the vaporetto arrives and leaves. you can either eat on Torcello or have lunch on Burano and then get the ferry [which I think stops at lunch-time to allow the driver to get his lunch, in proper italian fashion!]

while you are wandering around, do make time to see the church of the Frari, and the Scuola grande di San Rocca which are near each other about half way between where you will be near the Rialto, and the Zattere. they are both full of wonderful art works, and though they are quite famous, they don't get THAT crowded and are very well worth seeing.

BTW, not boasting but I've been to Venice at least 6 times and not been on a gondola yet. so you don't need to do it to fall in love with Venice.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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The very best reason to go to Torcello is to see the mosaics in the church there. Don't miss this, even if you are not an art lover.

You'll notice that a few interior church sights have been mentioned. While they are art, they aren't in museums, and would be a shame to miss.

A gondola ride can be very hit or miss. On my honeymoon, we had a silent gondolier who took us through the most quiet and romantic dusky canals imaginable. We loved this so much that we went again a couple of nights later. That gondolier never shut up and spent a lot of time steering through big areas with wake.

If you really have the money, maybe book it through an online site. I notice that the TI office will do this, as well as the HelloVenezia website. Another option is the gondola tour. Not romantic, but you can say you were in a gondola.

We've been to Venice many times since our honeymoon, but haven't been in another gondola.
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Jul 7th, 2013, 04:43 PM
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When you exit the station, you'll be facing the Grand Canal in front of you. A vaporetto to Rialto will be going towards your left.

I'm with Anne - after six months in Venice, and four trips, we've never taken a gondola cruise.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 02:24 AM
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while we're on the subject of mosaics in churches, DO keep a store of 50c and €1 coins to feed into the machines that turn on the lights - many places have these little boxes which will cause the mosaics to be lit up but you need change to put in them.

and if you can try to get into the Basilica di San Marco when the lights are on - I did have a link to when this is but seem to have lost it - sorry. Perhaps someone else will know.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 05:08 AM
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This is not meant to be snarky. Are you not into art because you don't know very much about it or because you studied it at university and still don't like it?

If the latter, fine. You gave it a shot, and it isn't of interest to you. I like classical music, but I hate the sounds of flutes so I don't listen to it.

But if you haven't studied art, it would be a shame to go to Venice and miss out on some blockbusters that might change your mind or your life. If you have, not unlikely, a rainy day, say "Okay, we will look at art today, some in churches, some in museums."

"The Feast in the House of Levi" knocked me out, blew me away, left me gobsmacked, I had seen the illustration in the art book, but that had about as much to do with the real experience as "Facts of Life for Boys" had to do with the real experience.

Let travel open you to new things!
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Jul 8th, 2013, 05:55 AM
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My trusty LP says that Murano is the #42 Vapretto.

The lights are on the mosaics in Basilica San Marco in the middle of the day - either 11.30 - 12.30 or 12.30 - 1.30. You NEED to find out for sure and visit during this time - the building is spectacular, but the lighted ceiling is truly awesome - we were still in there when the lights went off and would have been disappointed had that been the only way we saw it (obviously with the benefit of seeing it lit - without ever seeing it lit, we still would have been impressed, but only because we wouldn't have known what we missed!) It's worth the extra small fees to see the Pala d'Oro and Treasury - the main Basilica and it's beautiful magnificence is free.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 08:41 AM
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Don't take a group gondola ride unless the group are your friends; it takes the romanticism out of it. You probably will not find a gondola for 80 euro; it will more likely be 100. Where the gondola goes depends on where you get on. There are various gondola stations in Venice (you can google to find a map showing them). I have taken a gondola ride every time I've visited Venice (3, so far). The last one was at a stand near Santa Maria del Giglio. It was a dusk ride (by far my favorite -- cooler, nice light quality) that went primarily in smaller canals and rios with a brief stint on the Grand Canal. You can ask where they go before you pay.

I second (or third) the recommendation to skip Murano and just visit Burano and Torcello.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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Don't forget to spend some time just walking around Venice getting lost. Seek out the back ways and far corners, soak up the atmosphere. That's the #1 thing to do in Venice.

It's very crowded during the day around the Rialto and Piazza San Marco. Do some of your wandering at dusk and in the evening (and/or in the morning if you're early risers). To really feel the charm of Venice.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 11:15 AM
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thanks, Bendigo, for the hours for the illumination of the mosaics in the Basilica.

<<"The Feast in the House of Levi" knocked me out, blew me away, left me gobsmacked, I had seen the illustration in the art book, but that had about as much to do with the real experience as "Facts of Life for Boys" had to do with the real experience.

Let travel open you to new things!>>

definitely, and this painting is the one that draws me back into the Accademia every time I go to Venice.

if you leave going there til quite late in the day, you may find that there are very few people around and that you can wander around in comparative freedom.
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Jul 8th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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To Murano, Burano, go from San Marco, D.41.7 to Faro in Murano, can browse around and best place to catch water taxi for Burano.( Look at TripAdvisor for good tips on where to eat and what to do) inside the "STATION" is a clear route map that show you which direction to go and for the rest just ask - very easy to follow, can't go wrong. Gondolas is very hit and miss, some poor reviews on TripAdvisor, some other very good ones. Make sure you clarify route etc beforehand - look at the gondola, if it is poirly kept chances are you are going to gave a 2nd rates experience - there are lots of people waiting to get on - take your time, observe and pick the right person
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Jul 8th, 2013, 02:53 PM
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To Murano, Burano, go from San Marco, D.41.7 to Faro in Murano, can browse around and best place to catch water taxi for Burano.>>

no, you do not want to get a water TAXI to Burano - the vaporetto will get you there for nothing if you've got a vaporetto pass. just get a vaporetto that is going to Burano. It wil go via Faro [lighthouse] on Murano, but you just stay on the boat.
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Jul 13th, 2013, 05:34 AM
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Wow!! Did not expect so many replies!

Thank you all!!

I think I have allowed plenty of time to just wander and get lost. The only thing locked in is the Walks of Italy tour.

@Ackislander: Neither of us have studied art... My mother in law is an artist and as much as she tries, we don't have the slightest interest... I am not going to go out of my way to see the "block busters" but I will come across art every where I go, and I am content to leave it at that.

I am still interested to go to Murano to see a glass blowing display and purchase a small keepsake. Can someone advise me whether the glass blowing is worth seeing? How expensive is the glass to purchase?

Thank you again. I truly cannot wait!!!
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Jul 24th, 2013, 07:10 AM
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Jul 26th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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For Murano, you might consider this program at the Glass Museum.

http://museovetro.visitmuve.it/en/ev...s-in-action-2/
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