Venice - Just Back

Jun 1st, 2001, 06:43 AM
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Venice - Just Back

Spent 4 nights over the Memorial Day weekend in Venice. New direct non-stop service by Delta from JFK in New York to Marco Polo in Venice, made a Venice only trip possible.

The weather was sunny and mild (high 70's) our entire stay. We stayed at the Hotel Europa Regina which was in a stone's throw from Piazza San Marco. Although we thought highly of the hotel, regarding room quality, location, amenities, etc. the prices in Venice are out of sight. An equal quality hotel and room in any other city would be half the price.

Having said that, Venice is magical and well worth the cost. We found the city to be clean, the people to be pleasant, and the canals to be odor-free.

We had ample time to visit Murano, Burano, Torcello and Lido, and took in all of the must see sites of Venice.

The food was good but the portions were small. We tried many of the Venitian specialties, such as fried eel, salted cod baccala), cold sardines and onion salad, polenta, cuttlefish, and rissoto and more.

Getting around the city was easy since we purchased a 3 day Vaporetto pass at the airport. We took the Alilaguna from the airport to San Marco for a very lovely entry into the city. Navigating the two bridges with luggage to our hotel convinced us to take a motorboat directly from our hotel to the airport on the way back.

All in all it was a wonderful long weekend in Venice and we are looking forward to our return.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask.

Jun 1st, 2001, 07:00 AM
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You really should not be throwing stones near the Piazza San Marco. Last year a Japanese tourist suffered an eye injury when another careless American tourist was "measuring" the distance to their hotel.
Jun 1st, 2001, 07:05 AM
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If the Japanese tourist had his camera up in front of his face where it belonged, there would not have been a problem with us Americans doing our research! We have a responsibility to document this place for the rest of the world, you know!!??
Jun 1st, 2001, 08:42 AM
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John, thanks for the Venice report. We leave in a week, also on the Delta flight. You have confirmed my inclination to take a water taxi right from the airport to the hotel. Any specific restaurant recommendations?
Jun 1st, 2001, 09:50 AM
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Karen: We ate breakfast at the local snack bars with the locals, espresso and sweets. We found a good place for omelets on the Riva de Schiavone at a restaurant between the restaurant in the Savoia Jolanda Hotel and the Londra Palace, the name escapes me. The outdoor seating was great with a wonderful lagoon view. The prices were reasonable.

We ate lunch at convenient stops along the way, we particularly liked the Trattoria alla Madonna near the Rialto, it seemed particularly authentic with lots of locals eating there. For a quick pasta or pizza, the Omnibus Cafe also near the Rialto but directly on the Grand Canal was good, along with a wonderful view of the Canal and Bridge.

We had an excellant and atmospheric dinner at Ristorante da Raffaela situated on a very pretty side canal between San Marco and the Gritti Palace. You can check both Raffaela and Madonna on the Frommer's website.

Both the Europa Regina's Tiepolo Bar and the Hotel Bauer Gruenwald's Bar have wonderful views of the Grand Canal and Della Salute. The view is better from the Tiepolo but the Bauer had music. We had drinks at both. The price is steep.

Also cocktails and or dessert in the Cafes in Piazza San Marco are a real treat, we ended the last night listening to the music in the moonlight at Caffe Florian with coffee and drinks.
A great way to end the trip. Beware the prices.

Any other questions?
Jun 1st, 2001, 11:30 AM
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Are you married?
Jun 1st, 2001, 11:51 AM
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John-- I am SO jealous that you live in New York and can contemplate a long weekend in Venice! Our Italy plans center on how to get business class tickets so that we can tolerate the trip from the west coast. Yeah, I know, it's a shorter hop to Hawaii, but Hawaii v. Venice? No comparison in my book! Thanks for the report, and especially the tip about the vaporetto pass.
Jun 1st, 2001, 12:15 PM
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I didn't notice the extremly short duration of your European trip till I got to the end. I absolutely can not understand someone going all the way to Europe for 3 days. With jet lag you have like 15 minutes to notice you're there before you'd back. And the expense of such a flight! Are you Bill Gate's relative?
Jun 1st, 2001, 12:23 PM
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Louis: 4 nights are more than enough to savor Venice. Many people spend fewer nights in Venice on multi-city trips.

Not related to Bill but if I run into him I'll ask him to give you a loan.

I was reporting on our Venice experience not asking your opinion on our vacation choice.
Jun 1st, 2001, 12:34 PM
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good for you John! It truely sounds fantastic. I used to be one of those people who thought Europe was only worth it if I could stay 2 weeks - not anymore!!! This year I went to London for 3 days twice (I live in Toronto) and am glad I did it. I took advantage of a cheap airfare and had a fantastic time. Why sit 8 hours on a plane for a weekend? Well, I have in the past sat in a car for even longer and did not have as good a time!!
Jun 1st, 2001, 12:38 PM
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John, sounds absolutely wonderful. We are going to Italy for the first time at the end of June for 2 weeks; and on our multicity tour - we spend 3 days in Venice. I am anticpating a marvelous experience!!! Thanks for the info on restaurants and local specialities.
Jun 3rd, 2001, 06:48 AM
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Did you take a gondola ride?
Jun 3rd, 2001, 08:15 AM
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I and my boyfriend arrived in Venice late on 27 May and flew out on 30 May. Although I adored Venice, the temperatures were a lot warmer than the high 70s...or at least it felt more like the high 80s. The newspapers confirmed the high 80s temps.

That being said, I loved Venice. We came in from the Santa Lucia train station (from Florence) and took the water taxi to our hotel. That first view of the Grand Canal was amazing. Our hotel was also near to the Piazza San Marco. On two evenings we sat outside at the Caffe Lavena in the Piazza to listen to the music...and to hear the bells ring at midnight.

We did take a gondola ride...I don't care how "touristy" it is. We couldn't go to Venice and not do it.

We stayed for 3 nights but I'd definitely go back again to see so many of the things I missed.

Jun 3rd, 2001, 04:32 PM
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Lee: You may be right about the temps, but we left a couple of days before you and the temps seemed to be rising as our stay came to an end. Glad to hear of your great stay, very similar to ours.

Mary: We took the AMEX Venice by Night gondola serenade. Eight gondolas left from the pier outside the Gritti Palace. We took the 7:30PM ride, it is also offered at 8:30PM. It lasted one hour with about 40 minutes on the Grand Canal and 20 minutes on side canals. We got lucky and were in the gondola with the singer and accordion player. It was alot of fun and was reasonably priced at $30 per person. Quite a bargin if you are traveling solo or as a couple. It was my understanding that a private gondola ride with singer and accordion player was in the $140 neighborhood. The turnout for the 7:30 ride was about double the number that could fit in the available gondolas, so it pays to show up early.

Jun 5th, 2001, 01:03 AM
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Thanks for supplying us with your information. My fiance and I will be travelling to Italy for two weeks this July--for our honeymoon!

Upon our arrival to Italy, I'm trying to figure out which way we should travel from the airport to our hotel (the Hotel San Marco, just off the Piazza San Marco), which seems close to where you stayed. You mentioned the Alilaguna vs. motorboat (which I assume is private). I'm sure this info is posted somewhere and I could check my guidebooks, but was wondering if you would let me know what the charges for both are (for two)? Since you mentioned you took the motorboat on the return, I'm thinking it might be wise for us to do the same on our arrival.

Thanks again for the info.
Jun 5th, 2001, 07:02 AM
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The Alilaguna was about $18 per person. It is a great and comfortable ride, making pleasant stops at Murano and Lido. I believe it runs once an hour. If you type Alilaguna into a search engine, you can get lots of info on it. The motorboat we took was owned by the hotel and cost bout $50 for the two of us. It was my understanding that a private motorboat would cost about $75 for a couple, negotiable of course.

If cost is not a concern, the motorboat is the obvious choice. Based on the time you arrive at the Alilaguna, and the number of bridges you need to cross with your luggage, you will need to decide the trade offs. Porters are available at the Alilaguna stop in San Marco, but the rates are steep. We had 2 small wheeled pieces of luggage and 2 carry-ons and the going price was $17 for the 5 minute walk, but the number of bridges are the key, we had two.

Hope this info helps.
Jun 12th, 2001, 01:47 PM
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Hi all:

We were in Venice also from 5/26 - 5/29/01 for our 5th wedding anniversary. Loved it, loved it, loved it!

Forget Paris - (and I looove Paris) Venice is the most romantic city on earth! The only smells were of jasmine at night (especially in San Marco square and on Burano).

Do the gondola - touristy, but hey - aren't you a tourist! Our gondolier was delightful - he even crooned out a few tunes for us. Can't afford an hour? Negoitiate for 1/2 hour ride.

Savor every moment in Venice - it's truly a treat! Can't wait to get back one day....


(Seemed hotter to us - mid-80's at least
Jun 12th, 2001, 05:11 PM
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We just booked our reservation for our 15th wedding anniversary and booked it at the Hotel Europa Regina. Could you be any more specific: i.e. we have booked a standard room, what was yours? Did you see another hotel that you would recommend? Did you notice the hotel Metropole?

Found your notes very helpful.
Thank you.
Jun 12th, 2001, 08:19 PM
Chris Philhower
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Hi John

I'm going to Venice in July (yes, HOT HOT HOT, I know know know), and I'll be traveling by myself.

I'm a little worried about getting from the airport to San Marco -- is it confusing? I'll be fine once I'm in the city (getting lost is one of my specialties and I handle it well), but the whole airport to city thing is a little intimidating (no matter what city it is).

Any tips?


Jun 13th, 2001, 05:16 AM
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John: Great report! It gave me some good ideas for my trip to Venice in October. We'll be driving there from Florence. Does anyone have any tips on (1) where to park (I know there are at least two garages outside the city)and (2) how to get to the Dorsoduro area from the parking facilities (We're staying at the Pensione Accademia)? We'll have a fairly large bag with us, so this is a consideration. Thanks!

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