Venice, Italy (Venezia)


It is all about the city.

In speaking to fellow travelers we encountered two vastly different viewpoints on Venice.  One opinion, most often expressed by the day visitor, “Highly over rated, sights not that impressive and its crowded”.  The other “At first I was a little disappointed with Venice, but then I got loss; and I fell in love with it.”

If you are expecting lots of monumental historic building you might be disappointed in Venice.


Getting Lost in Venice:

Venice definitely has historic sights and the Basilica di San Marco and Palazzo Ducale are certainly monumental but the real magic of Venice is the city itself.  Perhaps it is over said, but getting lost is really one of the best ways to see Venice.  Getting lost means you are not with a crowd of tourist. Getting lost will enhance your senses as you start to worry about how you are going to find your way back to your hotel. And, getting lost will let you find adventure as you discover for yourself the deteriorating back streets of Venice.

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You really do not have to fear getting truly lost in Venice.  Meander long enough and you will find signs like those in the photo above that will direct you to a major sight.  All roads in Venice seem to lead to the Plazza San Marco, Rialto Bridge or the Ferrovia (Train Station).

Best place to stay in Venice:

On arriving in Venice you might find locating your hotel to be a challenge.  Our Venice hotel had been booked for us via Viator’s 5 day tour offering (read Italy Tours) and as part of the package we received a private transfer from the train station to our hotel.  Normally, private transfers mean some one greets you on arrival and then chauffeurs you by car, or van, to your hotel. Sure enough as we exited the train platform there was a lady holding a sign with our last name. She arranged for our bags to be delivered to our hotel and then personally walked us the 15 minutes to our hotel. I am certain if we had had to find the hotel on our own it would have taken much longer.  My point in telling this story?  The best hotel to stay in while in Venice, is the hotel you can fine and not just the once. 

Venice hotels, even the cheap ones, are not inexpensive.  There is also the issue of Venice dampness which encourages the presents of mold in many of its building.  We ended up staying in two different hotels in Venice. In the first hotel I did not smell any mold. I did smell mold in the detached bathroom of our second hotel, luckily, or bedroom area was mold free.

As to location, a hotel room not far from a significant monument is a plus, it should be easier to locate.  We selected a hotel near the Train Station as we thought it would facilitate leaving on our last day in Venice.  Keep in mind, If you are coming from the airport you likely will arrive by water bus or taxi.

Many people do not stay on the island of Venice but instead stay on the mainland (Mestre) and take a water bus to Venice for daily sight seeing.  As I have no way to compare, I can not say if this is a worst or better option than staying right in Venice. But, my general experience is that you lose time in commuting when you stay outside of a cities central tourist area. On the other hand, perhaps the adventure of arriving in Venice every morning by water makes up for the commute time.