Venice is known as the most romantic city in the world. It just started a Venetian carnival, which runs until February 28. It is the oldest and biggest street party in Europe, and its traditions date back to the eleventh century. The Location of Venice and its architecture aroused the admiration of artists from around the world. Every day Venice is visited by millions of tourists and native Venetians almost ceased to exist. This can be seen especially during the Carnival. Scientists have warned that Venice will soon share the fate of the mythical Atlantis. What is it about this city?
Until recently, I was not sure. My first time in Venice it was a quick 5-hour walk to the most important monuments. I remember mainly three things: beautiful concerts in the Piazza San Marco, crowds and the stench from the canals. In July I went to the festival of Redentore and had a second chance to get to know this city and benefited from it. In this city you can fall in love. Besides the carnival it is worth it visiting which I will tell you further.
VENICE: HOW TO GET HERE & TRANSPORT
In the beginning the issue is transport. Venice is a city situated on 118 marshy islands connected by canals on the Venetian Lagoon. The island is connected to the mainland by a railway and highway. We can therefore get to it by car, bus and train. As for the flying, they have the Marco Polo Airport (12 km from the city) or in Treviso where fly low cost airlines e.g. Ryanair.
Transport Marco Polo Airport – Venice
- ACTV bus No. 5: airport – Piazzale Roma or Santa Lucia Station (2.5 €)
- ACTV bus NR15: Airport-Railway Station Mestre (2.5 €)
- Bus ATVO Fly Bus: Airport – Mestre train station or Santa Lucia
- Bus ATVO AIR TERMINAL – Santa Lucia Station
TransportTreviso Airport – Venice
- Bus ATVO AIR TERMINAL – Santa Lucia Station
- No. 6 ACTT bus to Treviso centrale (1.3 €) + train to Santa Lucia Station (3.35 €)
We can also take the water taxi and waterbus (vaporetto). I flew from Wroclaw to Treviso and I recommend this option. Flight to and return cost me 300 zł, then transport to Venice is less than 5 € (bus + train)
Transport by car
If you travel by car, I don’t advise going to the center. It is much better to park in the vicinity of the station Maestre and later use the public transport or in Tronchetto where you can get to Venice on foot (approx. 20 minutes) or by train People Mover (3 minutes, 1.45 €).
However, if you care about parking in the center of Venice there are the most parking places in Piazzale Roma from where you can walk to St. Mark’s Square which takes about 40 minutes. There is also a train St. Lucia, bus and waterbuses.
Recommended car parks are:
- Autorimessa Comunale, Piazzale Roma, Santa Croce 496 (the largest in Venice, 24h)
- Parking S. Andrea, Piazzale Roma (the car park Autorimesa Comunale, enters a gate underground from the other side, 24h, you pay for every 2 h)
- S. Giuliano, Via San Giuliano (the cheapest, you have to turn on the right before the bridge that connects Mestre to Venice)
- Venezia Tronchetto Parking, Isola Nuova (the cheapest on the island of Isola Nuova, you need to enter the bridge from Mestre to Venice and turn right and right again, 24h)
Unfortunately, car parks are not cheap. Here you will find the details.
VENICE: WHERE TO SLEEP?
And how was my accommodation? One night I decided to spend the night at a dorm at Casa Della Studente “Domus Civica” in the district of San Polo. For one night in a 3 person room where I paid 26 €. This is not very high price, but the conditions were not outstanding. The dorm has a rather standard student feel to it, but as a base to visit is to survive. At this price, or cheaper you can safely rent a room in a three star hotel on land; However, what we save on the hotel, we will gain later on the drive and lose unnecessary time. I think it is better to stay on the island. The next day I rented an apartment with friends by the service Airbnb. I think it is a good form of accommodation for family or groups of friends.
VENICE: WATER TRAMS (VAPARETTO) SCHEDULE
- Line 1, Santa Lucia – St. Mark’s Square. Mark, 45 minutes, 14 stops, further flows to the Lido (20 minutes).
- Line 2, Santa Lucia – St. Mark’s Square. Mark, 30 minutes, 5 stops including Rialto Bridge
- Line 4, along the coast without the Grand Canal to Murano
- Line 5, along the coast without the Grand Canal on the island of Lido
- Line 12, Fondamente Nove – the island of Murano / Burano and Torcello
VENICE: HOW TO ORGANIZE SIGHTSEEING FOR WEEKEND?
Venice is divided into six districts called sestieri: San Marco, Castello, Santa Croce, San Polo, Cannara-gio, Dorsoduro. Each of them has its own numbering of houses, preceded by a number of the district. It is worth to paying attention to looking out for the address.
If you once read my writings, you know, you know I do not like to look at the map. I believe that it is much more interesting to get lost with a list of things to see and follow the signs or asking people to reach a particular place. I know from experience that in this way you can get to know the city in and see more, and even meet someone interesting people. Venice with its system of numerous canals, twisting streets and bridges is an ideal place for that.
According to the plan I decided to get lost on the first day, setting a goal to reach Piazza San Marco to make an evening concert. On the second day I decided to devote a whole day to visiting the Basilica and the Doge’s Palace. On the third day I had to take to the island of Murano and Burano and the fourth to the island of Lido. Do you like my timetable? If so, I invite you to read on.
FIRST DAY: GET LOST IN VENICE & ENJOY
I arrived in Venice around 14:00. Before I took a shower and ate dinner at the restaurant Al Bacco Felice (Santa Croce 197, near the dormitory) in the form of pizza (large Capriciosa 13 €) it was already 16:00.
The San Polo in my opinion, is a good place to stay. It has a rich tradition of celebration. It collects numerous monuments and you can eat well for a relatively lower price than eg. in the vicinity of St. Mark’s Square. It was here in the fifteenth century that place balls took place as well as masquerades.
My route crosses a very narrow, winding streets, sometimes with difficulty, allowing to pass other people by little bridges from which I saw beautiful views across the canals.
You could take a walk for hours. Along the way, I saw, among others, Chiesa dei Tolentini church, Chiesa di San Giovanni Evangelista (Ravenna), Campo San Rocco church of Chiesa di San Rocco and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco (the former building of the Brotherhood of St. Roch), the Gothic Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (second only to the Basilica of St. Mark’s), the Chiesa di San Polo, Palazzo Corner Mocenigo, Chiesa di San Giacomo dall’Orio, the church of La Chiesa di San Zan Degol, palace Fondaco dei Turchi the museum.
Typical of Venitian buildings a scuola was the ancient seat of organizations, merchants, craftsmen and representatives of various professions. Each scuola had its place of assembly, and the patron saint of the church or prayer hall.
Here I was taking a short break to enjoy the other side of the Grand Canal. In front of me is, among others, Contanini Correr palace, Palazzo Ca ‘Vendramin Calergi, Sornazo Poviene, Gussoni.
On the right you can see the shoulder Ca’Rezzonico palace, which now houses a museum depicting the life and art of the eighteenth-century Venice and a Golden House (Ca’d’Oro) – the most beautiful palace on the Grand Canal, built in the Venetian Gothic style.
I entered the maze of streets, to pass the churches of Chiesa di S. Maria Mater Domini, Ca ‘Pesaro, Chiesa di S. Cassiano, S. Giacometto and Giovanni Elemosinario together with the palace Palazzo dei Dieci Savi. In this way, I came to one of the most famous bridges Ponte di Rialto (the oldest in Venice).
This bridge connects the two districts, setting both the geographical center of the city. The bridge has two rows of stalls trade with pedestrian crossings in the middle and on the sides. You can buy them as typical souvenirs Venetian masks, jewelry, lace and so on. Personally, I recommend the smaller streets because of the high price. It was near the Rialto, or more precisely 300 meters before the bridge on the west side of the district of San Polo, flourished everyday life, and the Venetians traded spices, expensive fabrics, fruit and fish. Also operating here in the morning is the Mercato Rialto market with fresh fish, fruits and vegetables.
After crossing the bridge, we will see, among others, Palazzo Doltin Manin and church Chesa di S. Salvador. From there the road leads straight to St. Mark’s Square, which is surrounded on two sides by the procuratie Old and New (the former seat of the Venetian offices), and combines them wing of Napoleon.
St. Mark’s Square with the adjacent Piazzetta looked smaller that for the first time. New to Procuratie adjacent Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio), which time is measured only in happy hour. Between the Basilica and Procuratie. It is the tallest building in Venice, or the Campanile bell tower, from which you can watch the city skyline.
Of course, everywhere there were thousands of tourists doing selfies. But it was not so crowded, as it is in the morning-afternoon time. Definitely the best time for strolling around the square and the very center is the hour 19:00. Then while strolling around the city you will only see Venetians and tourists spending the night on the island. There are no longer free tour groups that massively invaded the city by ferry and thousands of pigeons. It is a time when we can easily take pictures even at the most famous canals.
On the way back, which of course leads a slightly different route than I came visiting one of the most famous opera houses in the world Teatro La Fenice (repeatedly destroyed by fire), and the picturesque streets of Campo S. Angelo.
SECOND DAY: ST. MARK’S SQUARE & DOGES’S PALACE
The next day, as I mentioned at the beginning, I decided to focus on the Piazza San Marco. At 10 o’clock I went to the Basilica. You can enter it without queues, if earlier you buy the 2 € ticket online here or at the tourist information place. Normally, the entrance is free, but it is associated with several hours of standing in line (it is only open until 17:00).
The Basilica impresses already above the threshold. You generally do not know which way to look. It is a more specific twilight contrasting with the Byzantine gold and numerous mosaics. You feel overwhelmed by the enormity and richness of decoration of the temple. Besides the usual sightseeing there is an opportunity to enter for a fee 4 € including the museum, observation deck and the main altar where the Golden Altar (Pala d’Oro) is. I think you can see everything perfectly without it.
After visiting the Basilica, the time came for the Doge’s Palace, which just blew me away. From the beginning I knew that it would be a lot to see, but I did not think so. It’s an amazing feeling when passing another room, I already looked around and asked myself- is there still more?
To explore at a normal pace without undue into the details need a few hours, but it is really worth it. At the end you can visit to prison cells. From one window there is a breathtaking view of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. I must admit that it was one of the better issued 20 €.
My legs were finished. It was time for a longer break and delicious paste with seafood. Following a few meters away in the direction of the Arsenal after passing two bridges, you get in the vicinity of S. Zaccaria. Here is a large selection of cafes and restaurants. The first of the bridges is Ponte della Paglia. It stretches with a beautiful view of the canal and the most famous bridge in Venice, or Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri), which connects the Doge’s Palace to the prison. This is probably the most used bridge, when it comes to doing a selfie. So you will find it easily.
After dinner, if you still have the strength you can take a walk around the Zaccaria area, among others, Chiesa di S. Zaccaria Della Pieta reaching Ca di Dio which houses the History Museum and the Arsenal. Here it is only a stone’s throw away from the island of St. Peter and the later exhibition complex Giardini della Biennale and the island of St. Elena.