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Who's been to Venice ? I'd appreciate some ideas please ....

(32 Posts)
TheDogsMother Thu 23-Feb-17 14:16:48

We're planning on going in early July. Is this a terrible idea due to too many tourists and heat ? I'd love some ideas on places to stay (hotel or Airbnb), restaurants, sights and experiences.


NotCitrus Thu 23-Feb-17 14:27:34

We went in August. As places to be when hot, it's better than most. We did lots of boat trips to islands and eating ice cream in shady places.
Restaurants - go inland, away from San Marco and the coast. We just asked our hotel to recommend places for proper local cuisine.

Murano glass is stunning - can see it being blown/made but also there are galleries. And a glass museum.
Burano is pretty with the coloured houses. The lace museum is dull unless you are interested in lace. But was air conditioned with nice toilets!

The Museo Correr in San Marco is worth it, especially as, if you ask, they will pull aside a curtain on a stairwell and show you the Fra Mauro map of the world from 1450 - sort of thing Columbus would have used.

Wandering around is great - looking at mask shops and little shops.

lucydogz Thu 23-Feb-17 14:48:06

We've just come from Venice, so I don't know what August'll be like.
It's the only place I've been to that exceeded my expectations - I absolutely loved it.
We stayed at the Hotel Panorama on the Lido, which I'd recommend.
On the first day, buy a ticket for the boats - you can buy 1, 3 or 7 day. Then take the number 1 or 2, circular routes that take you down the Grand Canal, and are a good way of getting your bearings.
Another boat will take you to Torcello, via Murano and Burano. All wonderful.
Walk along the front at Judeccia island
Read Miss Garnett's Angel.
Just wander and take in the sights.
The only bad thing, IMO, is the food, which is poor and expensive. But maybe we were unlucky.
Have a lovely time.

allegretto Thu 23-Feb-17 14:53:04

In July you could stay in the Lido and go to the beach. Take a guided tour of the Jewish quarter- fascinating and you can only visit the synagogues with a guide. Visit the smaller islands, Guggenheim, costume museum. Eat away from tourist areas!

Borka Thu 23-Feb-17 14:55:15

If you like modern art, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection is wonderful.

paap1975 Thu 23-Feb-17 14:56:36

Following this with interest. DP and I are going next week (first time there for both of us). I'm planning a day around St Mark's (St Mark's, Campanile & Bishops' palace), another day doing Murano & Burano and another doing the Ghetto and Cannareggio. Trying to find a nice but different place for dinner for DP's birthday.

Madbengalmum Thu 23-Feb-17 14:58:55

Paap, do you like seafood?

Blumkin Thu 23-Feb-17 15:01:36

Buy a boat ticket for however many days you're going.I loved just cruising along the canals, whenever I needed a sit down I'd just jump on a boat and chill.

You can book walking tours which I really enjoyed.

Definitely go into the dodges palace on st marks square. Avoid drinking an espresso on the square though, unless you have recently won the lottery!

I loved the Guggenheim museum.

Madbengalmum Thu 23-Feb-17 15:07:01

You can drink on the square, you just have to pick the right cafe! There is one in a prime position, with a toilet, about a third of the price of the others.

I always love the view from the top of the campanile tower, amazing 360 of venice, well worth it. The secret doges palace tour is my favorite and if yu pre book you can see it without the queues. A good tip is to go to places/museums at lunch time, after the first rush and before the second.

LIZS Thu 23-Feb-17 15:08:08

Take a private taxi boat from the airport, you really feel as if you are arriving in style! Check if the recent Alexander Armstrong programme is still on iplayer as that gave a good feel for less known places to visit. Above all just wander about and pop into random churches as you will discover fantastic art and culture that way.

paap1975 Thu 23-Feb-17 15:22:06

Hello Mad, yes we both love seafood

dinkystinky Thu 23-Feb-17 15:22:14

DH took me to Venice in November for my birthday - it was wonderful fun. We arrived by private taxi boat from the airport and stayed at the Centurion hotel - super ££ but really wonderful place to stay. Wandered around loads - hit the Peggy Guggenheim museum which was amazing (and the café is great too) and stopped for a quick drink and snack when we wanted to (aperol spritz and a little chiccete - the venezian's tapas). Lots of fab restaurants and bars. We read Donna Leon books (death in venice etc) while there and was great to see the places named in the books in real life.

Madbengalmum Thu 23-Feb-17 15:25:47

Pap have pm'd you

TheDogsMother Thu 23-Feb-17 15:37:31

Thanks everyone, this is great info and much appreciated. LIZS good idea about the Alexander Armstrong programme. Borka The Peggy Guggenheim sounds really worth a visit. lucydogz some great tips there thanks. Torcello, Murano and Burano all sound lovely.

A couple of you have mentioned staying at the Lido. Does it take long from there to the centre ? Does it have a choice of restaurants for the evenings or is it best to go back into the centre ?

LillianGish Thu 23-Feb-17 15:45:52

Whatever else you do make sure you arrive by boat from the airport - it doesn't have to be a taxi you can get the water bus. It's the only way to approach the city which should definitely be first seen from the water.

dudsville Thu 23-Feb-17 15:49:15

I went in July. We found it so hot that when out walking we'd walk right next to buildings for the 1 foot of shade there. It was still a fabulous trip.

BareGrylls Thu 23-Feb-17 16:28:43

It's one of those places that is an experience best enjoyed in hindsight.
We were there last September and I had been twice before. Yes the approach by sea is stunning and the cliched gondola ride.

Never have I felt so uncomfortable or seen so many crowds. It was really unpleasantly crowded. Walking over a bridge in the sort of crush you might get at a stadium was unnerving.
Also be aware there is nowhere to sit down in Venice unless you are in a cafe. Seriously there were even signs up forbidding you from sitting on a step. DS(18) was berated by an angry shopkeeper who didn't like the fact that he was stood still outside her shop hmm.

I guess it's even busier in July and August.
Hated it.

latedecember1963 Thu 23-Feb-17 22:34:45

Venice is sublime. We stayed at the S'ant Angelo hotel on the Grand Canal just down from the Rialto Bridge. Lovely understated service but nothing was too much trouble. Doges Palace & the art museum in St Mark's Square mentioned by pp well worth visiting. If you like art the church interiors often have the most amazing frescoes. We ate away from St Mark's to bring the cost down. Went to a costumed music recital on one evening which was good fun. Didn't bother with a gondola trip but did have a private water taxi to Murano to see the glass blowing and to buy a souvenir. We walked and walked exploring. We went just before Easter so July might be more congested for pedestrians. Hope you have a wonderful time!

SooticaTheWitchesCat Fri 24-Feb-17 13:52:38

We have just come back from Venice, it was beautiful.

This is where we stayed, right in the centre of the city but just 10 minutes from the tourist parts:

TheDogsMother Fri 24-Feb-17 17:28:19

Sootica that apartment looks lovely and latedecember those suggestions are great. Bare wow, that sounds a bit full on. In fact we've decided against July but will still go later in the year. DP has been promising me this since we got together 10 years ago so I'm not letting him off the hook now !

Thanks again everyone

Wolpertinger Fri 24-Feb-17 21:27:02

I went to Venice in September last year - it was perfect weather wise, having been before in August and melted.

Get a vaporetto ticket for as many days as you are there and go everywhere on the vaporetto - much better than walking.

Of the lagoon islands, I would say Burano is a must see with the beautiful painted houses (and amazing Rosa Riva restaurant - have the risotto) and Torcello is fairly off the beaten track and has wonderful mosaics. Murano on the other hand is heaving with people and chockful of pretty horrible glassware, most of which comes from China.

Book tickets for things like the Doge's Palace and San Marco Basilica on line in advance - the queues are huge and not fun in the square with no shade. We did one of the guided tours of the Doge's Palace and it was well worth it.

At any time, Venice will be heaving with tourists but most of them don't leave San Marco - they want a gondola ride, a pizza, stand in St Mark's Square and they are happy. As soon as you go to Castello or Dorsoduro the numbers fade off a lot but the selfie sticks in San Marco can be overwhelming.

We stayed in an AirBnB in Castello - is was a v short walk from San Marco but v quiet and near a load of amazing restaurants. There is masses of bad food in Venice, but if you avoid pizza (not Venetian and no wood ovens due to fire risk) and San Marco, you will be on the right track. We liked having the ability to have an espresso and a croissant for 2 euros for breakfast every morning from our local cicchetti bar, rather than pay for an overpriced hotel breakfast.

If you want a concert with real quality musicians I would highly recommend Musica Palazzo. They perform shortened versions of popular operas in a faded palazzo which was hugely atmospheric. Seeing La Traviata there was superb.

Museum wise, Museum Correr, the Accademia, Ca Resonico, Peggy Gugenheim, Querini-Stampalia, Cini are all world class - it depends what interests you the most. However it is probably most fun going into churches or Scuolas to see art in its original settings.

For those must-sees would be the Frari, Scuola San Rocco, one of the big Palladio churches. My favourites would be the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni - practically on your own with beautiful early pictures of George and the Dragon, and San Zaccaria - in a lovely piazza, again no crowds, just you and Bellini's masterwork.

If you've been elsewhere in Italy and got used to the fact that no-one goes to a restaurant before 8pm at the earliest, this is not the case in Venice! It's not really a late night town as most staff have to get the last train home to the mainland. If you go to a popular restaurant at 8:30 there won't be any tables. Helpfully there is no need to look glam (unless you want to) as absolutely everyone else you see is a tourist who has also been trudging about sightseeing in comfy shoes smile

Finally - watch out if you are asthmatic. Venice is heavily polluted by all the diesel from the boats. We hadn't considered this and I was very wheezy by the time I got home.

Wolpertinger Fri 24-Feb-17 21:27:35

Oops, that was a bit longer than I thought blush

TheDogsMother Sat 25-Feb-17 08:13:55

Wolper. Thanks so much for all these ideas, this info is great. I do tend to try and avoid the crowds and look for sights and restaurants a few streets back from the centre so sounds like the same applies here. We are looking into an Airbnb so hopefully it will have its own local shops and bars. Top advice about the fumes and I will be packing the inhaler smile

MrsDustyBusty Sat 25-Feb-17 08:21:51

We went in early October a few years ago so it was quite crowded but not as bad as it can get. If you leave a morning to spare, it's lovely to wander around and get lost.

JugglingMuggle Sat 25-Feb-17 08:23:33

Try walking around the back streets of Dorsoduro, around Campo Santa Margarita and beyond. This is residential, and so peaceful, and beautiful. There's a fab fruit boat - their greengrocers. Stop in the campo for an aperol spritz. Plus instead of the campanile in San Marco we go up the campanile on San Giorgio maggiore. It's still Venice but it's much more quiet and the views over San Marco are spectacular.

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