Venice Journals

Venal Venice - Beautiful and Decaying

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An August 2004 trip to Venice by Ed Hahn

Venice Photo, Venice, Italy More Photos
Quote: Venice must be the most touristy site in Italy because of its architecture, art, history, and reputation. I'm not sure it deserves its reputation. It can also be seen as a tourist trap because of its people, prices, and overall ambience. It's hard to decide which label it deserves.

Venal Venice - Beautiful and Decaying

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Overview

Venice Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
This is my second trip to Venice. I was here with my wife, Pam, in December, but that didn’t prepare me for being here in August. The train trip from Florence is not the most interesting of rides, but at least this time I detrain in the correct station, St. Lucia, not Mestre, as I did in December. Our hotel, the Abbazia, is down a nearby alley. After checking in, we decide to walk 3km via the Rialto Bridge to the Piazza San Marco. We encounter hordes of tourists on the way. The Piazza is packed with people and pigeons. The line to enter the Basilica is very long, so we explore the piazza and do some serious people-watching. For dinner, we choose a friendly pizzeria I remember from Decem...Read More

Hotel Abbazia

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Hotel | "Abbazia Hotel"

Hotel Abbazia Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
I chose the Abbazia Hotel because it is very near the train station. As usual, Tom and I can’t find it even with the help of our "Streetwise Venice" map. That’s because it isn’t on a street. It’s down an alley, which sharp-eyed Tom notices has a sign with our hotel’s name on it. We are delighted to discover that the Abbazia is a converted abbey of the barefooted Carmelite Friars of Venice. It has an astounding lobby that was, at one time, the monk’s dining room and includes a raised pulpit from which scriptures were read during meal time. We also notice a beautiful garden and breakfast site that we can see from our window. It is not only just 150m from the railway station "Santa...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 9, 2005

Hotel Abbazia
CANNAREGIO CALLE PRIULI 68
Venice, Italy 30121
39 041 717333

Ristorante Roma

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Restaurant

Quote:
On our last night in Venice, Tom and I decide to splurge on dinner at a restaurant overlooking the canal. Based on our previous experiences in Italy, we figured it would be hard to pick a truly poor restaurant. Wrong!!! We choose it because the maitre d’ is very friendly and, as we look into the dining room, it seems pleasant with candles on the tables and uniformed waiters. We check the menu, and while the prices are high, they are not totally out of sight and the location is such that we expect to pay more for our food. We are right about the view; it is fantastic, but everything else is, at best, pedestrian. I’m not an expert in Italian wines, so we order an expensive Chianti...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on September 11, 2005

Ristorante Roma
Rio Vista Terre, Between Station & Campo Geremia
Venice

Museo Correr

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Attraction

Quote:
Our first stop this morning is the Correr Museum in the Napoleonic Wing, Piazza San Marco. I had been here in December, and I enjoy my visit just as much this time. It is a superb museum in terms of its artistic treasures, incredibly restored library, and archeological exhibits, which go back to Roman times, when Venice was just a collection of mud huts in a marsh. The murals in the library are worth the trip by themselves. I like the idea that the museum combines the art and history of Venice. The original collection, donated by Teodoro Correr, dates from 1830. Most of the historic material focuses on the history of Venice from the 13th to the 16th century, and almost any objects that have...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 2, 2005

Museo Correr
Piazza San Marco
Venice, Italy 30124
+39 0415225625

Doge's Palace/Palazzo Ducale

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Attraction | "Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace)"

Doge's Palace/Palazzo Ducale Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
The Doge's Palace was the seat of the government of Venice for centuries. In addition to being the Doge’s home, it housed the law courts, civil administration and bureaucracy and the jail. It is a repository of the history of Venice, architecturally, artistically and historically. We basically wander around trying to see everything. I am particularly fascinated by what I learn about the governing system of Venice. It was a republic that operated as an oligarchy. A vast bureaucracy of elected civil servants, committees and councils was presided over by the only figure elected for life, the doge. The system of elected doges lasted for over 1000 years, from 697 to 1789. Interestingly, a r...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 3, 2005

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

Basilica dei Frari

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Attraction | "Frari Basilica"

Basilica dei Frari Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
This large Gothic church, whose full name is Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, is surprisingly beautiful. I say surprisingly because it isn’t as heavily visited as many other attractions in Venice. It stands on the Campo dei Frari at the heart of the San Polo district of the city. With Titian as the main contributor, artworks were created for this church by him, Giovanni Bellini, Donatello and many others. It also contains the tombs of Titian, the sculptor Canova, the composer Monteverdi, and the Doge Francesco Foscari. In spite of its many historical and artistic treasures, it’s so large that it seems empty even with the tourists wandering around. After the death of St. Francis of ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 6, 2005

Basilica dei Frari
San Polo, 3072
Venice, Italy 30125
+39 0412728611

Gallerie dell Accademia

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Attraction | "Gallerie dell'Accademia"

Quote:
After lunch on the Campo dei Frari, we wander the lanes and alleys of southeastern Venice and, more by accident than design, manage to locate Gallerie dell’Academia, reputed to be one of the world’s great museums. It contains the most complete Venetian school collection in the world, including masterpieces by Bellini, Carpaccio, Tintoretto, and Titian. As you might guess, it can get very busy. We took a chance and didn't have to wait, but others have said that they endured long queues. So, to be safe, book your tickets well in advance and plan your visit around lunchtime or towards the end of the day to avoid wasting time in line. Even though the building isn’t air-condit...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 10, 2005

Gallerie dell Accademia
Campo della Carita
Venice, Italy 30130
+39 (041) 5222247

Ca' Rezzonica

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Attraction

Ca' Rezzonica Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
On our last day in Venice, we walk to the Ca’ Rezzonica, a beautiful Palazzo on the Grand Canal in the Dorsodura District. As usual, we wandered the streets until we found it down an unmarked alley. Perhaps one of the lesser-known museums in the city, it’s also one of the most intriguing. It contains not only paintings but also frescoes, furniture, statuary, and many other artifacts from opulent 18th-century Venice. It also gives us access to some great views of the Grand Canal and the neighborhood. We thought this would be a quick tour, but for us history majors, it turned out to be one of our more interesting stops. This palace has a fascinating history of its own, notwithstanding its inc...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 11, 2005

Ca' Rezzonica
Fondamenta Rezzonico, Dorsoduro 3136
Venice, Italy

Venice Photo, Venice, Italy
Quote:
I am a bit of a curmudgeon, but I’m still able to experience the sense of awe and wonder that is so necessary if I want to be a happy and satisfied traveler. When I first visited Venice over the New Year holiday 2004, I was ready to be blown away by its beauty. In visiting for the first time, I was able to either ignore or repress my sense that the Venetian attitude towards me as a tourist was less than positive. In the winter, the venues weren’t as crowded, except for maybe New Year’s Eve, and the atmosphere was more welcoming. At that time of year, most of the visitors are Italian whereas in the summer, most of the visitors are foreigners. Maybe this fact contributes to the overall difference i...Read More