In Venice you can admire the sheer loveliness of an exquisite city that seems miraculously built on water. It is full of crowded squares, busy markets, bustling souvenir shops, lively wine bars , not to forget the graceful gondolas and it is a place to get capture colorful & elegant pictures!
I went there with my parents in peak summer (June 2015) and we were burnt down by the heat and got severely sun tanned. If you are like us, from Chennai, you might just not mind the heat that much; Otherwise it is not a good idea to go during peak summer. The second time I went during Spring (Month of March!!) we had a pleasant stay.
How to get to Venice
Venice is an island separated from the mainland surrounded by the venetian lagoon. The Marco Polo airport is very far away. Cars are not allowed inside the city. When you arrive at Marco polo airport you can take either a bus , car or a train to the main railway station. The bus cost about 9 euros one way and that is the cheapest means to reach the city. You can arrive in style my a boat which costs 110 Euros for 4 people. To get an idea how far the airport is see the image below.
How to get around Venice
Venice is a relatively small town and can be explored by walking around. People have this notion that since there are numerous waterways it has to be traveled by water. Contrary to this popular belief Waterbus or vaporetto is the most expensive means of transport.
A single waterbus ticket costs 7.5 euros and is good for 75 minutes in one direction, which means you can transfer as long as you aren’t headed back toward your starting point. To avoid a steep fine, validate your ticket at the grey-and-white electronic card reader.The round trip was about 15 euros and as a family of four it costs us 60 euros for a 2 hour adventure. You can get a 24-hour travel card for EUR 20 (1500 Rs for a ticket).
Gondolas are a luxury ride to take in Venice (not a means to travel there) . It costs 80 euros (~6000 rs) for 6 people. If you want to go on a romantic tour with you partner it better be an important event like honeymoon as it is damn expensive to get this boat for yourself.
Why to walk around?
When you walk you will end up covering most of Venice which you might otherwise miss, if you go by a vaporetto. We bumped into these streets unintentionally when we were looking for our destination! Some pretty streets are deep inside the mainland away from the waterbodies. Here are some of them on the slideshow
Lets walk it around
I traveled with a friend who had also been to Venice once. We found the best way to explore Venice is by walking. We stayed at ‘The backpackers house’ at the Campo Santa Margherita or the Santa margarita square, one of the main happening squares of Venice. The hotel was basic one sufficient for backpackers. It served our purpose of just staying overnight. Added to that he let us leave our backpacks at the hotel the next day so we can roam in peace without luggage.
A Night photowalk
We had some places in mind but it is always better to ask a local. The day we arrived we inquired about the places to go. He gave us a map with important places to see.We had pizzas and cappuccino at a café in the square. Italian coffee is one of the finest coffees in the world and they are proud of it. The square had multiple options to hang out and has some coolest night clubs in the city. Being photography enthusiasts we went for a photowalk in the night.Here are some photos we took of Venice by the night.
The once purple sky transformed into a vast expanse of jet-black that engulfed the town. We did get lost in the streets. Google maps came to the rescue to get us back. We visited the academia in the night as it was close by.The monumental estate of the Accademia Galleries is located in the prestigious centre of the Scuola Grande of Santa Maria della Carità, one of the most ancient lay fraternal orders of the city.
The route we followed
We followed this route which covered almost all the important places. The entire distance was 5.4 kms
The spots we visited in Venice were
- Campo San Margarita
- Genio Di Leonardo Da Vinci Museo
- Rialto Market
- San Giocomo Di Rialto Church
- Rialto Bridge
- Church Of St Maria Formosa
- St Mark’s Campanile
- St Marks Basilica
- Clock Tower
- St Marks Square
- Fondamenta Delle Zattere
We walked from the Santa Maragerita square to the Rialto market. On the way you can find the Genio di Leonardo da Vinci Museum.
Genio di Leonardo da Vinci Museum.
The museum’s entry is charged. Museo Leonardo da Vinci contains faithfully crafted machine inventions of Da Vinci – The Genius. These superb interpretations of Leonardo’s designs can now be seen on permanent display.You might find difficulty finding your way around Venice as the streets are confusing and most locals don’t know English in order to inquire directions. A kind lady tried hard in explaining a lot in Italian but we dint get a thing. We kept following the signs and reached our destinations after many iterations. The city has numerous interconnected streets so in either way you can reach a destination in the sign in ambiguous (See below).
Tip: carry powerbanks and keep your phones fully charged, You will have to use GPS to navigate.
The canals look beautiful with gondolas in the background. Some riders sing a song for you and feel like being in olden times. We reached the Rialto market. We found boat markets with lush vegetables. They sell different types of pastas and fruits like strawberries. Ideal to by from here if you are planning to cook during your stay.
The Rialto bridge
The Rialto bridge is about a kilometre or two from here. We maneuvered our way through. What you will miss if you go by the vaporetto is the streets with colorful walls. We did some photoshoot there among the yellow walls. Some streets are deserted and are very romantic. You might end up walking the same place twice as the streets are interconnected.
Much to our dismay the Rialto bridge was under construction. The bridge was lined with souvenir shops though. We bought the famous gondola souvenir and the venetian masks
San Marco Square
We left in search of the San Marco Square. Once the city’s main market square. It was near the rialto bridge and it saved a lot of time. A lot of tourist spots are concentrated around that area. Hence you will find it heavily crowded. It felt in being back in India. I hardly had place to move and this spoilt the mood. We saw The St Mark’s Campanile, St Marks Basilica, Clock Tower , St Marks Square.
Here is a picture taken near a Gondola stop at San Marco square.
San Marco square is the main tourist destination in Venice so you will find tourist walking towards it or away from it.
We left for the grand canal. It is a bridge connecting the two parts of Venice. From atop you get a good view of the city. We stopped at Campo San Toma on the way for some rest. The squares had colourful old buildings which added an ancient mystical flare to the city.
We were extremely tired by then and the whole point of making this Itinerary was to reach the Fondamenta delle Zattere to watch the sunset.
Fondamenta delle Zattere
It is a sunny promenade in Venice It is an old shipyard and a place to chill with a beer in the evening. You will see young crowd relaxing there in cafes facing the sunset. Cruise ships cross by and are a sight to remember.
We had to catch a night bus to naples so we went to get our backpacks. We left the beautiful city behind with memories fresh in our minds.
Info for foodies
Aperitivo is a famous drink here .Ombra, a small glass of simple Venetian wine, is served with a wide variety of snacks and each bar has their own selection.You can see locals have the orange spirit in bars.
Mulled wine is a beverage of European origins usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins.
It is served hot or warm . It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas and Halloween.
Cicheti is a specialty dish in Venice! Especially if you’re a seafood lover you should try it out
They are basically bajjis and samosas with seafood stuffing. They were cheap (2-3 euros each) and my poor vegetarian friend could not try any of it.
Gelatos must be tried else you would not do justice to the city. Some delicious icecreams the city has!
We stopped by at a gelato store and had lemon gelato, one of its kind.
Pizzas and pastas are abundant here as it is the staple food of the locals in Italy. You can find pizzas as cheap as 5 euros and that was our saviour for some meals.
Cost of our trip
We spent 100 euros on our trip in Venice. Considering the Gondola ride is in itself is 80 euros we saved quite a bit by not taking it or Waterbus and walking. The most expensive part of the trip was the flight to Italy. But we combined this trip with a visit to Pompeii, Sorrento, Amalfi, Capri and Naples. So it was worth it.
Venice in bollywood
The first time we see a new place/country is in movies. Here are some songs shot in venice that portray it in a beautiful manner.
Venice can be covered in a day but don’t make it very hectic such that you arrive in morning and leave in evening. Stay over in the night to chill and experience the sunset and to see the moonlit canals and lamp lit streets in the night.
After Venice I visited Amalfi and Capri in the southern part of Italy. More about them ..
If you need any information feel free to ping back!