Venice: 4+ days in a wonderful apartment on Rio Marin just minutes from the train station. We rode the Alilaguna water bus from Marco Polo. If I had to all over, I would probably take a land-based shuttle to the island. I thought the water bus would be a lot more romantic than it actually was…you sit so deep in the hull that you really can’t see out the windows.
Despite being early October – the start of the autumn shoulder season, there were 6 cruise ships docked in Venice when we flew over on final approach to Marco Polo. I would hate to see (experience) this place at the peak of the tourist season.
We arrived on a Sunday, which was the apartment’s local representative’s day off, so our keys were left at the Luggage Drop in Piazzale Roma. No problem what so ever. The apartment manager provided very good directions and we had no problems finding and getting into the apartment.
The apartment was great. It was roomy and well furnished with 2 bedrooms and two baths. The only issue for two couples traveling together, only one of the bedrooms had a double bed. Not a problem for the three of us, but… Otherwise, this place great. It was close to the Grand Canal and the train station but off the tourist path so it was quite at night. It also had a Conad market on the ground level and several good restaurants close by. There is a full review of the apartment (Rio Marin) on trip advisor.
We found the vapoetto system in Venice to be less than ideal for getting around. As mother has mobility constraints, we planned on using vaporettos to the fullest extent possible to get point to point. Unfortunately, the system is way over saturated and it makes for inefficient travel. We waited is queue through several vaporetto arrivals before being able to board on several occasions. If you are able to walk, it is much faster and more efficient.
While in Venice we went on a day-trip to the Dolomite mountains. This small group tour took us on a loop through the Somadida Nature Reserve from Tai Di Cadore through Auronzo di Cadore, and on to Cortina before heading back to Venice. We had lunch Malga Rin Bianco, a wonderful little mountain Guest House, before heading to Cortina for an extended stop. While we saw some really beautiful country, it was a long day of riding around in a mini-bus.
We took another day trip, unescorted this time, to Vicenza and Padua. If you are going to Venice, these 2 cities are close and well-worth a visit. Both can be done in one day if you keep focused. Vicenza’s top attraction is Andrea Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico but Vicenza has a lot of Palladian buildings if you’re an architecture buff. Padua is a much larger city with some real notable sites. We limited our Padua site seeing to the Basilica San Antonio and the Prato Della Valle.
We also took the vaporetto out to Murano. While this was a nice day way from the tourist hoards on the main island, the glass shops are pretty high pressure.