Venice Italy

Many times people find themselves traveling through the area and ask what to do if I have some time to visit Venice.  This is a suggested travel plan for Venice, if you are arriving during the morning, either by air or by train.

Most of the morning will be spent arriving by train or driving into town (or arriving by plane, which also involves clearing customs and passport control then getting into town) and checking into your hotel. Essentially, you only have lunch and the afternoon free.

  • Venice is expensive - for those who do not know the city it can be even more expensive.
  • All of the must see sights are part of the Venetian history and will help you better understand the city.
  • Always ask for help when you are lost or you are not sure where you are
To watch and read before you go;

Venice is a wonderful one of a kind place, but if you just show up you are not going to have the experience you read and hear about. The city is crowded with tourist and a little prior learning will go a long way to avoid the crowds and know what you are seeing. 

  • "Francesco's Venice" a BBC film on Venice that very well done and accurate. (You can find portions on  Youtube).
  • "Venice" by Jan Morris, still a classic travel log of the city.
  • The 'Eye Witness' Venice and Veneto is a great travel guide to have with you.
 Your pre-planning check-list:
  • Selected a hotel located at one of the following locations: San Marco Square - Rialto Bridge - near the train station - staying outside of Venice and taking the train in.
  • Have a map of the city and have reviewed the how to get around in Venezia
  • If you do not opt for a guided tour for a few hours at least have a copy of the "Eye-witness Venice" Guide.
Flow of·the day:

Regardless of how you get to Piazzia Roma or the Train Station for the first time you have two choices walk or take a water bus. I suggest you take the water bus, cost for the bus is 7.50 euro, but walking the streets with bags is not a joy, and one of the best sites of the city is the Gran Canal.

Exit at the nearest stop to your hotel and check in. The heart of Venezia in the San Marco Square, so it is the best place to start your one day tour.  Get there by boat if possible, your water bus ticket is good for one hour, so you should be able to get to you hotel check in and get to the square all on one ticket.·

Exit the water bus at the S. Zaccaria stop. Once you get off at S. Zaccaria just turn left off the vaporetto and walk down "Riva degli Schiaboni" (named after the slang term for Slovak’s), you will see the statute of Victor Emmulial (know as the pigeon skewer) and many of the historical hotels that have hosted many of the famous writers and artist, during their time in Venice.

At the first bridge you will find the "Ponte dei Sospiri", the bridge of sighs, the bridge linking the Doge Palace to the Prison. Descending the bridge the building on your right is the Doge's Palace.

Once in the square, if you have the time visit the Doge's palace, and get the audio guide. The palace is worth the visit for the art and interior, the audio guide gives you a good overview of the history.

After the Doge a walk around San Marco with your "Eye Witness" guide, it will give you a great overview of the square. From San Marco walk to the Rialto area to visit the bridge and the surrounding area. A stop for a glass of wine and snack is a must a popular place to stop is the Due Mori, very well know for their cicchetti. By the time you have done this your day is done. Venice is like an Art Gallery; to much time in any one room is overload. A half day is enough time to visit the square and the Railto and Gran Canal and then just wonder around to get back to your hotel. If you do these few things you will leave wanting more and having a great experience.

This is merely a blueprint. You really should spend your time on whatever catches your own interest. Some people would rather get a root canal than spend several hours in the Accademia, but for others an afternoon of Old Masters would rank as the highlight of their trip. Same goes for shopping, or gondola rides, or cramming a dozen churches and museums into a single day: heaven for some, hell on earth for others. For less-know tourist sights to visit, check out my "the other Venice list".

Consider daily tours: Prefer to leave some of the planning and information-providing to a professional? Consider signing up for a guided tour—doesn't have to be a standard bus tour; there are lots of guide companies with in Venice that offer neighbourhood and themed tours, private guides, and other fun ways to explore the capital as well. Or do a less formal guided tour with a travel escort or a city walk.


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