Tuesday, March 18, 2008


for P.

Venice is one of the most amazing places i have been (and i have been to a few) it just has some quality that sucks you in. Anywhere you look you get a sense of history, the place has not changed much, since the Renaissance they say.

Unlike other historical venues in the world, here they form a part of your entire visit. There is no escaping Venice, its history or its lure. (Below first view of Venice from St.Lucia/Ferrovia)

Venice also had another side. Its politics was hard and it was a city of illusions people wore masks (below) slipped through hidden corridors and gates to hide themselves and their intentions.

Getting there
First - When planning a trip to Venice, avoid doing what we did (Bom to Milan, then bus to Milan Centrale, then train to Venice, St. Lucia, then the boat ride to Lido) overall it took us about 19 hours of constant traveling on almost every imaginable mode to get to the hotel. However i wouldn't dream of doing it any other way. You can also fly in direct to Venice though not from India.

Side Note : Taking trains in Italy
Second, every time you take a train, ensure you get your tickets validated, just insert the ticket in a green/yellow box which is on all platforms. Some tickets dont require validation but some do and having a unvalidated ticket is just as good as not having one. There are plenty of trains going where you want to go, you dont need to reserve tickets in India. Be flexible and do it at the station. Also avoid Centrale, Milan at late or odd hours, the place is dangerous.

What to do
St Marks square (above) is the single biggest attraction, try and get here towards early evening and explore as much as you can.
Then sit down and relax if you feel rich have coffee at Florian (above) they have been around since 1720. Once the sun goes down enjoy St. Marks at dusk/night like Monet once did (below)

Walk as much as you can. You dont know the place, so you wont know where you are going. In a place like Venice its the best way to get some place. We ended up in places where there was literally no one around and no one going by for minutes with views like the one below.

Take in the beauty of the place, imagine what it must have been like even 200 years ago, or 400 when the Doge was in charge.

The Vaporettos (above) connect you to every part of the city (for 6 Eur a head, 1 Eur if you are a local) though i think walking is best. At all junctions and walk ways you will signs like the ones below telling you where you are going in terms of landmarks.

Also check out the Rialto Bridge, Bridge of Sighs (just off St.Marks) Dodges Palace. You can choose to take a Gondola ride, depending on when you go it could cost you between 20Eur to 80 Eur for 30 mins completely avoidable in my opinion.

Once you get these things done you are free to roam, discover and experience.

Murano (glass), Burano (Lace) & Lido are side islands and most frequented trips. I personally think they are completely avoidable, though i did stay in Lido and thought it was wonderful and different, Venice yet not.

Where to stay
Ensure you stay on Venice itself and not on one of the side islands like Lido. this will save you a ton of cash on the vaporetto rides. (if you stay in Venice for three days and live on Lido you will end up paying at least 120 Eur for two) and you will be within easy access of any place you need to go. However vaporettos run with a great frequency so you might not have to wait more than 10-15 mins for a ride.

Eat & drink
Avoid eating or drinking anywhere near or around a major tourist spot (St Marks, Rialto, etc) these meals are guranteed to be more expensive than any place else (2 cups of coffee and a pie cost 35 Eur at Florians) Take a trip, walk around look for a place slightly in the interior and you will find plenty of places offering a three course dinner for 12-18 Eur which is not a bad deal. You can always order off the menu. Remember they will add a cover charge, a bread charge and a service charge (though not all at the same time) Venice is famous for its inky squid dishes. Personally the food is ok, nothing to write home about.

If you got a bar, or a pub you can get small sandwiches, chips and finger food on the bar for free. The Devils Forest(above) is one of the Irish pubs in Venice and they (or anyone else for that matter) dont measure and pour drinks like they do in India. Remember sitting down at a table costs more. Eat at the bar, its cheaper and you get a bunch of stuff free.

Additionally : Check and read up about Venice, find out what activities are on and what exhibits and side tracks are available so you can plan in advance. There is plenty to do so you can pick and choose what you like.

1 comment:

Lyndyn said...

Oh...wonderful pictures...you make my wanderlust wake up! :)

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