Venice: Trip Report - Just back!

Jul 10th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 84
Venice: Trip Report - Just back!

Hi Fodorites:

We just returned back from 3 glorious weeks in Italy. I am including our trip report from Venice first. Here goes:

June 21
Croissants and coffee at Milan airport; wi-fi service did not work; late departure from Milan so late arrival in Venice; waited forever for bags; water taxi left so we had to arrange another water taxi; walked to dock which was a long way with all the bags, HOT and tired! 100 euros later we arrived at dock in San Marco; pulled bags to Casa Verardo hotel two blocks away…great location, quiet, view of small canal. Rooms were not ready (now 2:00 pm) so we went to small Oasi Bar one block away on Calle di Albanesi—fantastic home-style food; more of a student hangout; had ravioli, gnocchi, eggplant lasagna, and pannino were excellent. Spoke to server in Italian and she was very nice to the kids. Only 6 tables, friendly service, total with service was 50 Euro to include ½ liter of wine, 2 large bottles of water and 5 meals.

On way back to hotel, stopped at fruit stand and bought peaches and cherries. Arrived back at hotel and took 2 hour nap. Made reservations at Tratorria da Giorgi (Ponte De Greici) canal-side setting. The restaurant was filled with Americans speaking English so we decided to order our food in Italian and the waiters really enjoyed the kids pronouncing the dishes and trying. My husband I shared a whole flounder with a tasty tomato olive sauce, fresh grilled verdure and the children enjoyed lasagna and pasta Bolognese and salads. The owner then came out to chat with us and although we didn’t understand everything he said, he complimented us on our Italian and had his sons (the waiters) bring us complimentary glasses of Limoncella…we said our goodbyes and walked to the Rialto bridge and stopped for gelato. We walked for an hour and then decided to go on a gondola ride. Before agreeing on a price, we went to Osteria Alla Botte and purchased a bottle of wine and he gave us cups. With wine in hand, we walked back to the Gondoliers and found one who would take us for an hour ride for 100 Euro. The others all wanted 150 euros. It was a silky ride through silent canals, under sleepy pontes, punctuated by muffled music and brief brushes through lively squares… magical! The gondolier discussed his “simple life” and his pride of being a 3rd generation Gondolier in Venice. It was now about midnight and we decided to walk back to Piazza San Marco and it was hopping. With it all lit up, our family of 5 was awestruck. Bands were playing and my 10 year old son and I slow danced to the music…again, it was magical. Returned to hotel for much needed sleep!

Thurs, June 22

Woke up around 9:00 am and had breakfast at hotel. Walked to Dorsudoro district – stopped in Chiesa di San Maurizio to see the exhibition of instruments (“Vivaldi e il suo tempo”). It was free entry and we all enjoyed seeing the instruments that ranged from the 1400-1800’s. We walked all over and stopped in Campo St. Stefano and Campo St. Vial. By the waterfront, La Zattere, we stopped at Gelateria Nico and had the best gelato to date! We took a photo of our daughter, “Nico”, in front of the building. She was thrilled, if a 14 year old can be thrilled…ha. We then headed over to the Venetian Palace, “Ca’ Rezzonico” and learned of 17th century Venetian life and it was fantastic. The kids enjoyed the furniture, drawing rooms, frescos and incredible paintings. There were no lines and we had rooms to ourselves. What a hidden treasure. Thanks Fodorites for this marvelous recommendation! We then got off the beaten path to look for a spot for lunch. We passed through Campo St. Margharita. We landed at “Trattoria ai Cugnati” and had a fantastic lunch of lasagna, vongole, pesce, etc. We were the only non-Italian group there so when we ordered in Italian and answered questions about our trip, ages of the children, in mistake-riddled Italian, they laughed and suggested dishes. There is a photo on the wall of three sisters of whom two of them are in their late 70’s and still are waitressing there. They explained in Italian that there other sister passed away and they were emotional. We shared a hug and the children were shown to the dolci. They selected tiramisu, a chocolate torte and fresh fruit. They chatted with us as we finished our dessert and leisurely enjoyed our espresso. We were sad to leave.

Then it was off to shopping for myself and the girls while Dad and son went to find a place down the street to watch world cup soccer, Italy vs. Czechs. After an hour or so, we located them at a local bar, “l’Olandese Volante” (Flying Dutchman) on the corner of Calle Carminati where they sat outside with a crowd to cheer Italy’s 2-0 win. The kids had a blast. After a quick return to the hotel for a shower and change, we took the vaporetto to San Croce where we dined at “Al Ponte” at Calle Larga, San Giacomo dell’Orio. It was a fantastic setting with great food to include veal Milannaise, pesce, vongole , fresh vegetables, decent wine. We then walked around San Croce which was filled with teenagers visiting Campo San Polo, looking at the Santa Maria Gloriosa church. Took vaporetto back to San Marco and listened to music before hitting the sack.

Friday, June 23rd

Woke up late and took vaporetto to San Mercuola stop to tour Cannaregio district. It was hot and it was hard to find some shade. Shopped on the main street, Strada Nuova, and had lunch at the small family run “Trattoria Antica al mori”. This was clearly a local hangout and we were the only tourists. The owners were very nice and the food was good. Pasta, vongole, fish, fresh vegetables… all homestyle and tasty. When husband asked for cookies with expresso, we didn’t realize that they walked down the street to get them for him at the local pasticceria. They helped the children with their Italian and wished us well. We then visited the Ponte dei tre Archi, Parco Savorgnan and the Jewish Ghetto. We returned back to San Marco around 5:00 and bought tickets for Doge’s Palace. There were not any lines and we had a ball exploring leisurely for two hours. The kids loved the armory and of course the bridge of sighs and the prison. Headed over to a restaurant near our hotel since we were tired. It was terrible.. it was called “Ristorante Al Giardinetto”. When the waiter discovered that my husband’s nonna came from the same village in Abruzzi as himself, he asked us why were eating there with all of the tourists. We had a good laugh, finished our meal and headed back to the hotel for much needed rest. Depart next morning for Tuscany.

Saturday, June 24th

Woke up early and took vaporetto to Train Station to pick up rental car. After a wait, we drove to San Casciano Val di Pesa in the Chianti region of Tuscany. To be continued.... Ciao, Lisamarc
lisamarc is offline  
Jul 10th, 2006, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 2,850
Sounds lovely, Lisamarc. I hope to go to Venice within the next year so I really enjoyed this.

Looking forward to Tuscany . . .
LCBoniti is offline  
Jul 10th, 2006, 07:06 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,874
How old are your kids?
missypie is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 02:39 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,168
This is wonderful. If anyone is taking a first trip to Venice (or really anywhere) they could emulate your mix of good food, wandering around, the arts, and balancing tourist activities (gondola ride) with learning about real local life (watching the World Cup in a bar). Your kids are very, very lucky to have parents who do this for them intead of running off to Disney World.
Ackislander is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 05:29 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 84
Thank you for your nice comments about our first trip report on Venice.

Missypie: Our kids are ages 13, 12, 10... wonderful to travel with.

LCBoniti: I will start a second trip report about our time in Tuscany... you will be able to find it by clicking on "lisamarc".

Ackislander: Thanks so much for your kind words... we tried to mix a little of everything -- the key for us was to all try to speak Italian.. it made all the difference and really affected how we were treated by the locals... especially when we arrived in Naples where very little English is understood. Ciao, Lisamarc

lisamarc is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 09:17 AM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 48
I am flying into Marco Polo airport and wondered where to pick up a rental car. Do I need to go to the train station to get the car? Thanks, ron
Ronjohn is offline  
Jul 11th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 84

We rented a car through Europcar and it was located at train station stop... most of them are there... rent your car beforehand and they will provide you with pick up and drop off details... just make sure you check opening and closing times... sometimes the hours are really short. good luck, lisamarc
lisamarc is offline  
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