Touring Italy Venice Venezia: The journey from Milan to Venice on the Eurostar is approx 2.5 hours. The main railway station of Venice is Venezia Santa Lucia. Our hotel was in a suburb of Venice called Venezia Mestre. Mestre is one station prior to St. Lucia. Please confirm with your hotel about its proximity to Mestre or St. Lucia. Some hotel will just say that they are ‘5 mins walking distance from the station’ and you have to know which one are they talking about.
Our hotel in Venice (Hotel Centrale) was really good. It was located about 1 km away from the Mestre railway station. We took a cab from the station and he charged us? 10 which was quite steep for a 1 km journey. You cannot trust the cabbies in Italy.
We settled in and then set out for dinner. Vegetarians might face a tough time in Italy. We found a nice ristorante called Brek. It is a self-serve restaurant which offers freshly made pizza, pasta as other Italian food (both vegetarian and non-veg). The pizza is baked in front of you and you are free to choose your toppings. An average meal (if you are not having it in McD or the likes) will cost you? 8-? 15 per person.
Next morning we set out to the Venice city center. The bus stop was right outside our hotel and the frequency of the bus was every 20 mins. It costs? 1 and 10 mins to reach the Piazza de la Roma. This is where the Venice of waterways, bridges, and gondolas starts.
Touring Italy Venice Venezia
Venice is a maze of waterways which can be navigated by means of Vaporettos. These are water-buses and with a? 9-day travelcard, you can hop on hop off all day long. Only 3 bridges cross the Grand Canal which curves S-shaped through the city: Ponte De Rialto, Ponte dell’Accademia, and Ponte Degli Scalzi.
It is possible to walk along the streets of Venice but the directions are highly confusing. You will usually find that it is possible to get to Piazza le San Marco from the left as well as from the right of where you are standing. This is not unusual as most streets will lead you to the same place one way or the other. We suggest that you stick to the Grand Canal while you are sight-seeing. Places to see are the bridges, the Galleria dell’Accademia which houses a treasure trove of paintings and the San Marco square.
The Ponte dell’Accademia is a wooden bridge while the Ponte De Rialto is very beautiful to look at. It is quite wide and the bridge itself hosts a variety of shops. The San Marco square is very huge and beautiful. Make sure that you spend ? 1 to buy birdseed for feeding the pigeons. They will flock to you as soon as you buy the packet and they will perch on your head, arms, hands until you feed it to them.
50You can get to the top of the Bell Tower next to the cathedral by means of a lift. There is an entry fee here again. The view from the Bell Tower is fabulous.
Venice Italy Facts
Venice is famous for its carnival and people don beautifully ornate masks during the carnival days. These masks can be bought from any of the thousand shops that are in every nook and cranny. The price ranges from ? 1 for the small magnets to more than? 100 for the big ones.
Venice is also famous for its glass industry and you can pick up a variety of glass figurines and vases.
You can’t go back from Venice without taking a gondola ride. You will find a lot of gondolas on various small bridges. The official price for a 45 min gondola ride is? 50 per person. Very expensive.
What we did was to catch the solitary gondola owner in the internal streets rather than at the Grand Canal. After negotiating with him, we managed to get a ride in? 30 per person. So that was a total of? 60 for a romantic gondola ride. Alessandro did not sing any song. but he was quite an entertainer and we had a fun time.
A cheaper and less glamorous option is to take a traghetto which is used to cross the Canal from one bank to the other. Not really a substitute for the gondola experience.
We almost missed the train to Florence as we got lost in the streets while getting back to Piazza de la Roma. But Venice will always be special because of its uniqueness.
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