Doge Palace
Grand Canal Looking Towards Maria della Salute

Intro | Arriving/Getting Around | Lodging | Eating|Shopping | Museums | Entertainment| Travel Store

Introduction

Once again I would like to extend a warm welcome to GoingEuro.com. On this page you will find travel guides (in the Travel Store) that I like to use, restaurant recommendations, accommodations (hotels and apartments) and shops that I am partial to; in addition to these, I have included web sites that I find useful or just interesting. I have also assembled a diverse assortment of information from getting into Venice from the airport to where to buy an authentic Venetian mask to take home as a souvenir of your trip.

Venice is one of my favorite cities to visit. Why this is so, I really don't know. Ever since I was a kid I've had this fascination with Venice. My preferred time to visit is during the off season. Less crowds and less humidity. August can be over crowded, hot and humid. Granted towards the end of November it can be cold, wet and damp. And you do have to put up with more flooding during this time of year, however, usually the water goes down fairly quickly when a high tide does occur. Yet, for me the empty streets (or near empty, you will always run across a wondering cat) affords the opportunity to admire the architecture and think about the people and the history of “la Serenìsima” without being bothered or jostled. With less people you will also be able to get a better look and enjoy the artwork and mosaics without feeling rushed in places like St. Marks Basilica and The Doge Palace. I do admit if I am visiting in November, December or January, I bring a couple of warm sweaters. Churches and large scuolas such as Scuola Grande di San Rocco are especially chilly in the winter months. I find dressing in layers is the way to go. As with most things in life, it’s a trade off. I happen to prefer to go when I can appreciate the beauty that of Venice in relative peace. Of course there are exceptions, for example going to the Venice Biennale Art Festival (usually is held from June to November). For this event, September is probably the ideal time to go. Some of the art installations are housed in the cavernous buildings of the old arsenal where the Venetians built their ships. Though the buildings have been updated for use as exhibition spaces they are still too large to heat properly,  especially given the Venetian climate. I attended the Biennale towards the end of November (actually on the last day), I confess to being a little cold while walking through the exhibitions house in the old arsenal buildings. Another exception would be to visit at least once in the summer to see and experience the Lido. After seeing the film, Death in Venice I've dreamed in staying at one of the grand hotels on the Lido. One day I shall.

Arriving and Getting Around Venice

The airport (Marco Polo) is located on the mainland. The quickest and most comfortable way to arrive in Venice is by water taxi; unfortunately, this mode of transportation is expensive. As of November 2012 the cost is 110 Euros. An alternative and considerably cheaper option is the water bus service run by Alilaguna srl.  If my wallet can take the shock. I go with the water taxi. One reason, it’s a great way to arrive in a city because of the comfort of the water taxis and the fact you can get some great views of the city as you approach without dealing with a lot of people on a public waterbus. And the other reason is you get dropped off at your hotel or at least within easy walking distance of your hotel. On my last trip the hotel had a water entrance, so I got dropped right off at the front door. After a particularly long flight it’s a godsend not to have to lug my luggage about, especially since it's a 10 minute walk from the terminal to the water. For a decade now they've been proposing to built a small train/tram connecting the terminal with the water where the water buses and water taxis are, but this has been held up due to politics. In addition, the water bus does take longer because there is more than one stop.  Something to consider when deciding whether or not to take a water taxi. Sometimes it’s worth spending a little extra if you can find a way to fit the expense into your budget.

Venicelink.com offers discounted tickets for Alilaguna public lines and private water taxis.

Getting around Venice is not only easy, but enjoyable as well because it’s one of the most beautiful and sublime cities in the world. You can wonder around for hours in total bliss. There are no cars or bicycles to worry about or draw your attention away from the splendid architecture. You can be total oblivious and not worry about getting run over. In case you need to get across the Grand Canal and are not near one of the bridges that span the canal or you are in a hurry  there are the traghetti (six locations). Basically a gondola with none of the fancy accouterments (usually you stand up) that ferry people across from one side to the other side. For longer distances or to get to the other islands, such as Murano or Burano there are water buses called vaperatto. For questions regarding  the public transportation system go to ACTV (there is an English version). A good way to see the facades of the fabulous palazzos that line the Grand Canal is a trip on the Vaporetto line number 82 starting at the train station. Below is a photo of a traghetti crossing the Grand Canal. I have no idea why the photo is crooked. I took it in the morning so I could not have had too much “vino”. Oh well - one of life’s mysteries. 

The Venice Card is a great value. Available in 1 day, 3 day and 7 day passes. There are actually two cards, one is for transportation using the city's water buses and the other is for cultural attractions such as museums and churches. Among the benefits the card(s) offers is unlimited travel on the public transportation system during a period of time and admission to 16 participating churches (The Chorus Pass) including San Sebastiano, Santo Stefano, The Friari, and Madonna dell'Orto and admission to 12 city run museums and discounted admission to many other museums. I bought both cards. I found the transport card a little pricey, but worth it for the convenience of being able to hop on and off the water buses with just a swipe of a card and single trips can add up. The card starts the first time you swipe it to get on a vaporetto. Wait till the next day because usually you are tired your first day and probably won't be doing much. At the end of the trip I was surprised the number of times I did use the water buses. I was glad I got the cards. As far as, the Cultural Card it definitely paid for itself. You can purchase the card online through the Hellovenezia website. If you are planning on doing a lot of sight seeing the card is well worth it. You can also purchase tickets to cultural events such as concerts through Hellovenezia. You can also purchase the card at the main tourist office Azienda di Promozione Turistica (Open Monday - Saturday from 9:00am - 3:30pm), Piazza San Marco 71f located on the western side of the piazza across from the entrance to the Museo Correr or at any of the large Vaporetto stops like the Rialto.

La Biennale di Venice (The Venice Biennale) - This link will take you to their web site (English version). I didn't’t get some of the art. More conceptual versus representational, but I have to say it was worth going and I had a great time. Although I do confess to enjoying the one on architecture more.

The Venice Film Festival - Never been, but it sounds like fun. Perhaps one day. (English version)

The Venetian Carnival - Talking about a fun and exciting time to be in Venice. Everyone should experience this at least once. The high point was the wild and crazy 80’s and 90’s. In recent years due to budget restraints the public activities have been cut, but there are still tons of private parties in those opulent and over-the-top palazzos.  

Atelier Flavia - An excellent source for a costume for the festivities. The web site is in Italian.

Avventure Bellissime - Offers guided walking tours of Venice.

Two worthwhile organizations (one American, one British) who raise money to help protect Venice for future generations are SaveVenice and Venice in Peril respectively. To learn more and to find out how you can help to protect and preserve Venice check out their web sites

Speaking of gondolas, a trip to Venice would not be complete without a trip down the canals in one. Granted it is a little pricey, but the experience is worth the expense. There are a number of places throughout the city where you can hire a gondola, just look for the word “stazio”. The biggest stands are located around St. Marks Square including the Bascino Orseolo (located behind the square), the Calle Vallaresso (west of St. Marks Square), and the Molo (directly in front of the Doge’s Palace). For the official rates pick up a copy of Un Ospite a Venezia (A Guest in Venice). Be sure to finalize the cost before departing. Goes the same for water taxies . VeniceWord International - Sends out a newsletter via e-mail that will keep you up-to-date with news stories and what’s happening such as exhibits, concerts, theater and so on.

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Italy by train: Italy Rail Pass

Lodging

Hotel Pesaro Palace, Calle Ca d'Oro, Cannaregio. Tele: 39 041 296 0748. A 15th century palazzo on the Grand Canal with a lovely garden the runs along side the hotel. On the 2nd floor there is a large beautifully furnished Reading Room/Lounge with comfortable sofas and chairs and a balcony overlooking the Grand Canal. I got a Superior Room on the fourth floor with a view of the garden below and San Polo across the Grand Canal. View from Pesaro Palace Hotel RoomThere were Murano Glass chandeliers in both the bedroom and bath. In the bathroom there was a separate shower and a jacuzzi tub. A full breakfast (hot and cold dishes) was included in the price of the room. I found the front desk staff wonderful. They were helpful and were more than happy to assist with restaurant reservations and even booked tickets on my behalf for a performance of La Traviata at the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro that I wanted to see. In the morning when I went down for breakfast the server remembered I liked to have a cappuccino. These little touches really made my stay really pleasant. I found this hotel through Expedia where I got a terrific deal on hotel and airfare.

The Locanda San Barnaba is a charming small hotel housed in a beautifully restored  palazzo. The rooms are lovely (some rooms have frescos on the ceiling) and the price - quite reasonable. I found the staff friendly. My room on the second floor (one of the ones with a frescoed ceiling) was clean and nicely furnished. Breakfast is included in the cost of the room and served in the rustic breakfast room that looks out onto the garden which backs onto a small canal. If you decide to take a water taxi when you leave for the airport they can pull up to the hotel via the back garden, so there is no need to lug your luggage about. The hotel is located off of the Campo San Barnaba in the Dorsoduro on a quiet street. The Ca’ Rezzonico vaporetto stop is close by allowing for easy access to public transportation. You are a hop, skip and a jump from the Accademia. One reason I like this area is it has a real neighborhood feel to it and not overly touristy like the area around St. Marks Square and the Rialto yet  both are  within easy walking distance from the hotel. For more information check out their web site (in English).

Novecento is another small charming hotel and is located off the Campo San Maurizio, near the Campo Santo Stefano and a short walk from the Piazza San Marco. Slightly more expensive than the Locanda San Barnaba, but they do offer special deals so be sure to check out their website. The Novecento pays homage to Mariano Fortuny and the decor is an eclectic mix of styles reminiscent of India and Morocco. The rooms are fun and interesting with up-to-date bathrooms. A breakfast buffet is included in the cost of the room. The central location is convenient to the major sights including The Gallerie dell’Accademia and the Basilica Di San Marco. For more information check out their web site (in English).

Another option is to rent an apartment. I used Venice Rental and found a great apartment located right on the Grand Canal near San Toma. I was extremely happy with the service. The greeter was professional and helpful with directing us, for exomaple, to the nearest grocery store. She also recommended a few restaurants in the neighborhood that we might like. The apartment was just incredible. On the web site the apartment is the one called “Apartment Grand Canal”. It's is located on the piano noble and has high ceilings. There ia a cute little balcony with a great view of the Grand Canal and Palazzo Mocenigo where Lord Byron lived when he stayed in Venice. I loved just sitting in the living room with the windows open listening to the water lapping against the palazzo or standing out on the balcony looking down at the gondolas moored below. Such a Venetian experience. One of my best holidays. We went with another couple, so we split the cost which worked out to be not terribly expensive, especially when we factored in eating in the apartment a couple of times. Besides you only live once. You might as well enjoy life. While doing research looking for apartments I did find there was better selection of two bedroom apartments versus one bedroom. Also the cost works out better when you rent a two bedroom apartment with another person/couple when compared to renting a one bedroom apartment. I'm not thrilled with studios because one reason I like to rent apartments is to have more space. When you travel with another person it's nice to have a bedroom and a living room so each person can be alone if they want to be. If I can't find a nice affortable one bedroom I would rather stay in a hotel and have all the amenities that come with stayin in a hotel.

When I find a hotel I like, I check on PricelineEurope or Expedia just to make sure I am getting the best price.

PricelineEurope.com - Discount Hotels in 53 Countries Worldwide

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Restaurants

There is no way of getting around it -Venice is a tourist mecca, but that doesn't mean you have to settle for poor or mediocre food. There are a lot of good restaurants in Venice. Granted the quality of food can vary from really great food to well - poor, but this can be said for any city. I look for restaurants frequented by tourists and locales because I figure you stand a better chance since the locales live here year round and the owners probably don't want to alienate their frequent customers with poor food or service. Yet I have eaten in restaurants filled with tourists of all nationalities and had a great experience. So you never know, but going where the locales go is a good general rule of thumb. I have been fortunate to have eaten in only a couple of really terrible restaurants. Most of my dinning experiences in Venice have been wonderful - great food and friendly and professional service. When I travel I tend to try to stay off the beaten path so to speak. Dorsoduro is one of my favorite areas because it still has a neighborhood feel to it where people still live year around. Always check out the menu (if posted) to see the prices. And don’t be afraid to ask the price of the specials on the menu if the prices are not listed. For opening and closing times contact the restaurant via telephone or their  web site. Generally speaking trattorie and bacari that are popular with the locales usually serve lunch from around 12:00 to 2:00 and dinner from around 7:00 to 9:00. More upscale restaurants stay open a little later for lunch and serve dinner till 10:00, 11:00 and few a little longer. I usually aim for 1 o’clock for lunch and 8:00 o’clock for dinner . After dinner I like to stop in a bar for a nightcap. I have arranged my recommendations in the same way Venice itself is divided into sestiere (districts).

Cannaregio

Al Fontego dei Pescatori, Calle Priuli 3726, Cannaregio Tele: 041 520 0538. Nearest Vaporetto: Ca' d'Oro (line #1). Opening times: Tuesday - Sunday from 12:30pm - 2:30pm (lunch) and from 7:00 - 10:30pm (dinner). Elegant restaurant with photographs of Venice dotted about along what I would call nautical memorabilia on the walls. There is a lovely outdoor garden. Seafood is the specialty of the house which they do very well. Service was professional without being stuffy. Prices reasonable. Always a good idea to make reservations, especially if it is a busy time of the year.

Alla Fontana, Fondamenta di Cannaregio 1102, Cannaregio Tele: 041 715 077. Nearest Vaporetto: Guglie (Lines #41, 42, 51, 52). Opening times: Monday - Saturday from noon - 3:00pm (lunch) and 6:30 - 10:00pm (dinner). If you are coming from the direction of San Marco take the #1 or #2 and get of at San Marcuola stop since the lines that stop at Guglie do not run along the Grand Canal. Friendly and informal trattoria with a selective, changing menu of Venetian specialties. I had a delicious Branzino (Mediterranean sea bass) for my main course and for desert I had this wonderful custard made with a sweet Madeira wine. The service was friendly, you felt like you were having dinner in someone's home.

Anice Stellato, Fondamente della Sensa 3272, Cannaregio Tele: 041 720 744. Nearest Vaporetto: Madonna dell'Orto (Lines #41, 42, 51, 52). Opening times: Wednesday - Sunday from 10am - 3pm (lunch) and 7pm - midnight (dinner). Homey and friendly along with delicious food and wine are the keywords that describe this little gem of a restaurant that will not set you back an arm and a leg as far as cost goes. Tables are set close together, yet the space is large enough so you don't feel cramped in. I had seafood for two that was out of this world. Definitely make reservations. During the evening they turned away several couples.

Hosteria Al Vecio Bragosso, Strada Nouva 4386 (close to Campo dei Santi Apostoli), Cannaregio Tele: 041 523 7277. Nearest Vaporetto: Ca' d'Oro (line #1). Closed Monday. With the wood paneling, photographs on the wall and the bottles on the shelf that runs along the top of the wall I am reminded of a tavern. Seafood takes center stage along with attentive and accommodating service. Moderately priced.

Paradiso Perduto (Paradise Lost), Fondamenta della Misericordia 2540, Cannaregio Tele: 041 720 581. Venetian seafood and pasta dishes. Laid back and informal. Open late and hosts live music (salsa, jazz...). For more information click on the link that will take you to their blog.

Vini da Gigio, Fondamenta S. Felice 3628a, Cannaregio Tele: 041 528 5140. Nearest Vaporetto: Ca' d'Oro (line #1). Opening times: Wednesday - Sunday from noon - 2:30pm (lunch) and from 7:30 - 10:30pm (dinner). I enjoyed the food a lot. On the menu there is both seafood and meat dishes. I had a wonderful ossobuco for my main course and I started off with tomato and Buffalo mozzarella. Tables are close together creating a comradery among the diners. Goes without saying the places buzzes with energy. Given the popularity and like most Italian restaurants there are only have a few people taking orders, serving food and so fourth, patience is a must. There is no need to feel like you are being neglected. There is a lot of work to be done. And you are on vacation. There is no need to rush. Sit back and enjoy the food and the pleasant surroundings. You don't have to get up early the next day and trudge. As I mentioned very popularity restaurant, it fills up quickly and pretty much stays that way, so reservations are a good idea.

Castello

Osteria Alla Staff, Calle de l’Ospealeto, Castello Tele: 41 523 9160. Nearest Vaporetto: Ospedale Civile (line #41, 42, 51, 52). Closed Sunday. Family run informal osteria near the church of San Giovanni e Paolo. Popular with the locales. Reasonably priced with good simple dishes. A nice place to stop off for lunch after visiting the church. If you walk east along the side of the church you will come to the street where you make a right. The restaurant is a little ways down on the left side.

Da Remigo, Salizzada dei Greci 3416, Castello Tele: 041 523 0089. Opening times: Monday from 12:30pm - 2:30pm (lunch) and Wednesday - Sunday from 12:30pm - 2:30pm (lunch) and 7:30pm - 10:00pm (dinner). Nearest Vaporetto: San Zaccaria (lines #1, 2, 20, 41, 42, 51, 52, N, LN). A nice mix of Italians and tourists frequent this charming trattoria near the Greek Church. They offer a wonderful selection of seafood and pasta dishes. Prices are reasonable, although this was one of only two restaurants (the other one in Padua) that added the tip automatically onto the bill. I would go back again, but I did find this a little disconcerting. I'm just not use to having a tip added to the bill in Italy when there are only two people. However, even with the tip that cost for lunch was still reasonable. I found both the food and service quite good. I'm just not use to having the tip automatically added to the bill in Italy.

Dorsoduro

Al Gondolieri, San Vio, Dorsoduro Tele: 041 528 6396. Closed Tuesday. Nearest Vaporetto: either Accademia (line #1,2, N) or Salute (line #1). A hop, skip and jump from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Upscale restaurant. As I mentioned, there is no escaping the fact Venice is a touristy city. At this particular establishment I would say the customers are, for most part tourists, but tourists with discerning tastes when it comes to food. Since they don't serve fish, this is a good alternative for those looking for a non-fish restaurant. The food and service are outstanding. It’s expensive, but worth it. It makes a nice change from traditional Venetian cuisine. On my last visit I opted for the 70 Euro Tasting Menu which was excellent. This was my last night in Venice and wanted to treat myself to a fancy dinner. Reservations advisable.

Antica Locanda Montin, Fondamenta Eremite, S. Trovaso, Dorsoduro Tele: 041 522 7151. Nearest Vamporetto: Ca' Rezzonico (line #1). Part of a small hotel. Traditional Venetian cuisine. Moderately priced. Friendly service. Not far from the Campo San Barnaba.

Ai Quattro Feri, Calle Lunga San Barnaba 2754/a Dorsoduro   Tele: 041 520 6978. Nearest Vamporetto: Ca' Rezzonico (line #1). Closed Sunday. Extremely popular osteria. Casual setting, delicious seafood and pasta dishes. Reasonably priced given the food and service. Reservations essential. If you are in the area stop by during lunch to make a reservation.

Caffè Bar Ai Artisti, Campo San Barnaba, Dorsoduro Tele: 041 523 8994 . Nearest Vamporetto: Ca' Rezzonico. Great place to stop for a reasonably priced and excellent cappuccino (less than 2 Euros) and perhaps a little pastry, especially after all the walking and sightseeing you have done.

Cantinone gia Schiavi, Ponte San Trovaso (across from the San Trovaso Gondola repair shop and around the corner from the Academia), Dorsoduro Tele: 041 523 0034. Nearest Vaporetto: Accademia (lines #1, 2, N). One of the best bacari (wine bar that serves cicheti) in Venice. Like the locales you stand (there are no tables) either inside or out by the canal, while munching on these delectable little crostini ( small pieces of toasted bread topped with a variety of toppings). There is a great selection of wine by glass is available at good prices. I usual go with the house wine by the glass, which is fine. You will not spent a lot to for lunch. They also offer sandwiches. Popular with locales who stop by for a quick bit to eat and a glass or two of wine.

La Furatola, Calle Lunga San Barnaba, Dorsoduro Tele: 041 520 8594. Nearest Vamporetto: Ca' Rezzonico. Specialty: Fish. Casual, friendly service. Reasonably priced. It’s a small restaurant and tends to fill up pretty quickly, so reservations are a must.

Pane, Vino e San Daniele, Calle Lunga San Barnaba 30123, Dorsoduro Tele: 041 243 9865. Nearest Vaporetto: Ca'Rezzonico (Line #1). Opening times: Closed Wednesday. Other says of the week from 10:30am - 3:30pm (lunch) and from 7:00pm - Midnight (dinner). Simple and homey decor at this wonderful osteria off the Campo San Barana, near the lovely Ca Rezzonica Museum.. They don't serve seafood, so its a good alternative to the seafood restaurants that dominate Venice. I had the most delicious calf's liver (a Venetian specialty) with polenta for my main course and I started off with San Daniele prosciutto served on a wooden board completing the rustic and informal setting. One thing to note, not all prosciutto is like the dry-cured ham you will find in the US. The word prosciutto in Italy can also mean boiled/cooked ham. If the restaurant does specify, prosciutto crudo is dryed-cured ham and prosciutto cotto is cooked ham.

Ristoteca Oniga, Campo San Barnaba, Dorsoduro Tele: 041 522 4410. Traditional Venetian cuisine (seafood and meat dishes). Nearest Vaporetto: Ca'Rezzonico (Line #1) Family run restaurant. Great food, terrific service and wonderful ambiance. Copper pots hang from the ceiling and there are simple wood table and chairs). On the southwest corner of the Campo San Barnaba. Reservations advisable. Try and aim for 8 o’clock.

San Marco

Centrale - Restaurant/Lounge, Piscina Frezzeria 1659b, San Marco Tele: 041 296 0664. Nearest Vaporetto: San Marco-Vallaresso (line #1,2, N). Opening times: Daily from 6:30pm - 2am. Great location, right around the corner from the La Fenice and open late so you can grab a quick bit after a performance. Exposed brings walls, leather sofas and glass tables in the lounge area create a modern, yet casual ambience to enjoy drinks and some scrumptious snacks. The dinning room serves delicious fish and meat dishes. Prices are not on the cheap side, but definitely worth it for a special night out in this magical city. And for something light, such as a a few drinks and some munchies after a concern or opera, the bill wasn't too bad.

Le Cafè, Campo S. Stefano 2797, San Marco Tele: 041 523 7201. Nearest Vaporetto: Giglio (line #1).Opening times: Daily from 8:00am - 10:30pm. There salads and pizzas are just the right size and the pizzas have that wonderful thin crust. Open all day this is the perfect place to come for a simple lunch, dinner or even breakfast. I find the food and service excellent and the location is convenient to San Marco and the Accademia.

Gelateria Paolin, Campo Santo Stefano 2962, San Marco. If you are in the mood for gelatto then this is the place to come. Sit down at one of the outdoor tables, order a scoop or two of delicious homemade gelatto (a great selection I might add) and enjoy not only the gelatto, but  the splendid setting and the beautiful gothic church of S. Stefano.

San Polo

Antiche Carampane, Rio tera delle Carampane, San Polo Tele: 41 524 0165.  Seafood. Moderate to expensive. Not easy to find, but worth seeking out. Part of the charm is trying to find the restaurant. Reservations advisable.

Muro Vino e Cucina, Campo Cesare Battisti, San Polo Tele: 41 523 7495. Nearest Vaporetto: Rialto Mercato (line #1). Open Monday - Saturday from 9:00am - 3:00pm and from 5:00pm - 2:00am. Creative Venetian dishes with a changing menu are served up at this popular osteria around the corner from the Rialto. Busy wine bar on the ground floor and modern restaurant on the second floor. You start off the evening with a complimentary glass of prosecco and a small starter. Perfect way to start off a meal. At this particular restaurant, I go for one of the scrumptious desserts, instead of a cheese course which is a difficult choice to make considering how good Italian cheeses are, but their desserts are out of this world. Moderately priced. They offer a pre-fixed priced lunch for around 25 Euros which is a great value and also a good opportunity to sample their dishes

Ostaria al Garanghelo, Calle dei Botteri, San Polo Tele: 41 721 721. Nearest Vaporetto: Rialto Mercato (line #1). Opening times: Daily from 11:00am - 11:00pm. Reasonably priced Osteria/bacaro not far the Railto Market. I was quite satisfied with the food and service.

 

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Museums and Art Exhibitions

Some museums are not open on Monday and others close at 2:00pm. Also the opening times very depending on the season.

Musei Civici Veneziani web site (there is an English version) has information on the following museums along with information on facilities for Scholars, Exhibitions and Events, Educational Services...

The large churches of  l Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari), San Zanipolo (The Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Polo), La Salute (Santa Maria della Salute) and of course San Marco (Basilica di San Marco) all contain impressive works of art from mosaics to paintings to stain glass windows (rarity in Venice) to funeral monuments. The smaller parish churches (chiesa) also contain  some beautiful  works of art including the Chiesa Madonna dell’Orto, which contains several works by Tintoretto. This was his parish church. On the outside of most churches (near the main entrance) you will find a plaque that lists the artists who’s works you will find inside.

Note: The opening and closing times of churches vary from church to church.

During my last trip I popped into the Church of San Zaccaria near San Marco late afternoon on a dark and rainy day and let me tell you the ambiance was just wonderful. You could still see the paintings and of course there are lights (for a small fee), but it was interesting to visit the church under such conditions. There was even a damp little crypt that I enjoyed exploring. On my next trip, I plan on going in the daytime preferably on sunny day to really get a good look at paintings, some of which were done by Bellini, Tintoretto & Tiepolo.  

The following are just some of my favorite museums:

Ca' Rezzonico (Dorsoduro), displays the city owned collection of 18th Venetian art. First opened as a public in 1936 it showcases the Venetian decorative arts of the 18th century. Within you will find antique furniture, Murano glass, ceilings by Tiepolo and paintings by such artists as Giovanni Antonio Guardi and Pietro Longhi. Sometimes it's difficult to appreciate the beauty of Venetian baroque because it can be over the top. However, when displayed in a baroque palazzo on the Grand Canal in Venice you cannot help to admire and see the beauty. There is also perhaps one of the loveliest ballrooms in Venice with a magnificent ceiling and walls in trompe l'oeil where concerts are held. On the third floor in the attic (low ceilings and basic in decoration) there is a collection of paintings that span the 15th - 20th centuries along with reconstruction of an 18th century pharmacy and laboratory using original materials such as furniture and paneling. Concerts are held here from time to time. In the back there is a lovely garden where you can have a nice relaxing rest after your visit. Closed on Tuesdays. I still remember vividly my first visit in 1996. In was late in the day and the sun had gone done. Inside the palazzo was a glow with light that created a magical setting for one of Venice's opulent palazzos.

Casa di Goldoni, once the home of the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni. but now houses the Institute for Theatrical  Studies. The only down side is everything is in Italian. There is no English translations, but if your Italian isn't’t up to par the courtyard of the palazzo is worth a peak. Concerts are held here. For a schedule check out the Foundation of Venice's (in collaboration with the City of Venice - Department of Culture) website.

The Collezione Peggy Guggenheim doesn't’t contain paintings by Titian or Tiepolo, but it does contain an interesting collection of modern art including a large number of Surrealist paintings collected by the eccentric American Peggy Guggenheim. She purchased the unfinished palazzo in the 1940’s and spent the rest of her life here. One of the last private individuals to own a gondola (purple no less). You can see her gondola at the The Museo Navale. The museum fronts the Grand Canal, there is a terrace with a wonderful view looking towards Piazza San Marco. Definitely worth at least one visit. The photo below is looking towards the Santa Maria della Salute. To the right is a low white building, this is the unfinished Palazzo Venier dei Leoni that houses the Guggenheim collection. The terrace jets out a little into the Grand Canal.

Fondazione Querini Stampalia houses a library open to the general public, a modern exhibition space and a museum (closed on Mondays) housed in a 16th century palazzo. Flemish, Italian and Venetian paintings from the 14th to 19th century along with period furnishings (sculptures, furniture and so on). Count Giovanni Querini Stampalia, the last of a noble venetian family and at one time one of the riches families in Venice. In the 1960's the Venetian born architect Carlo Scarpa modernized part of the building including the ground floor and garden. In the 1990's one of his pupils, Mario Botta, made additional changes to the building including covering the medieval courtyard and adding a new staircase. On the top floor is a modern space used for exhibitions and lectures, however, the piano nobile (second floor) retains the charm of a bygone era and houses the museum. Concerts are held in baroque splendor in the Music Room .

The collection of the Gallerie dell’Accademia (The Academy of Fine Arts) chronicles the development of Venetian painting from the Renaissance until 18th Century when the Republic came to an end. Venice produced some of the Renaissance’s best painters including Titian, Tintorreto, Tiepolo, Carpaccio. All are represented in the collection.

Galleria Franchetti holds a collection of Veneto Byzantine Art from the 11th century - 13th centuries. Perhaps the collection’s finest work is Mantegna’s painting of St. Sebastian. The collection is housed in the beautiful Ca’ d’Oro. Both the building and the collection are definitely worth visiting.  

Museo del Settecento Veneziano is housed in the Ca’ Rezzonico, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture completed when the Venetian republic was in decline. The palazzo was restored in the 1930s. Furnished with furniture and other decorative items that a 18th century Venetian noble might have used to furnish his own palatial palazzo. During the most recent renovation the third and fourth floors were renovated to accommodate the collection of Egidio Martini. This remarkable collection includes Venetian paintings from the 17th and 18th century. 

Museo Correr holds an impressive collection of artifacts and documents that relate to the Venetian Republic. The art gallery includes paintings by both Venetian and European painters. Along with admission to this museum your ticket includes admission to the Doge Palace, Museo Archeologico and the Biblioteca Marciana.

Museo Vetrario (glass Museum) is quite interesting. After walking around the museum you will see why Venice is renowned for her glass industry. If you are thinking about purchasing Murano glass try Barovier & Toso. One of the oldest firms, they specialize in traditional designs.

Palazzo Fortuny (Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei) dates from the 15th century and houses a museum dedicated to Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo. He is perhaps most famous for his textile designs including his delphos dresses. However, he was also a painter, photographer and set designer whose technical innovations in lighting for theater was revolutionary for its time. At the beginning of the 20th Century Fortuny setup his studio on the top floor of the palazzo and over years moved into other parts of the building, eventually buying the entire palazzo in 1930. Today, the museum contains a collection of his work that showcases his  rich artistic life in a truly magical and theatrical setting. Temporary exhibitions are also held in the palazzo. On the top floor which was the space Fortuny originally rented and used as a studio is now used for temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists. The ground floor of the building has also been renovated for use as an exhibition space. i visited the museum during a photographic exhibition and it was quite magical to walk through these dimly lit rooms, passing the water entrance as the water from the canal laps against the steps. You get the filling that at any moment the rooms could be submerged below the water. Eventually you come to the lovely courtyard with the ancient 3 story loggia and staircase. What I love about this museum is the walls in the saloon are covered with Fortuny fabric and paintings by the man himself. From the ceiling hang his beautiful lighting fixtures. It's almost like stepping back in time to a fin-de-siecle saloon. You get to see his library and his books along with his studio where he painted and walk around the saloon where he entertained. You get to see and experience the surroundings that influenced Fortuny. For more information including current exhibitions click on the link.

The Scuola Grande di San Rocco is filled painting  by Tintoretto who spent more than 20 years decorating the meeting rooms. You can't really experience or fully appreciate Tintoretto until you see his work in situ. And this is one of the best places to do this. If you are visiting in November, December or January be sure to dress warmly. The space is large and there are high ceilings. With Venice’s damp climate it can be a little chilly inside the scuola.

The Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni contains one of two of Carpaccio’s truly remarkable Venetian picture cycles. The other one is in the Academia. This one illustrates the lives of the Dalmatian saints George (of the dragon fame), Tryphone and Jerome. Unlike the Scuola San Rocco the meeting rooms  are smaller and more intimate. And this is still a functioning scuola, so members till meet in the second floor meeting room. 

For contemporary art there is the Palazza Grassi and the Punta Della Dogana, Venice's 17th century custom warehouses that have been converted into space to display contemporary art. Exhibitions are all or part of the large collection of François Pinaul. tClosed on Tuesday.

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Entertainment

Venice unlike  Rome does not have a thriving and robust nightlife. In comparison Venice is rather sedate or low key, but this is part of the charm of Venice. And there are things to do to while away the evening. For example, taking a stroll around the peaceful and quiet city free of the day trippers and perhaps stopping off for a late night drink at a traditional bacari. There are a couple of cinemas scattered throughout the city in case you are in the mood to take in a film. There is the Teatro Goldoni (plays in Italian) and dance performances at the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove. You can enjoy an opera or a concert in one of the most beautiful theaters in the world, Teatro La Fenice. Be sure to check to see what is playing before you leave. Tickets sell out quickly so it is best to book in advance. One of the things I love to do before seeing an opera, attending a concert or before going to dinner is to have a drink in the opulent setting of the Hotel Danieli. Here is a photo of of myself having a drink at the Hotel Danieli. T at the DanieliSorry I am a little bit fuzzy, but what can you do. After dinner I was lucky I didn't fall into one of the canals. Concerts are also held at the Teatro Malibran, recently reopened after undergoing an extensive renovation. Occasionally concerts are held at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia, a beautiful palazzo dating from the 16th century. There is an interesting art collection along with an extensive library. During the 1960’s the ground floor and gardens were remodeled by Carlo Scarpa. I once attended a concert at the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista. I had a delightful time. Keep a lookout for posters dotted around the city advertising concerts in churches and scuolas. Before the concert I had dinner at a charming restaurant near the Friar. After the concert I had coffee and dessert at one of my favorite cafes, Caffe Florian - located on the Piazza San Marco. Sure it's is pricey and touristy, but you can’t put the setting. Though I do try (not very successfully I might add) to limit myself to (2) visits per trip. As I mentioned earlier concerts are held in many of the churches including the l Frair, Santo Stefano & La Pieta. In the Scuola Grande di San Teodoro I saw a terrific performance of Verdi's La Traviata by I Musici Veneziani. The performers were in period costume added to the evening in this historic setting. Recently I discoved a really cool jazzz club in Dorsoduro, appropriately called Venice Jazz Club. The musicians are good. Fun place. For dates and times of concerts check out there website. As you can see there are plenty of things to do in Venice in the evenings.

For a late night drink and light entertainment there are a few options including:

Margaret Duchamp, Campo S. Margherita 3019, Dorsoduro. Popular bar/cafe. Great place to grab a bit to eat or have a pre-dinner aperitif and people watch while sitting at one of the outodoor tables. One of the more livelier campos in Venice. There are a lot of students and Venetians in general who come for a drink or just to hang out.

Bagolo, Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio, Santa Croce (Santa Croce).
Campo Santa Margerita in the Dorsoduro is extremely popular with locals, tourists and students alike. Several bars and cafes are open late including Orange and Margaret Duchamp.

For those who like classical music or a more relax ambiance there is Ai Miracoli, Campielo Dei Miracoli (Cannaregio). Cozy, a great place to come for a drink. The booths in the back have a great view of the beautiful church Santa Maria dei Miracoli. Below is a photo of the church. It is not a very good photo, but you can see the beautiful materials used in the construction along with the workmanship of the intricate carvings. The inside is stunning, covered in so many different types of marble.

Shopping

Barbieri Arabesque, Ponte dei Greci 3403 (Castello) Tele: 041 5228177 10L00am-7:30pm. Nearest vaporetto stop: San Zaccaria. Beautiful scarves, wool shawls, ties, cravats and ascots. Open 10:00am to 7:30pm.

Bressanelo Artstudio, Calle Lunga Tele: 41 724 1080. Off the Campo San Barnaba. I purchase a beautiful print of a photograph here as a souvenir on my trip.

Drogheria Mascari, Ruga degli Spezieri 381 (San Polo) Tele: 041 5229762. Nearest vaporetto stop: San Silvestro. Spices, teas/coffees, wine and specialty items such as balsamic vinegar, truffles, olive oils and son. Open Monday, Tuesday & Thursday-Saturday from 8:00am to 1:00pm and on Wednesday from 8:00am to 1:00pm.

Gilberto Penzo, Calle 2 dei Saoneri 2681 (San Polo) Tele: 041 719372. Nearest vaporetto stop: San Toma. The owner is an expert on Venetian boats. You can buy wooden boat models and kits. I purchased a gondola model kit to take home. I spent hours putting it together and now I have wonderful little keepsake of my trip to Venice.  Open Monday-Saturday from 9:00am to 12:30pm 3-6pm.

Il Gufo Artigiano, Ruga del Speziali 299 (San Polo) Tele: 041 5234030. Nearest vaporetto stop: Rialto. Beautiful hand tooled leather goods such as albums, journals wallets and handbags. Modern abstract designs based on ironwork found on Venetian windows.  Open Monday-Saturday from 10:00am to 3:30pm.  

La Ricerca, Ponte delle Ostreghe, San Marco Tele: 041 5228250. Nice selection of photo albums covered in marbled paper.

Mistero Buffo, S. Basegio, Dorsoduro Tele: 41 523 8719. Off the Fondamenta Zattere. Wonderful little mask shop near the Church of San. Sebastino. The masks are handmade in Venice by the owner of the shop. I like to support local craftspeople. Ca’ Macana, Calle della Botteghe (located over a bridge off the Campo San Barnaba), Dorsoduro 3172. The shop has an excellent selection and one of the largest stocks of fantasy and commedia dell’arte masks in Venice. They also offer classes where you can actually make a mask. Another good mask shop in terms of variety both modern and traditional in the Dorsoduro is Mondonovo, Rio Tera Canal (off Campo Santa Margherita). Of course you will find masks shops all over Venice. I personally like the three shops I mentioned, but I also like to hunt around for little “mom and pop” shops that sell and make the masks themselves. I like to try and support the little guy as well as the larger shops as long as the masks are made in Venice by Venetian craftsman.

VizioVirtù, Calle del Campaniel 2898a (San Polo) Tele: 041 2750149. Nearest vaporetto stop: San Toma. Open daily from 10 am to 7.30 pm.Artisanal chocolates. Definitely the place to go for your daily fix of chocolate.

When I rented an apartment across two supermarkets. First one is Billa, on the Fondamenta Zattere Ponte Lungo (near the San Basilio vaporetto stop) in Dorsoduro and is open seven days a week. The other supermarket, Punto Sma, is also located in the Dorsoduro on the Campo Santa Margherita, but is closed on Sunday. A little difficult to find since you there are no street numbers in Venice. The supermarket is on the west side of the campo. Start from from the north end of the campo and start walking along the west side towards the church l Carmini and you will find it. A large open air market that sells fresh fish, herbs, fruits and vegetables is held at the Fabbriche Nuove, Fabbriche Vecchie and Campo d. Pescaria (near the Rialto) in San Polo, in the mornings Monday - Saturday. I cooked a couple times and this is where I came for ingredients. There is also a butcher off the Piazza Erbaria. As you are walking towards the Fabbriche Vecchie coming from the Rialto the shop will be on your left and the Grand Canal will be on your right. You will also find several bakeries in the area as well. For basic and everyday items I went to the supermarket, but for fish, vegetables and so fourth, I prefer fresh markets over supermarkets. However, you do have to be practical and a large supermarket does to stock a lot items including nonfood items. Of course for poultry and meats I much prefer to go to a good butcher and a good bakery for bread. You cannot beat a fine cut of veal or fresh baked bread.

Films shot in Venice

Bread & Tulips (Pane e tulipani) (2000). A hilarious romantic comedy.  Rosalba Barletta is a perfect housewife married to a two timing husband who doesn't’t appreciate her. Left behind at a bus stop (the family is on one of those bus tours of southern Italy) she decides to hitchhike home, but decides to take a vacation away from her family. She heads to Venice where she gets a job at a florists shops, rents a room from an unhappy waiter. It’s available through Netflix.

The Comfort of Strangers (1990) based on a novel by Ian McEwan and the screenplay was written by Harold Pinter with Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson and Helen Mirren.

Death in Venice (1971) based on Thomas Mann's novella, directed by Luchino Visconti with a stellar performance by Dirk Bogarde. There are some great scenes of Venice and the Lido.

Don't Look Now (1973) based on a story by Daphne Du Maurie with Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland. There is one pretty intense sex scene, so it’s not for everyone. However, it’s a dark thriller filled with suspense and some beautiful shots of Venice in winter.  

Suumertime (1955) directed by David Lean with Katherine Hepburn and Rossano Brazzi. It's about an unmarried woman from the Midwest who visits Venice for the first time and falls in love with a married Italian man. I first saw this film back in the 1980s, one of the first films that really boasted my desire to visit Venice. I bought the film and every time I watch it and Katherine Hepburn is on the train crossing the lagoon heading into Venice, it brings my own wonderful experience when the first time I was on a train and crossing the bridge going into Venice

The Wings of the Dove (1997) based on a novel by Henry James with Helena Bonham Carter. Charlotte Rampling is terrific as a domineering aunt. The palazzo Millie Theale rents in Venice is the Palazzo Barbaro where Henry James stayed when he visited Venice.

The Merchant of Venice (2004) with Al Pacino as Shylock and filmed in Venice. I liked the film a lot and thought Al Pacino's performance was pretty good. Two of my favorite things: Shakespeare and Venice.

 

Grand Canal Looking Towards Maria della Salute
Grand Canal Looking Towards Maria della Salute