Venice Journals

Venice - The serene city of canals

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A June 2003 trip to Venice by Invicta73

Venice - Moored Gondolas Photo, Venice, Italy More Photos
Quote: Having felt for a long time that Venice really was somewhere that should be visited, I eventually and unexpectedly ended up there four times within a two year period. This was undoubtedly very fortunate, because the city is so amazing that it never stops enchanting.

Venice - The serene city of canals

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Overview

Venice - Piazza San Marco Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
There are so many fabulous things to see in Venice that choosing particular highlights is a difficult task, especially because the numerous well-known sights do generally deserve their immense renown. Probably the best starting point is the adjoining Piazza and Piazzetta San Marco, which together not only make up one of the greatest open public spaces anywhere in the world, but are also home to the justifiably well-loved pair of architectural treasures, St Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Pa...Read More

The Westin Europa and Regina

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Hotel | "Hotel Europa and Regina"

The Westin Europa and Regina Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Venice is home to a large number of very plush and expensive accommodations. Even though my usual instinct is to avoid such places, when attending a friend's small but costly wedding in the city, the choice was made for me, and I spent a couple of nights experiencing the opulence of the Hotel Europa and Regina. The lavish establishment occupies some centuries old mansions on the Grand Canal, fairly close to Piazza San Marco. The understated nature of the entrance, which is located on a quaint courtyard, is deceptive because the best way to describe the style of the rich interior would be Venetian palatial. Meanwhile, history has bequeathed not only a profusion o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

The Westin Europa and Regina
SAN MARCO 2159
Venice, Italy 30124
39-041-240-0001

Pensione Seguso

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Hotel

Quote:
Staying at a decent hotel in Venice can be a painfully costly experience. However, I have been fortunate enough to discover the well-regarded and often fully booked Pensione Seguso, one of the few remaining small family-run accommodations in the city. The charming but slightly basic little place to stay is located almost at the intersection of two waterways in a pleasant corner of Dorsoduro. Even though most of the major attractions are conveniently within a fair walking distance, the surrounding area is generally so peaceful that the crowds of Piazza San Marco often feel many miles away. The common areas of the interior are full of various heirlooms, and there are also some d...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Pensione Seguso

Venice, Italy
+39 41 528 6858

Caffe Florian

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Restaurant

Quote:
Caffe Florian is part of an exclusive club of places that have long ago ceased to be a simple coffeehouse, becoming instead an internationally renowned institution that is both overpriced and overcrowded with tourists. However, just like the central character in The Aspern Papers by Henry James, and also most contemporary visitors to Venice, I could not ignore the allure of the famous spot that is located within the New Procuratie on Piazza San Marco. The café opened almost 300 years ago, and has subsequently attracted all kinds of people from local merchants to famously cultured visiting patrons, for example Byron, Rousseau and Stravinsky. Meanwhile, the legendary Casanova was also a r...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Caffe Florian
Piazza San Marco
Venice, Italy
+39 041 5205641

Collezione Peggy Guggenheim

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Attraction | "Peggy Guggenheim Collection"

Quote:
No one spending any time in Venice can possibly fail to notice its immense artistic wealth. Paintings by Renaissance greats such as Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese not only adorn the walls of the famous Accademia, but also those of numerous churches and palaces throughout the city. In addition, people such as myself who appreciate more contemporary styles are well catered for by the excellent Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The gallery takes its name from a member of the rich family behind the more famous art museums in New York and Bilbao. The items that she accumulated over the years are still on display in the lovely white single storey villa that was her home for three decades. Appar...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Collezione Peggy Guggenheim
Dorsoduro, 701
Venice, Italy 30123
+39 0412405411

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

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Attraction | "Church of St George the Greater"

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
Located on a small island almost directly opposite the ever popular Doge's Palace and Piazzetta San Marco, the Church of St George the Greater is one of the most familiar sights in Venice. However, surprisingly few tourists seem to see anything more than the elegant exterior from a distance, which in my opinion is a pity, as it is a wonderfully graceful structure. Nevertheless, standing virtually alone in such a prominent position, the edifice rarely fails to attract attention. The German writer Goethe thoroughly approved of it, but John Ruskin was very condemning. As per normal, I find myself in disagreement with the latter, which probably should not be a surprise as the man responsib...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore
Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
Venice, Italy 30100
+39 0415289900

Quote:
Attempting to visit all of Venice's lovely religious buildings is an impossible task for normal tourists, but choosing just which places of worship to investigate is not exactly easy either. Among those that I particularly liked is the grand Church of St Mary the Glorious of the Friary, which locally is commonly known simply as the Frari. At first glance, the massive brick structure, which dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries, may seem like a rather strange choice. After all, there are plenty of churches in the city that are externally much more attractive than the somewhat elegant but rather plain building. The simplicity is due to the Franciscans, the friars suggested by the nam...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Church of St Mary the Glorious of the Friary
Campo dei Frari
Venice, Italy

Saint Mark's Basilica

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Attraction | "St Mark's Basilica"

Saint Mark's Basilica Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
The world famous St Mark's Basilica is definitely the jewel in Venice's richly embellished crown. Although my preference is usually for less exuberant and more harmonious architecture, I nevertheless found that visiting the incredibly exotic and ornate structure was an utterly breathtaking experience. Construction of the first Venetian place of worship dedicated to the saint occurred shortly after his body had been smuggled out of Alexandria, allegedly hidden in a barrel of port to elude the attentions of the Muslim guards in 828! The current edifice is just over 900 years old, and was the private chapel of the Doges until Napoleon liquidated the republic, after which time it became the...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Saint Mark's Basilica
Piazza San Marco
Venice, Italy 30124
+39 0415225205

Doge's Palace/Palazzo Ducale

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Attraction | "Doge's Palace"

Doge's Palace/Palazzo Ducale Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
Venice undoubtedly has more than its fair share of world famous attractions. Among the most impressive of the city's renowned sights is the Doge's Palace, which refreshingly exceeded the high expectations that I had formed due to the immense reputation of the place. The fabulous and unique building was the centre of power during the Venetian heyday, not only acting as the palace of the Doge, but also as the seat of government. The splendidly ornamented nature of the exterior not only reflects the republic's affluence and power, but combined with the lack of strong fortifications also illustrates just how secure the elite felt from internal strife and invasion. Externally the s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Doge's Palace/Palazzo Ducale
Piazza San Marco
Venice, Italy 30124
+39 0415224951

Grand School of St Roch

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Attraction

Grand School of St Roch Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
Venice really is a superb destination for art lovers, and it is not even necessary to spend time in the famous galleries to see renowned masterpieces. In fact, my favourite place to view such works in the whole city is the amazing Grand School of St Roch. The perhaps now confusingly named schools were actually a distinctively Venetian institution, where lay citizens would gather for charitable, communal and religious reasons. That dedicated to St Roch was one of the most significant, and from the early 16th century onwards it was located in the purpose built structure that is now an especially noteworthy sight. The edifice’s very fine white marble Renaissance façade illustrate...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Grand School of St Roch
Campo San Rocco
Venice, Italy

House of Gold

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Attraction

House of Gold Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
The sheer quantity of incredible old architecture in Venice never ceases to be amazing, and many of the nicest buildings were once the residences of the erstwhile ruling class. Therefore, exploring one of the erstwhile mansions seemed to be a good way both to experience yet more beauty and to gain an insight about the former glories that have ultimately made the city what it is today, and like many others my choice of destination was the House of Gold, or the Ca' d'Oro in the local dialect. The edifice's intricate pale stone Gothic façade is undoubtedly one of the most attractive that overlooks the Grand Canal, and is easy to admire whilst travelling along that particular stretch of the ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

House of Gold
Calle della Ca' D'Oro
Venice, Italy

Cantina di Vini già Schiavi

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Attraction

Quote:
Among my fondest memories of spending time in Venice is actually one of the simpler aspects of being in a city that is more commonly associated with lavishness, namely visiting the Cantina di Vini già Schiavi. Having discovered the quite wonderful little spot whilst first exploring the lovely and quiet area around the Rio di San Trovaso, I have always ventured back there whenever possible. In many ways, it is the perfect example of a bacaro. Such establishments are a world away from the more famous and glamorous counterparts that are often popular with tourists. Customers nearly always stand at the bar, mainly because the generally basic places do not tend to feature much in the way of...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Cantina di Vini già Schiavi
Rio di San Trovaso
Venice, Italy

Harry's Bar

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Attraction

Quote:
It would not be strictly unfair to say that Harry's Bar is an expensive, old fashioned spot that mainly attracts customers thanks to a reputation for being somewhere that absolutely has to be experienced whilst in Venice. However, such a description reveals only part of the story, as the place possesses an unexpected appeal that is beyond simple definition and has made my visits thoroughly memorable. The subtle charm of the famous watering hole starts with the tale of its founding. Whilst working in a hotel bar, Giuseppe Cipriani lent a not inconsiderable sum of money to a young regular customer who was down on his luck and needed to settle some large bills before returning home to Bost...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Harry's Bar
San Marco 1323
Venice, Italy

St. Mark's Square/Piazza San Marco

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Attraction | "Piazza and Piazzetta San Marco"

St. Mark's Square/Piazza San Marco Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
The large square formed by the neighbouring Piazza and Piazzetta San Marco is an appropriately renowned and grand focal point for somewhere as special as Venice. Even though the hordes of overfed pigeons and overawed tourists that are almost invariably in attendance were a shock at first, its absolutely spectacular charms quickly became apparent to me. The best way to approach the much loved spot is from the waterfront, passing the two tall granite columns upon which stand symbols of the city's past and present patron saints, namely a representation of the demoted St Theodore with a vanquished dragon and a massive version of the famous winged lion of St Mark. Having then entered the Pia...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

St. Mark's Square/Piazza San Marco

Venice, Italy 30124

Ghetto

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Attraction

Quote:
Whilst Venice's main attractions undeniably deserve much attention, I have found that being amidst the crowds that invariably throng the tourist trail eventually becomes tiring. Therefore, taking the time to visit some quieter parts of the city has often proved to be an appealing option, especially as some are pleasantly distinctive and interesting in their own right, such as the Ghetto. Just like most of the city, the area is steeped in history. During the early 16th century, there was a policy of forcible relocation of the Jews to a small island away from the centre in Cannaregio, which was previously the centre of metalworking activity, and therefore known as the foundry, or ghetto i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Ghetto
Campo di Ghetto Nuovo
Venice, Italy

Ponte di Rialto

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Attraction | "Rialto"

Ponte di Rialto Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
The Rialto is undoubtedly one of the most famous and historically important places in Venice, somewhere that every visitor wants to go to. Even though my feelings about it are somewhat mixed, spending a little extra time there revealed to me some initially unsuspected subtle charms. The most obvious focal point of the area is white marble bridge of the same name, which is the oldest spanning the Grand Canal and an instantly recognisable symbol of the city. I first saw it after rounding a bend on the famous waterway whilst travelling on a Vaporetto. Viewing the robust-looking and classically styled crossing was certainly a moving experience at the time, especially as the familiarity of ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Ponte di Rialto
Grand Canal
Venice, Italy 30124
Nessun telefono disp

District of Dorsoduro

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Attraction | "Dorsoduro"

District of Dorsoduro Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
Of the six historic Venetian quarters, I must admit to having a particular liking for Dorsoduro, which has become like a charming old friend to me in contrast to the glamorous and popular acquaintance that is the much more famous San Marco. Although somewhat on the tourist trail due to the presence of a handful of interesting attractions, it is for the most part relatively tranquil and has a pleasantly lived-in feel that really appeals. Undoubtedly, the single most important sight is the Accademia Gallery, which is located close to the unusual wide wooden bridge that it shares a name with. The edifice originally housed a convent and then a school, before becoming the home of the renowne...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

District of Dorsoduro
Dorsoduro
Venice, Italy

Murano

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Attraction

Quote:
Although there is easily enough in central Venice to occupy the attention of even the most fickle of people, I also enjoyed spending time in the smaller places that are scattered around the lagoon. Murano is probably the best known of such destinations, and also seemed to me to be one of the most interesting. The name of the island is synonymous with the world famous glass that has been made there since manufacturers were moved from the centre due to fire risks in the late 13th century. As the former hub of an international trading network changed into a major destination, so too the industry has adapted, nowadays providing visitors with instantly recognisable gifts and souvenirs. Whil...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Murano
Glass-blowing island
Venice, Italy

Torcello Island

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Attraction | "Torcello & Burano"

Torcello Island Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
I have found that travelling out to one or more of the many smaller islands in the lagoon that surrounds Venice to be a very worthwhile activity. Neighbouring Torcello and Burano are not only both very dissimilar to the city itself, but are also quite unlike each other, and therefore combine to form an excellent destination for an excursion. Today, Torcello is a sleepy place where tourists often outnumber the residents, but for several hundred years from the 7th century onwards it was home to a population of up to 20,000. Such a past is certainly hard to imagine whilst wandering down the rustic canal side path leading from the vaporetto stop towards the heart of the old settlement. The...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2004

Torcello Island
Lagoon
Venice, Italy

Riding through the canals on a gondola

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Story/Tip

Venice - Moored Gondolas Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
Gondolas are among the most enduring and recognisable things that spring to mind when thinking of Venice. Although the sleek black painted boats have changed so little over the course of centuries that they look the pretty much same in a 18th-century painting by Canaletto and a contemporary holiday snap, they now perform a radically different role. The almost unique mode of transport is no longer an everyday means of getting around, and is instead primarily reserved for tourists, and due to that some think that riding in one is a bit tacky. However, it proves to be an unforgettable activity for most people that manage to keep such cynical feelings at bay, including me. The one factor that may...Read More