“Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
marshallv
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:49 pm

“Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by marshallv » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:15 pm

Hello all

In a few days we will be departing on a rick steves’ 10day best of Venice, Florence and Rome tour. For context, “we” consists of me, DW and our 16 yo DD and 17 yo DS. I’ve gotten several suggestions to get there a day early in case there are any travel issues so we are.

We will have roughly one afternoon/night and then most of one day on our own before the tour group meets for dinner. I’m looking for some cool things to do during that dead time.

Once the tour starts, we will be in Venice for 2 full days. We are doing st marks square, basilica, doges place, accedemia, a cruise into Venice’s lagoon and a few other things.

So, any other can’t miss or cool things we should catch on our own that first day?

Also, this tour seems pretty laid back with lots of free time which is great! Any off the beaten path things (or really anything) we should try to take in while in the other cities, Florence and Rome?

As always, I appreciate any insights and suggestions.

Marshall

User avatar
tennisplyr
Posts: 1701
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:53 pm
Location: Sarasota, FL

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by tennisplyr » Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:36 pm

How about a gondola ride
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

caffeperfavore
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:45 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by caffeperfavore » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:10 pm

Wander. Get lost (not that you can completely without falling into the lagoon). Get away from the touristy areas and discover things in the back alleys.
Go to one of the surrounding islands: Murano if you like glassware or Burano for some color and calm or Torcello for the history.
If you're a bookworm, read Jan Morris's The World of Venice before you go and try and find some of the things she describes (a treasure hunt).
Have an espresso in the back bar of Caffe Florian in St. Marks Square. They claim to be the oldest coffee shop in Europe (the Austrians will dispute this).
Watch builders make a gondola at Squero di San Trovaso.

And yeah, if it's not on the tour, you've got to do a gondola ride at night. But, haggle a bit first.
Last edited by caffeperfavore on Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Exit105
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:22 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Exit105 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:18 pm

I agree to do the Gondola ride at night, close to 11pm when the waterways are quiet.
Second, sometime during your venice stay, get up early (5:30-6:00) and walk the streets without crowds. Stand alone in St Marks Square, watch the delivery boats making their rounds. Beautifully peaceful!

ResearchMed
Posts: 6883
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:07 pm

There was a place to get private gondola lessons.
I surprised DH with that when we were there about 2 years ago.

You could probably find it by Googling.
It was a small setup, and we just waited by a canal, as directed, for them to finish with the previous lesson and start it again.
If you are interested and can't find it, let us know, and I'll try to look up our email exchanges.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

Ztx
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:54 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Ztx » Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:57 pm

caffeperfavore wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:10 pm
Wander. Get lost (not that you can completely without falling into the lagoon). Get away from the touristy areas and discover things in the back alleys.
....
Depends on what you like, of course, but I would second this advice. We spent 2 days wandering and could have easily spent 2 more.

Also, if this is not a part of the tour, see if you can go to the top of this campanile (tower) at San Marco square. Nice views of Venice but could get crowded.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Mark%27s_Campanile

User avatar
White Coat Investor
Posts: 13329
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 9:11 pm
Location: Greatest Snow On Earth

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by White Coat Investor » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:00 pm

marshallv wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:15 pm
Hello all

In a few days we will be departing on a rick steves’ 10day best of Venice, Florence and Rome tour. For context, “we” consists of me, DW and our 16 yo DD and 17 yo DS. I’ve gotten several suggestions to get there a day early in case there are any travel issues so we are.

We will have roughly one afternoon/night and then most of one day on our own before the tour group meets for dinner. I’m looking for some cool things to do during that dead time.

Once the tour starts, we will be in Venice for 2 full days. We are doing st marks square, basilica, doges place, accedemia, a cruise into Venice’s lagoon and a few other things.

So, any other can’t miss or cool things we should catch on our own that first day?

Also, this tour seems pretty laid back with lots of free time which is great! Any off the beaten path things (or really anything) we should try to take in while in the other cities, Florence and Rome?

As always, I appreciate any insights and suggestions.

Marshall
My favorite part of Venice was just wandering around getting lost. Seeing the ambulance boat come and take a patient. Seeing the garbage boat come and pick up the trash etc.
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 46807
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:14 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (travel).
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.

Glockenspiel
Posts: 486
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Glockenspiel » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:29 pm

The best thing you can do with that time is to wander the city, walk down the narrow, out of the way pathways. Watch a few local kids play a pickup game of soccer in a small square. Walk into a random restaurant or bar. This is truly the magic of this city. Then, at dusk or after dusk, take the obligatory $80 euro gondola ride. I wouldn't bother with the other islands with the extra day you have to kill.

marielake
Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 5:39 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by marielake » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:40 pm

I’d say just relax. It is very tiring flying from us to Italy; you will need time to decompress.
Was fun to watch the garbage and ambulance gondolas. Be sure to have map or guidebook to get around. It is very easy to get lost.

eddot98
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:47 am
Location: The Berkshires

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by eddot98 » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:55 pm

The Guggenheim.
There is a supermarket right by the Piazzale Roma. Stop in if you need anything or just to look around. Their cheese selection is great and although it’s somewhat like an American supermarket, there are a lot of interesting differences. I like to see how people in other places shop for food. If you see a de watered canal, stop and take a look. Think about where the utilities are, there are no telephone poles in Venice. Everything is underground or, in some cases under water. Investigate the history of waste water treatment there before you go.
http://www.venipedia.org/wiki/index.php ... e_disposal

User avatar
peterinjapan
Posts: 397
Joined: Fri May 15, 2015 8:41 am
Location: Japan!

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by peterinjapan » Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:55 pm

Be sure to take precautions against pickpockets or other unsavory characters. I was actually involved in a government sting operation while there, when I ate at a restaurant and the proprietor didn't give me a receipt. He got revenge on me by giving me change in "bad" Lira (this was pre-Euro) that couldn't be exchanged legally for some reason. I went back to give him hell, and should have called the police back.

Italy is a wonderful country, but assume the worst about people and you'll be better off.

Pacific
Posts: 1228
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:19 pm
Location: Lost in the middle of the Pacific

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Pacific » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:21 am

We were there 10 days ago as part of a Tauck tour. We were "tourists", but, ironically, we found ourselves absolutely hating the TOURISTS being disgorged from the numerous ocean liners. It is a madhouse and disgraceful. Venice has a "population" of about 250,000 of which only about 50,000 live there. It has 25-30 million tourists a year. Many of the Venetians are becoming fed up with the tourists -- especially those thousands a day off those cruise ships and I do not blame them. Just so you know, the water taxis are a ripoff and possibly controlled by the mafia. Just to get into one costs 65 euros. You are much better off taking the water buses which alternate sides of the Grand Canal on every stop. They are fun and you can get one day or two day passes for a fraction of the cost of the water taxis. The gondola rides are very touristy, but you have to take one. Try to surprise your gondolier by belting out Nessun Dorma! LOL

Our last day in Venice we walked 12.8 miles. Probably 8.8 miles was due to being constantly lost. The walkways change their name about every 50 feet and stay straight for only about 55 feet. Don't even attempt to use google maps.

If you get a chance, do a day tour to some of the hilltop towns north of Venice such as Marostica and Asolo. They are gorgeous.

flyingaway
Posts: 1771
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:19 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by flyingaway » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:36 am

Walking to the parts of the main island that most tourists will not go. Even looking at how the residents dry their clothes could be interesting.

rfowler
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2014 10:42 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by rfowler » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:48 am

Despite the tourists, Venice is ..... spectacular.
Look at is as city-museum.

I second the suggestion to visit Peggy Guggenheim house (now a "museum") for your extra day and introduction to Venice.
The house was her personal residence so it's human sized, right on the canal, and contains some of the art and sculpture she personally curated from her artist friends of the time.
Plan to get there by the vaparetto (economical water-shuttle that navigates the canals) and walking and you will have an extraordinary first day and introduction to Venice. It's doubtful your Rick Steves tour will go to the Guggenheim house so you'll likely experience with few tourists.

jpdion
Posts: 87
Joined: Thu Feb 13, 2014 12:52 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by jpdion » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:01 am

It's a day to FILL, not kill. Enjoy!

Valuethinker
Posts: 35355
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:52 am

caffeperfavore wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:10 pm
Wander. Get lost (not that you can completely without falling into the lagoon). Get away from the touristy areas and discover things in the back alleys.
Go to one of the surrounding islands: Murano if you like glassware
or Burano for some color and calm or Torcello for the history.
Murano - very touristy
Burano - very touristy but also still (some) real fishermen
Torcello - you have to make the vaporetto (water buses) work for you-- you change at Burano so that means you have to get the timetables right

I love Torcello and the (not cheap) restaurant lunch there was worth having. But it's a small place (the original centre of Venice before malarial mosquitoes drove the inhabitants further into the lagoon).
If you're a bookworm, read Jan Morris's The World of Venice before you go and try and find some of the things she describes (a treasure hunt).
Yes.
Have an espresso in the back bar of Caffe Florian in St. Marks Square. They claim to be the oldest coffee shop in Europe (the Austrians will dispute this).
Last I was there, a coffee cost me about USD 15. I am not sure it is worth it over, say, sitting in the Piazza Del Campo in a very ordinary place and having a coffee and watching Venice go by.

St Mark's Sestiere (Parish) is basically awful-- way too many tourists and street vendors of tacky touristy things, catering to the cruise liner crowd.

It's really only remotely pleasant before 9 am ish, when the tourists get there, and after about 7 pm. The rest of the time it's worth trying to get somewhere else in Venice and avoid the suffocating crowds (watch your wallet at all times especially in St. Mark's).

Get a map and just wander around.
Watch builders make a gondola at Squero di San Trovaso.

And yeah, if it's not on the tour, you've got to do a gondola ride at night. But, haggle a bit first.
I have not done a gondola ride in over 30 years. I guess, once. And yes, towards sunset. But for me, you can get 80-90% of that value hopping on a Vaporetto (they do day passes) and taking the one that circumnavigates the whole island (one goes clockwise, the other anti). Also taking one up the Grand Canal (or down) but, again, early in the morning or after 7pm.

Because most people no longer live in Venice, but live on the mainland, Venice really dies in the evening (except for a crowd going to the Casino)-- restaurants stop serving very early (for Italy, say 9.30 ish last time to sit down? Most places seem to be closing up by 10.30).

Venice is special at those times-- say 730am and after 730 pm. In between the crowds can be just overwhelming (there are quiet times of year, but not many).

BTW if the flooding siren sounds, it's real - don't ignore it. The torrent and the speed can be just terrifying.

caffeperfavore
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:45 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by caffeperfavore » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:31 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:52 am
caffeperfavore wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:10 pm
Have an espresso in the back bar of Caffe Florian in St. Marks Square. They claim to be the oldest coffee shop in Europe (the Austrians will dispute this).
Last I was there, a coffee cost me about USD 15. I am not sure it is worth it over, say, sitting in the Piazza Del Campo in a very ordinary place and having a coffee and watching Venice go by.
That's why you go inside and walk to the back bar and stand for an espresso. I don't think I paid more than a Euro, maybe two. They charge you a kidney and a half for coffee if you sit down anywhere, especially outside. This way you get look around and enjoy the interior. But if you want an outdoor seat, then yes, go elsewhere.

As an espresso/coffee nerd, I appreciate the history of the place. The espresso is just ok, but the interior is an interesting time capsule.

Valuethinker
Posts: 35355
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:39 am

caffeperfavore wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:31 am
Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 10:52 am
caffeperfavore wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:10 pm
Have an espresso in the back bar of Caffe Florian in St. Marks Square. They claim to be the oldest coffee shop in Europe (the Austrians will dispute this).
Last I was there, a coffee cost me about USD 15. I am not sure it is worth it over, say, sitting in the Piazza Del Campo in a very ordinary place and having a coffee and watching Venice go by.
That's why you go inside and walk to the back bar and stand for an espresso. I don't think I paid more than a Euro, maybe two. They charge you a kidney and a half for coffee if you sit down anywhere, especially outside. This way you get look around and enjoy the interior. But if you want an outdoor seat, then yes, go elsewhere.

As an espresso/coffee nerd, I appreciate the history of the place. The espresso is just ok, but the interior is an interesting time capsule.
Thank you. Good tip.

Trieste I thought had amazing coffee-- the combination of Austrian heritage and (recent) Italian ownership. Illy Coffee is based near there, I think.

MDfan
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:32 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by MDfan » Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:21 pm

marshallv wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 7:15 pm
Hello all

In a few days we will be departing on a rick steves’ 10day best of Venice, Florence and Rome tour. For context, “we” consists of me, DW and our 16 yo DD and 17 yo DS. I’ve gotten several suggestions to get there a day early in case there are any travel issues so we are.

We will have roughly one afternoon/night and then most of one day on our own before the tour group meets for dinner. I’m looking for some cool things to do during that dead time.

Once the tour starts, we will be in Venice for 2 full days. We are doing st marks square, basilica, doges place, accedemia, a cruise into Venice’s lagoon and a few other things.

So, any other can’t miss or cool things we should catch on our own that first day?

Also, this tour seems pretty laid back with lots of free time which is great! Any off the beaten path things (or really anything) we should try to take in while in the other cities, Florence and Rome?

As always, I appreciate any insights and suggestions.

Marshall
One of our favorite churches on our trip to Italy is in Venice and it's kind of off the beaten path. Took a while to find it, but we wandered through some very neat neighborhoods on the way.

http://en.venezia.net/venice-frari-church.html

Capsu78
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 10:30 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Capsu78 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:59 pm

Since no one mentioned it- take the vapporetto over to Lido, walk across the island to the sea and spend a beach day with your kids. We rented a couple of chairs, used a changing station and my daughters loved it. Steves tours will put you through the paces so a day of relax is a luxury.

Also, as a camera geek, I believe the best time for a gondola ride is an hour before sunset when the lighting is wonderful off the buildings and yet not the busiest times of the day.

likegarden
Posts: 2638
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by likegarden » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:31 pm

We went there 1980 on a tour from Meran with our 4 years old son and my parents, we loved it. On the way back to the parked bus we decided to take the Express boat, found out that it stopped everywhere, and people waiting in the bus did not like that.

renue74
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by renue74 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:41 pm

We went on the RS 10 day tour about 3 years ago. One of our best vacations ever.

I know the tour guide does have some "leeway" on what he/she does with the group....and our guide actually set up a gondola ride for the whole group at a much discounted price....because it was 20 people in 4 or 5 boats....so you may want to wait on that.

I remember getting up super early each day and walking the city....before the tourist flocked in. It was amazing. Walking Venice at 5am when the sunrise fills the canals with sunlight...and only seeing the supply boats on the canals.

The RS tour will give you quiet a large amount of "free time."

We had time to visit the Guggenheim, eat dinner on our on most evenings, etc.

It's hard to escape the tourists in Venice...but wonder far away from the square and find a little hole in the wall restaurant in some small out of the way piazza.

On that RS tour...my favorite was the trip from Florence to Rome....we stopped at an agritourismo near Florence and had lunch. Beautiful countryside, great farm and great farm fresh lunch.

eddot98
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:47 am
Location: The Berkshires

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by eddot98 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:27 pm

We were in Venice for 6 nights over Thanksgiving last year. The weather was very nice, temperatures in the 60’s and no rain. Most importantly, there weren’t very many other tourists there during that time period. Our hotel was in the old Jewish ghetto area and it provided a free shuttle on a water taxi to and from St Mark’s Square. Most nights in the area around the hotel it was deserted. Since we had so much time and we have mellowed a bit in our quest to “see everything”, we really got to stretch out and enjoy this most unique city.

ResearchMed
Posts: 6883
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:33 pm

eddot98 wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:27 pm
We were in Venice for 6 nights over Thanksgiving last year. The weather was very nice, temperatures in the 60’s and no rain. Most importantly, there weren’t very many other tourists there during that time period. Our hotel was in the old Jewish ghetto area and it provided a free shuttle on a water taxi to and from St Mark’s Square. Most nights in the area around the hotel it was deserted. Since we had so much time and we have mellowed a bit in our quest to “see everything”, we really got to stretch out and enjoy this most unique city.
What hotel was that?

Thanks.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

eddot98
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:47 am
Location: The Berkshires

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by eddot98 » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:27 pm

When we were there it was a Boscolo hotel. Now it appears to be the Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, The Dedica Anthology, Autograph Collection® It still is part of the Marriott group. If, by chance, you ever go there, stay in the Main building, not in any of the out buildings. The staff there was very helpful and accommodating. Booking far ahead at the Senior rate was very affordable.

marshallv
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:49 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by marshallv » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:43 pm

As usual, the boglehead group exceeds my expectations with great feedback. I think the best comment I read was that it’s a “day to fill and not a day to kill”. I needed that perspective and attitude adjustment!

Again, thank you all. The only real challenge left is explaining to DD that chic fil a doesn’t exist over there.

marshallv
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:49 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by marshallv » Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:47 pm

Oh, and in case anyone happens to be familiar, we are staying in the hotel fenice.

VonRyan
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:49 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by VonRyan » Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:03 pm

There is a fantastic Italian Navy museum on the east end of the main island near the Arsenale. I spend three-four hours there.

Just get away from the crowds, which often takes only 2-3 minutes of walking. Further north and further east on the main island get you away from big crowds.

The other islands are also cool to walk around; with a Vapareto pass you can cheaply visit San Giorgio, the Guidecca, and the Lido. With more time you can take a boat to the original site of Venice on Torcello.

JJP
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:06 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by JJP » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:38 pm

Dal Moro's Fresh Pasta to Go! Best pasta I've ever had in my life. Small shop hidden down some alleys.

User avatar
chickadee
Posts: 180
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:13 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by chickadee » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:53 pm

I'd suggest walking as far away from piazza San Marco as you can in any direction. In other words, go where other tourists aren't.

In the RS guidebook he details a "cicchetti" food tour. If it's not on the tour itinerary, I think it would be a fun introduction to Venice.

So jealous! Please post back how you liked the RS tour. I've eyed them over the years but never pulled the trigger. If we ever go on a tour, I'd do one through RS.

carolc
Posts: 212
Joined: Thu Mar 22, 2007 11:45 am
Location: New Hampshire seacoast

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by carolc » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:19 pm

Another vote to wander....maybe get on the other side of the Grand Canal and just walk...stopping for a gelato along the way of course. 😉

carolc

LFKB
Posts: 501
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by LFKB » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:22 pm

Italy has extradition with the US, so I would reconsider your plans OP

newDDS
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:52 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by newDDS » Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:45 pm

My favorite day in Venice consisted of taking the main water bus that runs a loop around the city and just hopping on and off at different sites and wandering through. Venice is a cruise town and everyone on the cruise ships gets off at the main port, funnels into St Marks and surrounding "must sees" and it can get chaotic. Outside of that central area the city is quite calm and beautiful. Through our exploration we found great food and even played a little soccer with some locals.

ResearchMed
Posts: 6883
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by ResearchMed » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:09 pm

LFKB wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 1:22 pm
Italy has extradition with the US, so I would reconsider your plans OP
:wink:

Good one!

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

Capsu78
Posts: 223
Joined: Wed May 18, 2016 10:30 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Capsu78 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:34 pm

Another quick tip, assuming you like wine- search for a wine co op- there are several, where for a couple of Euro, you basically refill a plastic liter bottle with a number of wines made in small batches. We bought one before our gondola ride and drank some wine during our ride.
We spent more on the plastic cups we bought than the wine!...so another inside tip, bring along a few red plastic cups... you will not find them over there. We also planned for a "snack" meal of meats and cheeses around 5 o'clock every day and had a picnic at our hotel.- it filled everybody up for a later dinner.
Last edited by Capsu78 on Wed Jun 13, 2018 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

amindu
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:59 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by amindu » Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:47 pm

Go to the non-tourist side, have a meal at Trattoria alla Madonna, that will take you to more of the "local" restaurants and away from the tourist traps. They have fresh seafood, and the pasta with squid ink is really good as well.

At St Mark's square if anyone gives you bird feed do not take it, my wife took some and it ended up costing us $5 euros for a handful, this is how they get you, and other tricks.

Valuethinker
Posts: 35355
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:48 am

VonRyan wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 12:03 pm
There is a fantastic Italian Navy museum on the east end of the main island near the Arsenale. I spend three-four hours there.

Just get away from the crowds, which often takes only 2-3 minutes of walking. Further north and further east on the main island get you away from big crowds.

The other islands are also cool to walk around; with a Vapareto pass you can cheaply visit San Giorgio, the Guidecca, and the Lido. With more time you can take a boat to the original site of Venice on Torcello.
The Italian naval museum is a very traditional museum with static exhibits. From memory, it is all in Italian, too.

I loved it, but my grandfather served in the Mediterranean theatre in WW2 in the Royal Navy-- so the exhibits on the Italian navy frogmen (who successfully damaged several British warships) were really interesting. Also the 16th century naval guns and weapons. My spouse struggled to stay interested.

During the Biennale Art Festival (happens every other year, with the alternate being an architecture festival) you can visit that park with all the national pavilions, which is otherwise closed. In recent years there are exhibits in the Arsenale itself, ie the Italian naval base, and that's the only time you can see it. This is all just down the pavement from the naval museum.

Guidecca I have a lot of time for -- a very pleasant stroll along the lagoon, facing the main island, with a couple of nice churches to visit (and good, very traditional Italian, standup coffee places).

The Lido I found to be disappointing. It's too much like any Italian seaside town- -cars, etc. What dweller of North America would want to spend much time on a crowded Adriatic beach? I would trust the water in New Jersey to be cleaner, mostly.

Valuethinker
Posts: 35355
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Jun 14, 2018 5:50 am

amindu wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 5:47 pm
Go to the non-tourist side, have a meal at Trattoria alla Madonna, that will take you to more of the "local" restaurants and away from the tourist traps. They have fresh seafood, and the pasta with squid ink is really good as well.

At St Mark's square if anyone gives you bird feed do not take it, my wife took some and it ended up costing us $5 euros for a handful, this is how they get you, and other tricks.
St Mark's square is full of such ripoffs. To be avoided except pre 9 am or post 7 pm, when the big crowds are gone.

rj49
Posts: 422
Joined: Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:22 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by rj49 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 7:21 pm

I just returned from a week in Venice. The heat and crowds are a bit overwhelming at this time of year, as in Florence and Rome, so if you're coming in early I'd actually go to Padua and Verona on day trips. Lodging in those cities are about half the price as Venice for much nicer hotels, but if you've already paid for Venice, you can get to Padua in half an hour by train for 4 euros, and Verona in an hour or so. Padua has the incredible Giotta frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel, an amazing Basilica of St. Anthony (full of a thousand or so devout pilgrims when I was there), and a lively evening piazza scene, especially as a university town. Verona also has some lovely sights and its own Roman coliseum (which still hosts a summer opera festival), as well as a wonderful evening passagiata of everyone out strolling on the main town square. You can read all about each city in Rick Steves' book on Italy or on Venice (as well as on his videos)--it was wonderful to get away to the cities from Venice. It's very easy to take the train, you can order easily in English on the trenitalia machines at the stations or use the station office (look for the R or RV local trains, which are dirt-cheap and run twice an hour or so--Rick's books tell you the same things, including how to use the tram in Padua and to get to the center of Verona by bus).

In Venice, my recommendation would be get a 2-day vaporetto pass and simply ride up and down the canals, out to the Lido, and take routes going to the outlying islands, since the tour probably won't cover sightseeing by boat. Again, Rick Steves has an audio tour and description of a vaporetto tour going along the Grand Canal. With a pass you can do it during the day, and then at night, since it's the most peaceful and beautiful then (as is everywhere else in the city, and cooler). My other recommendation is that instead of lining up with hundreds of others and trudging through St. Mark's Basilica, given 10 minutes or so before being forced out, become Catholic for an hour and attend a mass (times are on their website, and you enter on the left side of the building as you face it), which means no waiting in line and you can sit and admire everything around you during the service, and they usually give you time to wander around the basilica (especially if you pretend like you're praying and being devout), and the other advantage of that is that they turn on the lights during mass, so you can see the light gleaming off the golden mosaics (otherwise they turn the lights on for an hour a day). Finally, you'll be happier if you take an afternoon break to go back to your hotel and have a nap and shower, otherwise you'll just get exhausted by walking and crowds and the heat and jet lag. Rick says that early morning and evening and night are the best times in Venice, so during the day I get as far away from the Rialto and St. Mark's and other tourist areas, and wander the more distant districts and stumble across charming local life and uncrowded streets.

marshallv
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:49 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by marshallv » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:31 pm

Hello all
We are on our last night in Venice and headed to Florence tomorrow. So far, frankly, it’s been pretty rough. Jet lag is real! We are over that though thank goodness.

I knew traveling with heavily Americanized (if there is such a term) teenagers was going to present challenges. That said, going to a place where the menus are somewhat hard to read (making for frustrating experiences), breakfasts that were included in the tour consists of lunchmeat and croissants, ice is a precious commodity & refills don’t exist, and the biggest thing to do is “wander” is a special kinda challenge....at least for my kids.

Last big trip we went on was New York. Non stop action, shows, etc and we all had an awesome time.

So far in Venice, we’ve been to Guggenheim, toured st marks church, viewed art at the accademia with a semi private guide, been to both murano and burano , had a nice long walking tour with lots of good info, and plenty of free time. Dw and I would love this kind of thing all day long but the kids are miserable and bored, which makes it miserable for everyone.

I suppose this is an “internal problem” but I’d love to hear from others that might have spent a few days in Venice with teens to hear how that went.

And let me hit again on breakfast, what’s up with that in Italy? Haha. Can’t find anything but pastries so far (yuk) and coffee in anything bigger than a 4 oz cup seems to be a unicorn! Ok I’m sorta just kidding about this being a “problem” but it has taken a little getting used to.

At the end of the day, it’s a cool place but it seems to have taken our entire time in Venice just to get acclimated and now it’s time to move on. Hopefully what we’ve learned here will make our time in Florence and Rome a bit easier.

As far as the rick steves aspect, our tour guide, Sarah , has been great. She’s been very patient, energetic, and genuinely seems like she’s having fun. They’ve lined up some really good local tour guides for the specialized tours. All in all seems topnotch .....with one ding so far. In each city, we have one group meal covered by the tour. Our dinner in Venice was a nice place but it was a fixe menu and the main course was a pile of fried calamari and WHOLE shrimp in shell w heads still on. I’m a seafood guy so I liked it but kids and Dw just stared. Several others in the group griped too about it. Just seemed like a real weird choice for a group of 25 without having a “chicken or beef” option.

Anyway, thanks again for all the input. I’ll let y’all know how the rest of the tour goes.

neilpilot
Posts: 1740
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by neilpilot » Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:36 pm

For a more familiar coffee, ask for an “Americano”

User avatar
WestUniversity
Posts: 127
Joined: Sat Oct 07, 2017 7:27 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by WestUniversity » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:10 pm

St Marks (especially the square in the evening), The Danieli, The Rialto Bridge, Dine on the Grand Canal, Take a gondola ride (agree on price before setting foot in the boat)...

Have a great trip!

SteveJ2
Posts: 30
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2015 5:58 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by SteveJ2 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 5:28 pm

It probably goes without saying, but try the local seafood. Many foreigners come looking for pizza, pasta, etc. which you can definitely find, but what makes Venice unique is the frutti di mare. Also, you may want to make a big list of restaurants to eat at in general, as the ones in Piazza San Marco are overpriced and bad, but it's easy to be tired after a whole day of touring and just not have the energy to find somewhere else that is great but slightly off the beaten path. Having a list of places to eat beforehand can help.

eddot98
Posts: 182
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:47 am
Location: The Berkshires

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by eddot98 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:55 pm

marshallv wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:31 pm

And let me hit again on breakfast, what’s up with that in Italy? Haha. Can’t find anything but pastries so far (yuk) and coffee in anything bigger than a 4 oz cup seems to be a unicorn! Ok I’m sorta just kidding about this being a “problem” but it has taken a little getting used to.

At the end of the day, it’s a cool place but it seems to have taken our entire time in Venice just to get acclimated and now it’s time to move on. Hopefully what we’ve learned here will make our time in Florence and Rome a bit easier.
IMHO, you are not staying in the right places if you are unhappy with the breakfasts in Italy. If you ever watched Rick Steves’s show, you know that he doesn’t stay in 5 star properties and that food is not his top priority. He splurges on an expensive dinner once a week or so. I love watching his shows and read his books for the sights, but would never stay in any of the hotels that he does. Our breakfasts in Venice at the Boscolo hotel consisted of a huge buffet with everything from fresh fruit to pastries to granola, etc. and if that wasn’t enough they would prepare anything that you might desire. Plus we had 2 or 3 cappuccinos every morning. We had the same breakfast experiences in Torino, Lake Como, Capri, Rome, Florence, etc. It all depends on what you want to spend your travel funds on. Rick Steves wants to spend his on sights and the experiences. We consider meals experiences also.

Italy is wonderful, but it is different than the USA, way different. And Venice takes that difference to the nth power. It is a unique city. I actually hated it the first time I went there 20 years ago. We had a lousy Best Western hotel in a congested area and in the areas that we visited, it just seemed like shop after shop of the same stuff. Last year we had a better hotel in a quieter area and the luxury of 6 nights to explore at our own pace.

Hopefully, Florence and Rome will be more to your liking, or at least tolerable for your teens.

curmudgeon
Posts: 1558
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Jun 18, 2018 12:07 am

marshallv wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:31 pm
I knew traveling with heavily Americanized (if there is such a term) teenagers was going to present challenges. That said, going to a place where the menus are somewhat hard to read (making for frustrating experiences), breakfasts that were included in the tour consists of lunchmeat and croissants, ice is a precious commodity & refills don’t exist, and the biggest thing to do is “wander” is a special kinda challenge....at least for my kids.

I suppose this is an “internal problem” but I’d love to hear from others that might have spent a few days in Venice with teens to hear how that went.
Different kids travel differently, but hitting some of these challenges is what will make for memories. When we first took our kids to Europe, we had rental cars much of the time, and we did a variety of stuff outside the museum and tour mode. The kids were involved in some of the planning and choice of stops, and we had a fair bit of flexibility to stay longer or move on depending on how things were going. You've got less flexibility, but also less organizing to do. Venice can be a bit of an abrupt starting point; it's not a teen-oriented city. The standard Florence circuit may not be a lot better. Going forward, you definitely want to try to limit the museum overload.

Let the kids go to McD's on occasion for a break, and make a habit of trying out various gelato shops. Look for some more active things to do, though the language can be a challenge in some cases. Maybe a cooking class, or a mask-making workshop. Maybe hang out someplace where the locals are watching the world cup. You will never see *all* of the old art and buildings in Italy, so don't feel like you *have* to see everything you have heard of.

renue74
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by renue74 » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:15 am

We did the RS Venice, Florence, Rome trip a few years ago. The itinerary doesn't get any more teenager friendly in Florence and Rome.

Plenty of churches and museums.

In our group, there were 2 younger teens, but the rest were forty or over.

In Florence, we took a cooking lesson as part of the RS group. I know the kids enjoyed that. So if, you don't do that as part of the group, you may want to schedule something like that in your free time. It's pretty reasonable and only took 2-3 hours.

Find a pool. I have 2 teen boys and we've always centered family vacations around water. If your hotels don't have pools, maybe look for a community option where you can purchase a day pass. It would be interesting to see how a community pool operates in Italy.

Visit local grocery stores and buy candy or other stuff your teens might like. I always visit local stores and stock up on unique candy options or "picnic" type items to use as snacks. It's always interesting to see how other cultures shop. I remember visiting a grocery store in Rome where they had a whole room devoted to pasta...all kinds of shapes of pasta. :)

Embrace the culture. Cornettos and small coffees are the norm. I actually started really enjoying the small latte's and fast bar service of Italian coffee bars towards the end of our trip.

Valuethinker
Posts: 35355
Joined: Fri May 11, 2007 11:07 am

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Jun 18, 2018 3:23 am

marshallv wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:31 pm
Hello all
We are on our last night in Venice and headed to Florence tomorrow. So far, frankly, it’s been pretty rough. Jet lag is real! We are over that though thank goodness.

I knew traveling with heavily Americanized (if there is such a term) teenagers was going to present challenges. That said, going to a place where the menus are somewhat hard to read (making for frustrating experiences), breakfasts that were included in the tour consists of lunchmeat and croissants, ice is a precious commodity & refills don’t exist, and the biggest thing to do is “wander” is a special kinda challenge....at least for my kids.
The North American thing about ice is just that, something specific to North Americans (and Americanized offshoots like Canada, Australia). Refrigeration was just not as available, ice is an easy way to get contaminated water into your drink (avoid ice in 3rd world countries), and it dilutes the taste. Most of the world does not quite share the American taste for sugared water. (Bottled water, on the other hand, is an environmental evil affectation (in developed countries) that Americans have imported from Europe-- who drank bottled water in America 40 years ago?).
And let me hit again on breakfast, what’s up with that in Italy? Haha. Can’t find anything but pastries so far (yuk) and coffee in anything bigger than a 4 oz cup seems to be a unicorn! Ok I’m sorta just kidding about this being a “problem” but it has taken a little getting used to.
You do realize that breakfast cereal is a commercial invention? The makers paid Madison Avenue to invent a story that this stuff is good for us-- actually you can eat your day's ration of sugar in a bowl of cereal.

The origins of breakfast are, presumably, in farming -- getting up at 4 AM to milk the cows or start the harvest, and refueling at 9 am. My blood sugar hates me if I don't have breakfast-- but it's not really a human necessity.
At the end of the day, it’s a cool place but it seems to have taken our entire time in Venice just to get acclimated and now it’s time to move on. Hopefully what we’ve learned here will make our time in Florence and Rome a bit easier.

As far as the rick steves aspect, our tour guide, Sarah , has been great. She’s been very patient, energetic, and genuinely seems like she’s having fun. They’ve lined up some really good local tour guides for the specialized tours. All in all seems topnotch .....with one ding so far. In each city, we have one group meal covered by the tour. Our dinner in Venice was a nice place but it was a fixe menu and the main course was a pile of fried calamari and WHOLE shrimp in shell w heads still on. I’m a seafood guy so I liked it but kids and Dw just stared. Several others in the group griped too about it. Just seemed like a real weird choice for a group of 25 without having a “chicken or beef” option.

Anyway, thanks again for all the input. I’ll let y’all know how the rest of the tour goes.
Perhaps your kids need to visit a slaughterhouse? ;-). A quick (re)read of "Fast Food Nation" (Eric Schlosser) is in order? (Sinclair Lewis wrote "the Jungle" and that's probably also worth a read).

We eat meat, but we don't like to be reminded these were once living animals. Other cultures are less divorced from the sources of their cuisine.

Surprised if the restaurant did not have pasta? It's perfectly possible to eat in Italy avoiding seafood (shellfish should generally be avoided anyways-- at home as well as abroad).

The thing to shake yourself of is the idea that one needs animal protein at every meal.

The steak I had in Florence was to die for. It might only be 4 oz, but some of the best I have ever tasted.

marshallv
Posts: 63
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:49 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by marshallv » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:14 am

Valuethinker

I understand what you are saying about ice. I was just making an observation/mild gripe.

As far as breakfast, I hate cereal and the like for the same reasons I don’t like pastries. Some fresh berries, a couple scrambled eggs and maybe a yogurt would be nice though. It sounds like this might just be a function of where we were staying though. Again it was lunch meat and croissants.

You mention pasta at that restaurant...yes I’m sure they did have pastas of all sort but this was a fix menu as I’d mentioned so the pasta course was seafood followed up by the fried shrimp heads!

Yes, I’m very aware my kids are a bit oblivious, unadventurous and looking for the comforts of home. I thought I made that clear. I wasn’t really blaming RD or Italy there. Just noting my experience so far.

We’ve got a planned steak dinner tonight at what looks like a nice place and a cooking class tomorrow after an early morning walking tour so that should all be great.

With just a bit of hindsight, I think our Venice time was spent simply acclimating to some of the new norms as opposed to really getting into the city. Maybe that’s to be expected for first timers.

As always, love all the feedback.

Marshall

paramedic
Posts: 48
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 7:26 pm

Re: “Day to kill” in Venice Italy

Post by paramedic » Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:32 pm

I would like to make a food recommendation: Stop by Cocaeta for crepes.

Their address information is on TripAdvisor (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_ ... eneto.html). I seem to recall it being just slightly out of the way but still very easy to walk to.

They have the best crepes that I have ever had in my life. It's essentially a one-man operation, and you have to wait as he cooks every order fresh, but it tastes awesome.

Post Reply