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Thinking about Venice in 2021

I'm still toying with various ideas for our 2021 trip. If possible, we hope to recreate the trip we had planned for 2020: Rick's Best of South Italy bracketed by 3 or 4 days in Rome on the front end, and about a week to 10 days in Siena and Bologna post tour.

However, we're also making plans for what we would want to do if Rick's tours aren't available. September and October will be the best time for us to travel next year. We should have three weeks, possibly four. I'm thinking about keeping the same basic plan, minus the South Italy tour, but adding on a couple of days in Lucca, perhaps seeing Parma, and now I'm intrigued with the idea of adding Venice.

We've been to Venice twice, both times on RS tours, and had decided that some day we would go back on our own and stay at least three days, maybe four.

What I'm looking for here is, what are your favorite Venice sights and activities? When we were there about 10 years ago, the highlight of our stay was our free time, during which we bought Chorus Passes, and wandered the city, visiting some of the lesser known (to us) churches with amazing works of art. On our more recent visit, we took both of Alessandro's tours: the Hidden Venice and the cicchetti tour. And we enjoyed those very much, as well.

So what do you like to do in Venice? Favorite museums, historical sights? Favorite neighborhoods in which to walk? If you had three or four days in Venice, what would you do?

Thanks for your thoughts. This is all still very ephemeral, but I'm cobbling together possible itineraries, and am open to all ideas. And of course, I'm also perusing the Venice section in Rick's Italy book.

Posted by
3342 posts

I had a 3 day Venice trip planned at the end of a long cruise this April...it didn't happen. However, I had planned to stay in Dosodoro near the Zattere vaporetto stop for easy access. If I had more time, I would have stayed the old Ghetto area or close to the F de Nove vaporetto stop - as I anticipated trips to the islands. Either of these districts give you a different perspective of the city but with easy access to churches and museums.
When deciding where to put Venice in your plan, I understand many flights to USA from Venice leave very early making it a logistical stress to get there in a timely manner. For Canadians, flights were nearer noon, so one could make the boat to the airport with ample time, or not be searching for the bus in the dark. Though most tend to not want to backtrack, you may want to review Milan or even Bologna for flight options as well as Venice. Do some dummy bookings to see what works best for timing...and price?
If you like boats, there is a trip from Venice to Padua via the Brenta Canal. This allows you to pass several Palladian villas from the water - as they were designed to be seen. It stops at 2 or 3 so it is a full day trip one way. Alternate days go Padua to Venice http://www.battellidelbrenta.it/home.php?setlan=en

Posted by
604 posts

Probably I've taken the vaporetto up and down the Grand Canal 20 times and never tire of it. Pretend you are house-hunting for a palazzo and pick out "yours." Get a vaporetto pass.

Loved staying in an apartment on the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi in Castello.

Scuola Dalmata di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni has maybe the best Carpaccio including St. George & the dragon. Take binoculars because the huge paintings are high on the walls in a small room. On Calle dei Furlani in Castello.

Church of San Francesco della Vigna in Castello.

Take a topa (little Venetian motor boat) tour: http://www.vivivenezia.org Almost two hours on the back canals. My husband also enjoyed taking several rowing lessons.

San Giacomo dell’Orio --- its wooden ceiling is built with shipbuilder techniques, nice campo, northern San Polo.

Skip the view from the Campanile and instead go to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. Take the elevator to the top of the bell tower for terrific views of Venice and the lagoon.

The tops of the columns of the Doges palace.

Read or reread Jan Morris's "Venice" before you go.

Posted by
4287 posts

Thanks, everyone. This is just what I wanted! Nancys8, You've already suggested some places I've never even heard of, and included your reasons for liking them.

MariaF, yes, flying out of Venice could be a problem. We're still in the "maybe maybe" stage; we'd probably think about either flying into Venice, or heading directly from Rome to Venice, then heading back south to visit the other cities.

And I love the idea of the canal boat to Padua! We spent several days in Padua several years ago, and loved it. And seeing the Palladian villas that way sounds great.

Posted by
54 posts

Venice, my favorite city in the world!!! I've been lucky enough to visit numerous times and never run out of things to do. I even have a list started for my next trip!

One trip we stayed on the Lido. It added a different perspective to the experience. It was fun to take the bus around the island, walk along the beach and walk into the water (during Sept.). It was so nice to be away from the crowds and tourists and see how local people live. Taking the vaporetto at night back to the Lido was beautiful, as was approaching Venice daily from a different perspective.

I loved visiting Torcello and Burano. The Jewish Ghetto is a nice place. Get away from the tourist spots and just wander. The further out you go, the more real life you see. There are a few very nice parks on Venice.

One of my favorite memories was standing inside a piazza, staring at my map, looking for any sign of where I was. As I looked around, I saw many other tourists doing the exact same thing. Then I noticed a young Italian girl ( 5 -6 years perhaps) eating her gelato and looking at all the tourists, standing there, lost, looking at their maps. What a different outlook she had. Still makes me smile today.

One trip, after much research, I went to locate different filming locations from "Summertime" (1955 Katherine Hepburn). Not much has really changed since the film, except the crowds.

Lucca is also worth a visit. Ride bikes on the ramparts, attend a Puccini concert, climb Torre Guinigi for great views. Food was delicious and streets were vary walkable.

Vincenza is a short train ride from Venice, full of Palladio buildings.

Posted by
6058 posts

We also took the Brenta Canal trip with the Palladian focus and did a day trip to Bassano del Grappa by train which has the Palladian Bridge and an Alpine feel to it. Lots of WWI history there too. We returned another year just to the Veneto and stayed in Vicenza and Bassano del Grappa.
We spent two weeks in Venice our last time there;we have been to Venice three times in all. Our last time we stayed two weeks and never ran out of things to do and see. We were staying in the northern part of Cannaregio and walked everywhere. The Chorus Pass you mentioned is a wonderful way to see different areas of the city. We often walked in the Jewish Ghetto which was nearby. We also like the Dorsoduro neighborhood with the wide Zattere to walk along and a wonderful gelato stand, Gelateria Nico.
Have you gone out to the Lido by vaporetto? We had a wonderful meal out there.
I assume you have already been to Murano, Burano and Torcello? Torcello is the historic heart of Venice and very worthwhile to visit. It is very close to Burano and has a beautiful Bascilica.
And have you read Donna Leon’s mysteries set in Venice? They feature Commisario Brunetti, a detective, and give you a good feel for Venice. There is even a Brunetti Cookbook with recipes for the dishes Brunetti’s wife Paola prepares for him and their children.
I assume you have already been to the Guggenheim Museum? If not, I recommend a visit there. And the Naval History Museum? Very interesting.
And The Church of Madonna della’Orta where Tintoretto is buried? His masterpieces fill the church too.
But the best thing to do is just walk around and get lost, find a little place to eat lunch. Explore.

Posted by
99 posts

Ohhhhh, how I love Venice. My husband doesn't share my EXACT affinity for the city but that hasn't stopped every one of my trips to Italy ending there. Not so far at least.

My favorite museum is likely the Peggy Guggenheim, although there's usually something good going on at the academia. We always go on the odd year so the biennale is going on in the fall in the odd year. Have you attended an opera or a Vivaldi concert yet? Thats a wonderful thing to do in Venice. We like to take the vaporetto over to burano and have lunch at our favorite restaurant, hit murano for some shopping on the way back. Also, Venice is really close to Vicenza and Padua. We have even parked our luggage for the day at the Padua train station while we did sight seeing, in order to save a trip backward on the train. I've also done a day trip that combined Marostica, Bassano del Grappa, Assolo and Prosecco.

But to me, the best part of Venice is simply being in Venice. I love it so, so much. I can't get enough of it. I go to Harry's Bar every single time, I do some great shopping, I get lost in the streets, eat at fabulous restaurants, eat fabulous gelato. Venice now has a shopping mall (that's been there for at least 4 years) which is in a really grand palazzo and has an UNBELIEVABLE view of the city and grand canal. I believe its the highest point in Venice. You can reserve timed tickets. I can't remember the name of the mall but I'm sure you can google it. We did not know we had to reserve ahead but we were doing some shopping so they VIP'd us right on up there. But there was quite a line and they even controlled the amount of people allowed up at a time before Covid so its extremely enjoyable. I love Venice at night the best. When the throngs of people have gone away and I feel like I have the city to myself.

Alternatively, we only day tripped to Lucca and although it was lovely, I saw no need to spend more time there. I'd put an extra day into staying in Verona, but that's my taste and might not be yours. Hope this all helps!

Posted by
1307 posts

The Homo Faber exhibit, a festival of international crafts, was cancelled this year due to the pandemic, but has been rescheduled for 2021, sometime in September, I think. You might want to look into it. It will take place on San Giorgio Maggiore, mentioned above re: it’s bell tower.

Posted by
2320 posts

Excellent suggestions up thread! We visited Venice in 2018. Spent a week wandering the neighborhoods (off the beaten path). Our favorite Venice highlights were: San Giorgio Maggiore, Burano, Torcello and Lido (during the film festival). Jewish Ghetto- tour of the Museum/Synagogue. Lunch at Gam Gam next to the canal (Cannaregio) Libreria Acqua Alta Bookstore. Vivaldi Concert (Interpeti Veneziani) @Chiesa San Vidal Church. Peggy Guggenheim Museum. Best view of the Grand Canal- Bar Foscarini, Dosoduro. The list goes on....

Posted by
4287 posts

Thank you, thank you all. The only times we were there, we were on the RS 21 Day Best of Europe tour, and there wasn't a lot of free time - one afternoon, as I recall. So although we've seen St Mark's and a few of the other biggies, there are a fair number of well-known attractions that we haven't seen.

That's the main reason I posted this thread. And you've all given me some wonderful ideas. And I'm going to look up Jan Morris's book. I have heard of Donna Leon, and I'll bet this winter will be a great time to read some of them.

Thanks again. I love this Forum.

Posted by
1751 posts

I don’t know if you have already been there, but go up to the museum in St. Marks. It is so interesting, it was for years the workshop for the Church. Also, you can go outside and have an amazing view of the Square.

Posted by
846 posts

I think it helps to have an agenda, a bit of a thread, to guide you around Venice. Otherwise it can become yet another bridge, yet another palazzo, yet another vaporetto ride.
One trip I was determined to see every Tiepolo painting in Venice, Tiepolo father, son and grandson. So that drew us all over Venice, San Polo, the Armenian monastery island, Academia and a bunch of churches.
Another trip was the Architecture Biennale, and I was hooked on the architecture of Carlo Scarpa, best known modern Venetian architect. So that was the Querini Stampalia Foundation in Venice, the Foscari University, the Brion Tomb in Alti Vole, the Palazzo Vechio in Verona and the Gypsoteca in Possagno, housing a bunch of Canova plaster casts.

The Tre Oci photo gallery on Giudecca is always on the list, the Homo Faber exhibitions if they coincide. For me, Homo Faber in 2018 was special, visited twice.
The Lazaretto Nuove is interesting and takes you out on the lagoon. Picnics on Certosa are good mid-week if the crowds are getting to you, picnics at the back of the church on Castello are relaxing, looking over the canal. If you go to Torcello, do climb the campanile. It is even more beautiful on the inside, amazing arched brickwork.
And a series of novels (disclaimer, written by Philip Gwyn Jones who is a good friend) give you an introduction to contemporary Venice. The Venetian Game, Vengeance in Venice, The Venetian Masquerade and Venetian Gothic, book five is on its way. And if you go to the Anglican Church on Sunday, you’ll run into Phil who assists in the service. Tell him that Pete and Lou send their regards.

Oh, and yes, do read Venice by James/Jan Morris. Still the best book about Venice.

Posted by
774 posts

I like the book "Venice for Pleasure," by J.G. Links. He offers five or so walking itineraries in various parts of the city, which includes paintings by Canaletto, which are very similar to the views today from the same locations.

I love the jewelbox chapel of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, and like the crypts in San Zaccaria.

Posted by
3342 posts

When I posted, I may have assumed you know about the biennale held there. It alternates between the arts and architecture. For some, it is the prime reason to make the trip.
The Accademia renovations should be completed by the time you arrive.

Posted by
604 posts

It's worth reading the Donna Leon books in order, or at least reading one of the early books first rather than one of her later books or any random book from the two dozen in the series. I read and reread them all because Venice, but the early books will give you a better idea of what her Venice books are like and will set the stage better for the characters.

Posted by
134 posts

Love the Guggenheim, the modern art is a welcome change from all the Renaissance art. The garden has some interesting sculptures and I remember a very pleasant lunch there. Check out the gondola workshop with its wooden alpine styled buildings. Indulge yourself at least once to lunch at one of the cafes on Piazza San Marco...just to sit and watch the world go by while listening to an orchestra and sipping a spritz and enjoying a panini provides a welcome break. Expensive? Yes, but still one of my favourite memories from a number of visits to Venice.

Posted by
3374 posts

A day trip (by vaporetta) to Murano and Burano is well worth it. Plan on an early start and a late return. The Jewish Ghetto is a very historical place and well worth a visit. A short vaporetta ride will get you to San Giorgio Maggiore where you can take an elevator to the top of the bell tower. The view looking back on Venice from there tower is fantastic. Almost forgot. Splurge and have a sit down drink at one of the cafes at St. Marks Square that has a band. A tad expensive, but well worth it. Who knows, you might even dance a bit. Enjoy!

Posted by
5370 posts

I liked visiting Torcello on our visit. It has a very different feel - isolated open spaces.

Posted by
1211 posts

Take the bus and ferry out to the town of Chioggia. It’s a working fishing town out in the far reaches, beyond Pellestrina.
It has some canals.
Vaporetto to Lido, then a bus, then the bus goes on a little ferry , then a bit more on the bus.
Not much to see, but a great journey for a couple of hours out where no tourists ever go.
You get a good overview of the lagoon and all the fishing platforms.
Have lunch, reverse the journey.
There is also a tiny island along from Giudecca with a women’s prison.
It might be on Giudecca, I can’t recall.
They sometimes have a fresh produce market, all grown by the women.
I’ve also taken the Brenda Canal Tour of the villas, it was great.
However, it rained all day on our day, so would be a whole lot nicer in the sun.
It was cold on the boat, and nowhere undercover outside on the boat to view the villas as we passed.

Posted by
341 posts

I don't know if you will be staying in an apartment or a hotel, but one of the fun things we did when we were in Venice last year was to have a local chef come to our apartment and cook dinner. We went with her to the Rialto market in the morning to pick out what we wanted (pretty much everything, yum), and then she came back later in the afternoon to prepare the feast. It was amazing. I do not have her contact info, since we set it up through the apartment owner, but you could inquire if this is an option. It didn't cost any more than a decent dinner at a restaurant, and it was so fun to go through the market and then watch her work her magic in the tiny little kitchen.

And another recommendation for Donna Leon -- her books are amazing. I started reading them a couple of years ago and couldn't put them down; I've since re-read most of them.

I have ordered Jan Morris' book -- can't wait for another good read!

We loved, loved, loved Venice; you will have a wonderful time.

Posted by
4287 posts

I'm loving these answers. I think I said the Venice part of the trip was just in case the Rick Steves tours don't go. Now I find myself almost hoping... No, no. Not really. But just a little bit...

Neither library to which I belong has the early Donna Leon books, so I'll hit a used bookstore later this week. Ditto for the Jan Morris. If all else fails, I'll try ebay for the Morris book.

Thanks again, everyone.

Posted by
846 posts

There are a bunch of editions for Morris, the first in mcmlx, 1960. A couple of revisions since, but it makes little difference which edition you buy; Venice does not change much.
Jan Morris was James Morris when he wrote Venice, before her gender reassignment many years ago. So if you are searching for Venice, you might find either Jan or James Morris books.

I’ve read just about everything Morris has written. Her “tone” became more feminine when she had gender reassignment. For mine, one of the best writers in English.

Posted by
5370 posts

I liked the early Donna Leon books too. I believe she also has a book My Venice and Other Essays that's non-fiction. Someone else wrote a companion book Brunetti's Venice, that describes walks you can take to see where the fictional events transpired. I like the more recent Venice mystery novels by Philip Gwynne Jones - a bit more complex (and with more humor) than Ms Leon. Another non-fiction book that lightheartedly covers a lot of Venetian history, art, architecture, customs and oddities, is No Vulgar Hotel by Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners the syndicated columnist.

Posted by
4287 posts

Aussie, thanks for clearing up the Jan/James confusion.

stan, our library does have Leon's essays, and I have put in a request for it. No joy for Phillip Gwyn(ne) Jones either, but they do have the Judith Martin. And a memoir or book of essays by Jan Morris, "A Tangled Life" is also on its way.

Again, thanks to all. This has been great, and I know other folks will find this thread useful, as well.

Posted by
3374 posts

Speaking of books to possibly read before the visit, consider these. First there is "The City of Falling Angels" by John Berendt who wrote "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil". It is based on the fire at the opera house which thankfully has since been rebuilt. The second is "A Thousand Days In Venice" by Marlena de Blasi and it is based on her experiences living and marrying there.

Posted by
3387 posts

What lanlubber said.

I did the Guggenheim and the boatyard Squero di San Trovaso the same day. Wandering around the streets nearby, I happened onto a workshop that made gondola oarlocks. I think it was this one.

Another day I did a free, small group, English language tour of St. Mark's guided by a woman associated with the church. I don't think they do those anymore, but it concentrated on the religious aspects of the art and architecture. It was in the morning and we were able to sit in the middle for much of the tour as she described, explained and answered our questions. I don't know if the special nature of our tour allowed us to sit, but it looked like other tours and individuals milled around and took pictures which they were not supposed to do. ☹

After the tour, I splurged on lunch at the expensive Caffè Florian which was in the shade at the time. It's amazing how much time I can spend over a small meal with a great view and good music -- just about till the sun comes over the building and on top of my head.

That was the Venice visit before the start of our Village Italy tour. I spent 5 nights in the Cannaregio area at the Casa Fondemente Nuove, right on the water with a view of Cimitero di San Michele island, very near vaporetto stop F.te nove "A" and a bit farther from F.te nove "B."

When I posted a picture of the view from my front windows on FB, a friend responded that she'd never leave the place, that she'd just look out the window.

I walked to the Coop Giorgione for my groceries through the Campo dei Gesuiti, right past the lovely Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta Detta I Gesuiti and a Carabinieri station.

I loved walking through that area because it was usually empty except for kids playing and nonnas watching them while sitting in the shade and chatting nearby. The emptiness reminded me of the work of Giorgio de Chirico, one of my favorite painters.

Wandering was probably my favorite thing that visit. It was an easy walk from my apartment to the vaporetto stops on the Grand Canal and I put my vaporetto pass to good use.

I was there for the art biennale, but never really went. The weather was miserable on the day I'd set aside for it. That day was my last before going on to Padua for the tour. I did laundry in the apartment, watched the storm and a regatta with all kinds of boats go by as the weather cleared.

At my slow pace, I think I could spend a lot more time in Venice, seeing and doing things and, as others have mentioned, just being there.

Posted by
4287 posts

Lo, I love reading about your travels. And yes, I remember our Village Italy tour fondly. We spent all the up front time in Padua, and loved it.

And to both you and lanlubber: St Mark's Square is one of Stan's favorite places. Me, not so much, but he gets a lot of pleasure out of just sitting and soaking it up. On our last trip there, 2018 it was, after taking Alessandro's cicchetti tour we headed for St Mark's to recuperate (read: sober up) before heading back to the hotel. I will say, sitting at one of the cafés, drinking coffee and listening to the orchestras was magical.

Posted by
1578 posts

hey hey jane
like some others here have mentioned, stay longer. few years back, end of sept, we did a greek island cruise RT venice. stayed a week before cruise. an italian customer at store i worked told me about the festa dell uva on lake garda in bardolino, booked a room at hotel nettuno on the lake (sunday to monday) to attend. rented a car at piazzale roma and off we went. it was fabulous, eat drink and be merry with the booths of food, music & dancing, home made items, lots of bardolino wine, meeting people, fireworks over the lake, gorgeous views everyone having a great time.
i'm going give you and anyone else reading other ideas and options about venice.
cocaeta: a creperia at 30121 fondementa san giobbe 549 (cocaeta.com)
walked the back canals of canareggio, stopped at a "garage sale" with 3 italian women selling all kinds of stuff, we bought a few things and they were so happy (we talked with our hands!"), down fondementa della misericordia, stopped at restaurant diana along the canal outside table, my friend's name was diane, and were treated like princesses. walked around to near the rialto, stopped at some restaurant with big huge wine glasses and just enjoyed it with lots of laughs.
we did a meet and greet at bacarojazzclub.com with about 12 cruisers from cruise critic. the walls of the bar has bras hanging all over the place, of course we brought one from here, decorated with sparkles and left it there.
streaty.com food, wine and market tour in venice
isoladiburano.it loved burano, took a vaporetto to mazzorbo, got off and had appetizers and wine at trattoria alla maddalena outside table, right at stop, walked the small island and crossed bridge to burano. read about curious places, patels color houses, eat the burano bussola cookies at carmelina's or garbo's bakery. have lunch at one of the resturants, al gato nerro is a known for their risotto.
after that took the vaporetto to the lido, walked along santa maria elisabetta the main street. had some wine and sat on a park bench with some elderly italian women and watched kids playing. took vaporetto back to venice during the beautiful sunset.
sightseeingtoursitalt.com/ venice if something floats your boat
tripsavvy.com/a travelers guide to chioggia a small little fishing village from venice, not many tourists
camacana.com a shop in dorsoduro to make venetian masks
withlocals.com/ treviso treviso charms: history, tiramisu and prosecco. take a train to treviso with a guide and learn about the small village of treviso with a walking tour of downtown.
ilbragazzo.it local venice boats with different itineraries of the lagoon.
gpsmycity.com/giudecca self guided walking tour
indianajo.com we did a private prosecco tour in the hills outside of venice, by train to susegana and met by guide, oriana. so gorgeous with the small villages, vineyards, wineries for tasting so many local proseccos, how they grow lining up the hills of prosecco road (visitproseccoitaly.com)
first trip we stayed at cabadoer-veniceflat.it in san toma area behind frari church. the owners are fabulous, got there early and could store our bags, elevator to our apt (west studio), washer. we loved this apt and the place. could explore all over.
second trip was la levantina 2 bedroom apt behind casino venezia in canareggio area, loved this ground floor, outside terrace for breakfast coffee and happy hour, private entrance, washer, watch the boats come down canal from living room, shops, restaurants, grocery store, train station nearby. maybe too big for you.
third place was hotel carlton capri near grand canal. favorite restaurant was ristorante da nino on grand canal across train station. sat outside table on canal sharing table with winery/olive oil owners from padua with the family. had the best tiramisu and prosecco there. friends went roaming while i babied my knee, had torn meniscus
aloha

Posted by
101 posts

Jane- Having not been to Venice yet I have nothing to share but it is so great to see such a positive thread. I too am hoping and dreaming of a trip to Italy in fall of 2021 with hopes of adding Venice to our itinerary this time either beginning there or ending. We have never made it that far north. This thread and all the replies with positive feedback, advice, and memories have made me really happy today. There is so much negativity about travel right now that seeing such positive responses has given me a lot of joy!

Posted by
24386 posts

Ever since we discovered Venice many years ago we have returned most years. This year needs no explanation for not getting there, and the two years before were complicated by various health problems.

But we go as often as we can, sometimes 2 or 3 times in a year.

Our favourite parts of the town are where, interestingly, relatively fewer tourists, certainly no cruisers, go. Everywhere is walkable, but we also love to use the boats - either vaporettos (mostly) or traghetti (occasionally). We've never done a gondola ride and we've never taken a water taxi. We usually arrive by train (either long distance train from elsewhere in Italy or Europe, or commuter train from one of our fav hotels in Vicenza or Quarto d'Altino on the mainland when we have our own car we drive from England). We only arrive by air infrequently, and we used the Alilaguna boat just once and will never again.

These days we often follow in the footsteps of Commissario Brunetti (mentioned up thread) and have developed affection to some of his fav spots. Especially consider Donolo, around the back of S Pantalon and near the Frari (two of our fav churches, although there are a good dozen or two on that list). Marvelous coffee, superior pastry, absolutely superior. Decent orange juice too.

See if you can get around one or more of the Scuolas, especially the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (also known as Scuola Dalmata dei SS. Giorgio e Trifone, San Giorgio degli Schiavoni or the Dalmatian School) and especially for all the paintings by Vittore Carpaccio of the life of St Jerome, and even more especially his painting of St Jerome and the Lion.

Cicchetti, Cichetti or cicheti?

So much great advice in this thread. I particularly must think like nancys8.

Posted by
1211 posts

You can also make a game, and look for the building on the Grand Canal with the balcony used in the TV series' of Commissario Brunetti.
It's on the same side as San Marco, and is just past the Rialto Bridge going towards the train station.
That's if I remember correctly!
In the series, the family are always eating dinner out on the balcony.

Posted by
4287 posts

Well, all these posts - and the books you have suggested - have certainly pointed us in a different direction. I've been reading up on Venice, and am now heading toward some Venice-centered fiction.

At dinner tonight, we discussed revising our previous provisional itinerary to add a week in Venice.

This is all pretty much hypothetical, of course, and depends on whether on not Rick's tours go next fall, but I'm having fun choosing alternatives.

Thanks, everyone!

Posted by
846 posts

In case you are reading Phil Jones Venetian novels, the fifth in the series is The Venetian Legacy. Coming out in April next.
(Will Nathan Sutherland, Hon. British Consul in Venice, finally get it on with Fernanda?)

Posted by
4287 posts

Aussie, neither of our local library systems has Phil Jones' books. But I'll keep looking. I suppose I could break down and buy one...

I did just begin a Donna Leon, and am enjoying it. The writing is first class.

Posted by
846 posts

Jane, we’re a bit biased with Phil’s novels.
Book Four is dedicated to my wife Lou and I.

Posted by
3561 posts

Hi Jane, lots of fun replies you’ve received bringing back wonderful memories! In case you could be there the first Sunday in September, it’s the Venice Regatta. Beautifully carved and colorful huge boats representing each neighborhood besides all of the gondola races, etc.

We have been to Venice several times - one of our favorites!

Besides everything mentioned, we liked the small group clock tour - nice views & history. Also, I attended the opera at La Fenice - wonderful experience! My husband doesn’t care for it, so I splurged on an excellent box seat, sitting next to an international opera buff and behind us, an Italian man taking his mother out to celebrate her birthday.

Our favorite activity is getting completely lost on purpose, stopping for a beverage or gelato as a reward.

Posted by
3561 posts

And since you mentioned Parma, be sure to see the interior of the Parma Cathedral- my favorite!! And excellent food - yum!

Lucca’s Luminaire festival might be another date to aim for in your itinerary timing.

Posted by
4287 posts

Jean, we're not opera fans, but we do enjoy most classical music.

To all the people that mentioned Donna Leon, I am enchanted. I haven't been able to read fiction in years, but I'm enjoying this series. They are very well written, not too repetitive, and I think "The Girl of His Dreams" is brilliant.

I'm going to hit some used book stores this week looking for earlier Leon, and for Jan Morris and Phil Jones. If all else fails, I'll try ebay.

Thanks again, everyone.

Posted by
43 posts

I suggest reading John Berendt's (author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) City of Fallen Angels. Great read that gives you an understanding of Venetians and what
living there is really like

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1473 posts

Jane, I didn't read all of the other comments so I may be repeating what others have already said but my most memorable times were early morning or after 7pm when the streets were empty and I could just wander. It didn't really matter where.

  • We took a ghost tour and while the ghost stories were a bit of a stretch, our guide did a very good job talking about life at night in Venice in the 16th nd 17th centuries. I remember the guide taking us down a very dark street just to show how hazardous it could be to walk in Venice back before there was much lighting of any kind on the streets.
  • I loved Burano for the colourful homes-catch a Vaporetto at about 8am and beat the crowds.
  • When St Mark's Square gets crowded, head east toward Giardini della Biennale. It's pretty and very quiet.
  • We stumbled across the Palazzo Mocenigo Museum, it was well worth a couple of hours. https://mocenigo.visitmuve.it/en/home/
  • We only stumbled across that museum because we were staying up the street at Hotel Mocenigo which we loved https://www.alpontemocenigo.com/. It's about a 15 minute walk to St Mark's Square so possibly further from the tourist zone then you want, but it's very close to a vaporetto stop.
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4287 posts

geoffleary, thanks for the recommendation. I've heard of that book, but haven't read it yet. I'll check it out.

Allan, I looked at the website for that hotel, and it looks great. 15 minutes away from the tourist zone is no problem; in fact, it's a plus! At first glance it looks a bit pricey, but as I recall, hotels in Venice are higher than other places we've been in Italy. They do have refundable rates, so I may plug in a possible date range and go ahead and book. There's one other place we were thinking about that's in the same area and is featured in Rick's guidebooks; I'll check it out to compare prices. And thanks for the museum tip, as well. You know we love museums of all sorts.

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11 posts

My husband and I also have a trip planned to Venice in October 2021. I so love the wonder of this city!! My one and only time there in 2002. Our first trip cancelled the year before was during 9/11. We were so glad we wondered deep into the city’s old narrow streets. And getting lost..well sort of. Most romantic night of our marriage was the orchestras in the evening light of St Mark’s square!!
I love reading the knowledge and the many details of Venice you all know and suggest. Impressive I must say! I have little to offer!
We hope to also do some Tuscany hill town travel. Sienna as a base.
Bittersweet to think about all this while we all struggle with this pandemic!! Hopeful I am but also trying to be realistic. Vaccines coming soon. Will we be able to go...will we still want to? So sad when I hear about Italy again and Europe and the many countries and nations that are hurting from covid. I am very grateful for my blessings of travel and of what I have been given. Trying to be generous this season to help with the needs of so many!
Not intending to be a Debbie downer!! For me...nothing gives pleasure like dreaming of travel!! Still hopeful to see Venice this coming fall!!!

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4287 posts

all2alb, of course we will still want to. Will we be able to? That's another question. Actually, it's a lot of questions, or at least, a question with a lot of possible answers. There are so many factors that come into play, but of course, there always are. The Covid-19 situation here, and in Europe. Our own health, and the health of family members. Will we have time, money, will something else pop up that will take our time?

I can think of several reasons why my husband and I might not be able to go, but I'm planning based on the assumption that we will go. If our situation changes, then so be it. So no, you're not being a Debbie Downer, but don't let the possibilities of not going keep you from planning, researching, and dreaming.

After all, the planning is half the fun, no?

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34 posts

Commissario Brunetti in Donna Leon's series is THE DUDE! My wife and I read several installments before our last trip to Venice. It's really one of my favorite cities in the world. The area I like best is Canareggio. It's where the Venetians live. We rented a great apartment for one week overlooking a small campo. It was awesome and the bar on the street level was lively and friendly. The best Aperol and soda in Venice. I have 2 favorites in Venice: Palazzo Fortuni and having lunch on the roof of the Danieli. Also, if there's something going on at La Fenice during your stay - - GO!

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34 posts

By the way Jane, I checked with la bella and she told me the name of the bar in Canareggio is "The Milan Bar" and we stayed on the third floor overlooking the little campo. It was dreamlike! It was a modern well decorated apartment. The Fte d' Nove vaparetto stop is only a 3 minute walk away.

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34 posts

One more thing and I will shut up. One day while we were in Venice we went to a cat rescue sanctuary in the village of Malamocco on Lido. It's run by a elderly woman and survives on donations. After that we had a fantastic lunch al terrazzo at the Lido Excelsior Hotel. So the cats get care and are fed and we got fed. Tutto bene!

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4287 posts

Bradley George, please don't shut up.

I'm so glad I posted this thread.

I have heard about the cat sanctuary; my husband loves cats ( I do too) so that sounds like a fun excursion.

And I have been blown away by the Donna Leon books. As I posted upthread, I haven't been able to enjoy fiction for years, especially series fiction, but these books are masterfully written. I've read all but one of the Leon books our local libraries have, so I'll head off to the used bookstores soon to look for the older ones.

And for those who don't like mysteries, no problem! The crime or crimes featured in each book are almost irrelevant to the stories. Leon manages to get into the soul of her characters, and make striking observations about the human condition. Wonderfully done. And of course, the setting is Venice; what could be bad about that?

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11841 posts

I am late to the party!

We have spent a total of nearly 6 weeks in Venice, over 3 trips: our honeymoon in 2003; a month-long stay to celebrate our retirements in October, 2013; and a September visit with family members prior to going to Rome. We had plans to return on our Italy trip last March, but we all know what happened with that.

I highly endorse the recommendation for John Berendt’s book, the City of Falling Angels. I have read it’s 3 times and keep finding more to like.

Of course we have visited most (or all?) of the famous sites, but our favorite thing to do now is just walk and explore. During our month-long stay we aimed for 8-10 miles of walking a day, and rarely used the vaporetto. We did consolidate all our island-hopping into one 24-hour period (noon one day til noon the next) and put a 24-hour vaporetto pass to good use, including a circuit around the outside of the island, with stops at San Giorgio and Giudecca to look around; a short visit to Murano with a “sunset cruise” on the return (timed just right): and a morning visit to the garden island of Sant’Erasmo for hour of walking among the farms. Next time we might rent bikes and take them over for that, as the island is large and flat. (This last is something to be left for a long-stay Venice trip, not one of a few days.). We could not fit in a visit to the isle of San Servolo on that pass, so bought tickets another time. San Servolo is the home of a former insane asylum, now a medical museum we wanted to see, but we did not realize one needs advance reservations so all we could do when we arrived was walk around and enjoy the views. Interesting, but again not something for a short visit.

As for walks, we too are Donna Leon fans (I actually saw her walking with a companion from the train station into the San Marco area. I was going that way myself, so I ducked in behind them, not to be nosy but because they were so good at negotiating the oncoming foot traffic so smoothly. Her companion was a gorgeous young man with long hair in a man bun. Does she have sons?

Anyway, for walking inspiration we used a book called Brunetti’s Venice which has 12 detailed walks through different neighborhoods and past landmarks you will recall from the books, including some of Brunetti’s favorite haunts. Each walk has passages from the book relevant to the places you will walk past. It is lots of fun.

https://www.amazon.com/Brunettis-Venice-Walks-Best-Loved-Detective/dp/0802144373

You should be able to find a decent used copy.

Also take a look at this walk on the Venice Insider website:
https://www.theveniceinsider.com/donna-leon-brunetti-venice/

I will recommend an apartment agency if you are interested. It is Venice Red House, locally owned by Venetians Marco and Caroline Malafante. We rented our month-stay apartment from them, a nice big one with a rooftop terrace in a great location. And we booked a smaller one near the Peggy Guggenheim museum for our stay last March, which we unfortunately we had to cancel. They refunded our deposit fully and immediately, unlike some rental agencies. I respect their business ethics (and like their apartments and their prices) and will definitely rent from them if we are able to return.

I have looked at other agencies (Views on Venice and Truly Venice) and rented from the former for our last visit and it was fine, but more expensive. Also these agencies are foreign-owned (one is British and the other is Swiss). I prefer to stay with the Venetian company from now on.

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4287 posts

Lola, latecomers are welcome!

Thanks for your tips. I think I've seen the Brunetti's walks book; I know our library has a Brunetti cookbook!

I'm keeping track of all the book recommendations, and have already ordered City of Falling Angels from the library. It should be in early next week.

I'm not sure about renting an apartment; chances are we won't be there longer than 4 or 5 days, and I like the looks of the hotel Allan recommended.

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820 posts

So, I don’t even have a trip to Venice in the works for several years (have been twice on too short visits) and yet have just sat and looked at all The Red House apartments. And have read 2 of the Phillip Gwyn Jones books and 3 of the Donna Leon. I need two years in 2022.

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4287 posts

One more comment about the Donna Leon books: I only mention this because I know some folks for whom this would be a deal breaker.

She often inserts words or phrases in Italian (or even the Venetian dialect) without translating them. The untranslated bits don't change the arc of the story, but they can be very annoying. I know at least two people in my own family who would drop the book after the second or third tramezzino.

One of the books I was reading a couple of weeks ago - not a Leon - had me diving for my French, Italian, and even German dictionaries every few pages. And in that particular case, whole conversations were in the non-English language.

Is this off-putting for anyone else?

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24386 posts

I'd find it hard to get my head around the second and especially the third tramezzino. It is a specific word with a very specific meaning, like bratwurst is in German. One of my favourite ones was - believe it or not - from a coin operated machine on the train platform at Milan. It was just perfect (one for me and one for my wife) and to be able to eat it while sitting on the train made that much better.

2 or 3 = too much.

It is true that she uses local words for things, and because of frequent visits I understand them.

Would you rather say, triangular white bread sandwich with a filling of x instead of tramezzino, or a small square with trees overhead and apartment buildings around and a few shops, or campo?

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4287 posts

How about "sandwich?"

I wouldn't mind a glossary.

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34 posts

You are spot on Henry. We had lunch on the roof of the Danielli on a perfect day. The way the sun reflected off the water in the Lagoon and on the Canal was magical. It was a bit of a splurge but even after 2 hours, we didn't want to leave.

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4287 posts

Henry and George, is that the Restaurant Terrazza Daniele?

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1307 posts

I was glad to see that you used Chorus Passes before. When I did that a few years ago, I think my favorites were Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, Santa Maria dei Miracoli, and San Giacomo dell’Orio. Which were yours?

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4287 posts

lnsbig, that was so long ago (2011) that I don't remember. I do remember that we were so glad we had the passes. We didn't know about them before we got there, but an attendant in one of the churches we were visiting recommended them What a treat, and a great bargain! We spent most of that day wandering the back streets of Venice, looking for the churches covered by the pass.

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1307 posts

Yes, the Chorus Passes sure do encourage getting all around the city - I loved that about them too.