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Short stay in Venice

My wife and I will end our trip to Italy with a short two night stay in Venice(train in one afternoon,one full day, train out the next afternoon). We are staying a very short walk from San Marco. Can anyone suggest a short list of must see and must do, with the limited time we have? Thanks Jeff

Posted by
531 posts

I would suggest that the day you arrive you drop your bags and then head to the Rialto Bridge. It is a good excuse to wander the streets and see Venice. You can window shop along the way. That night, do a little pub crawl.

The next day start fresh with St. Marks church and a tour of the Doge Palace. Then there are two smaller sights that I highly recommend, the Friar Church and also there is a site I don't recall the name of but it was the "Red Cross' of its day. It has 20+ HUGE religious paintings that are stunning.

Then on day 3, if you haven't done a Gondola ride - you might consider doing one. It's not that it's all that wonderful - but it is the epitome of a Venice attraction.

Posted by
536 posts

Hi Jeff - The Rialto Bridge markets are a definite must see. Also, in Piazza San Marco at night are the "Battle of The Bands" as the cafe Florian and Cafe Levina bands compete for your attention - fun to stand and watch them - don't sit down - very pricy!!
A walk down The Grand Canal is also a must do - many vendors selling souvenirs in pushcarts, great cafes, tremendous views.
Your Hotel will also have FREE tickets to go by water taxi or Vaporetto to The Island of Murano so you can actully sit and watch unbelievable glass-blowing that has been handed down from generation to generation. You can also go up to the showrooms and see finished products as expensive as $200,000 per item - Something to see! The ticket will then allow you to go to the next Island of Burano, famous for lace and embroidery - very pictureque islands with lots of cafes. The whole trip takes about 3 hours.
Have a Great time in Venezia!!!
Ciao, Greg

Posted by
1003 posts

As much as I enjoy visiting Murano and especially Burano, with your limited time I would just stay in Venice. Is this your first visit to Venice? There is so much to see in Venice and visiting the islands does take more time. Look in Rick's Venice book and he has some itineraries for one day, two days, etc. Enjoy Venice!

Posted by
15686 posts

Get to the Doge's Palace (I enjoyed the audio guide) when they open, then go next door to the Basilica, getting there as soon after 11.30 am as you can, to see the mosaics while they are floodlit (until 12.30 pm), then see the rest of the church and the museum.

Ride the vaporetto (get seats in the very front) the length of the Grand Canal, once in daylight and once after dark.

Someone mentioned the Friar's Church - I guess he meant the Frari Church, which is also worth a couple of hours.

Rick has free downloadable audio guides for San Marco Basilica, the Piazza, the Frari Church and the Grand Canal. I thought they were great.

If you are up to it, go to the Piazza San Marco before dawn, to watch the sunrise over the lagoon. It is so peaceful then, a completely different experience.

I completely agree that you should skip going to any of the islands. If you really want to see glass-blowing, there are places in Venice.

And wander around a little, just get lost in the back ways (especially around the Frari Church - less tourism) for a couple of hours.

Posted by
7737 posts

Stay on the main island and wander around, using the RS recommendations for the short trip. Do NOT go to any of the nearby islands (Murano, Burano, etc.) on this trip. They'll eat up too much of your day and there's better stuff to see and do in Venice proper.

You're going to have a wonderful time!

Posted by
15686 posts

I like being able to go back to my hotel room during the day, sometimes just for a bit of a rest, sometimes to change clothes before dinner. In Venice I was up before dawn to watch sunrise over the lagoon, then back to my hotel for breakfast.

Posted by
2 posts

Jeff--I was wondering if you would share your hotel choice for that two night stay? I have spent HOURS on this--we will be there in about 4 weeks or less and though we want "nice" we don't want $400 nice!
Does anyone have any pro's-con's about staying in Mestre for only two nights.
Kathy in Chicago, Illinois

Posted by
7737 posts

You know, we really need to start an FAQ on "Should I save money by staying in Mestre instead of Venice proper?"

The answer from 90% of the people who post here is "DON'T DO IT!". :-)

Posted by
209 posts

Michael, I find that very odd. The "Rick philosophy" is all about educating yourself and saving money, to make Europe affordable. Here we have an example of a very simple, straight-forward money saving tip where people look at you goofy when you suggest it.

"It adds an extra leg to my trip" - a 10 minute train ride. really?

"Venice is magic at night" - those trains run rather late. you can get all of the magic you want.

For the amount of money saved, and for the interesting contrast to see between the island and the mainland, I don't understand why so many people are opposed!

Posted by
10344 posts

Interesting discussion between Michael and Tamara: sleeping in Venice versus sleeping in Mestre or other mainland/non-Venice locations. They both make good points.

IMO Tamara's points are well argued and deserve to be considered by those looking to save some money, as Venice hotel rates are among the highest in Europe.

But Michael's 90% is probably accurate, regarding readers who report in here overwhelmingly refer to sleep in Venice, including Rick Steves himself. Tamara mentions the Rick philosophy and makes good points about that philosophy, but it's a fact that for Venice, Rick himself recommends that his readers stay in Venice and not on the mainland.

From his Venice 2008: "For hassle free efficiency and the sheer magic of being close to the action, I favor hotels that are handy to sightseeing activities."

Michael suggests a FAQ on this, but we can't because it won't meet the conditions for a FAQ: answerable in a sentence and, if a yes or no question, that there's a definite consensus on the board about which answer is correct.

Posted by
944 posts

You can't put a price tag on breathing in the sea air, or stepping out of your hotel on the island at 7 or 8 am and seeing all the supply ferrymen at work. Or just wandering till very late and not worried about a train or bus back to your mainland hotel. For future visitors of Venice arriving by train or car, take a look at;

I almost DON'T want you to know about it...

This is also cool to see.