Of Carnivals and Gondolas

I'm just looking for... my mask! With all the tiny little shops, streets, and of course, dead ends, Venice was definitely frustrating to get around, but worth it once you got your bearings. The highlight of my time there was getting a carnivale mask!


Of Carnivals and Gondolas

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on January 2, 2006

Taking a boat to the train station to go to our next destination. For some reason I couldn't help but remember the board from Tomb Raider II and Lara Croft racing around Venice in a boat. To see the city that was built literally in the water is amazing! Walking into the Piazza San Marco! Spectacular!

Caveat: Going in the summer might be fun and warm, but even though it was cold and miserable, the timing was perfect because there were hardly any crowds or lines. You could walk around freely and really enjoy being in Venice as opposed to concentrating on stepping on someone's toes.${QuickSuggestions}

I was very intimidated by the closeness of the walls. I felt claustrophobic, caged in, and unsafe because of darkness of the streets. Maybe because in America we are taught that dark, close streets are associated with rapists, muggers, and murderers; however, from what I understand, it is very safe in Venice. Just make sure you have a jacket with an inside pocket to protect yourself from pickpockets, and if you feel like you're being caged in, just go into a shop or make your way to the Piazza San Marco.

Also make sure you are familiar with where you are staying in regards to the major sites. We stayed near the Rialto Bridge, so in order to get back to our hostel, we just needed to look for the signs towards Rialto Bridge, and once we got there, we knew where to go; otherwise, there was no way we could have found our way back!

${BestWay} Walking and by boat! There are no cars and bikes will not be able to move around in the main island where we stayed. Wear comfortable shoes, and Venice is not for people who cannot go up and down stairs. Stairs are everywhere!

The water taxi from the train station to Rialto Bridge was about 5 to 6 Euros, which, if you think of it as a bus ride, is expensive, but if you think of it as a taxi, it's the cheapest taxi ride I've ever taken, whether in America or Europe!

B&B Rota

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on January 2, 2006

Extremely hard to find and cold!! We arrived late at night and it was freezing, being that it was late-February. While the directions say near Rialto Bridge, you have to do some maneuvering to find the place!

Finally, when we found the place and entered the main office, our hearts sunk, thinking we were going to have to stay in a place that looked like a condemned building. However, this was just ground floor and the actual building we were staying in was around the corner.

The bedroom was sparsely decorated and empty, but clean, and the bathroom was absolutely to die for! Although it was a shared bathroom, the tile was a beautiful color blue and looked better than my bathroom at home! The downfall was that there was no heat, and because of this, by the time we got to Florence, most of us were sick, I, who got sick at our final destination, Rome, from catching everyone else's cold.

Much thanks to Franco (a hottie by the way!), a worker at B&B who made us feel extremely welcome, fed us hot chocolate and coffee, and allowed us to warm up in the main office kitchen. We talked into the wee hours of the night and got to know what Italy was all about. Hot men!
B&B Rota
San Polo 1699
Venice, Italy

St. Mark's Square

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on January 3, 2006

Winding around and around the narrow streets and bridges of Venice, one begins to wonder, "will I ever get there?" Taking time to enter shops and looking for one-of-kind treasures while staring up at building signs indicating to go here for St. Marks Square, in Italian of course, I never thought I would get there. But then all of sudden you hit a narrow passage (among the several hundred other ones) and all you can see is straight in front you. As you come to the end of passage you see St. Mark's Basilica to your left, but nothing prepares you when you look to your right and realize that here you are, right here, in St. Mark's Square. First walking into the square was absolutely breathtaking! I was absolutely amazed at the sheer size and the fact that I was right here!

During Venice's heyday, dozens of victims either lost their heads or were strung up here, many of them first subjected to torture. One, for example, had his teeth hammered in, his eyes gouged out, and his hands cut off before being strung up. If you stand with your back to the canal, looking toward the south facade of St. Mark's, you'll see the so-called Virgin and Child of the Poor Baker, a mosaic honoring Pietro Fasiol (Faziol), a young man unjustly sentenced to death on a charge of murder.

Caveat: Wear a hat and keep moving! Pigeons here in Italy, and in Europe in general, I find to be particularly brave. Pigeons will land on you like you're a statue! I've seen it happen! Wear a hat to protect yourself from any stray excrement. If you should ignore my warning and go without a hat and find yourself a target, Rick Steve (travel journalist, whose book we consulted along our trip) warns to wait until it has dried and then you can easily flake it off instead of it running all throughout your hair.
St. Mark's Square/Piazza San Marco

Venice, Italy, 30124

Doge's Palace

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on January 3, 2006

The main entrance to the Doge's palace is the one called the Porta della Carta, that Giovanni and Bartolomeo Bon built in the flamboyant Gothic style, between 1438 and 1443. It was once painted in blue, red and gold. The figure of Doge Francesco Foscari is shown kneeling before the Winged Lion, but the one seen today is a copy of the original, which was destroyed at the time of the fall of the Republic.

Unfortunately, the group I was with did not want to spend money on museums and were reluctant to let me go by myself (however, they were perfectly fine for wandering the backstreets of Rome late at night, anyway...), so I did not get to really go to any of the great museums and historic sights; however, I did get a great picture, and I researched some info so that when I go back or if anyone else was interested, they could be prepared!

March-October daily 9am-5:30pm; November-February daily 9am-5pm. Admission €11 adults
Doge's Palace/Palazzo Ducale
Piazza San Marco
Venice, Italy, 30124
+39 0415224951

St Mark's Basilica

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Glamazon22 on January 3, 2006

Taking pictures of the inside are not allowed, but everything inside is absolutely beautiful. The entire church glitters of gold, and knowing that the building is over a 1,000 years old makes that '87 300ZX Nissan your mom gave you seem like a spring chicken.

In 1063, under Doge Domenico Contarini, the building was set in motion, and not until 1096 was it finished, but the decorative work continued until the beginning of the 19th century.

Times and Costs: From October 1st to March 31st: Basilica: 9.45 - 4.45 (entrance free) St. Mark's Museum: 9.45 - 4.45 (entrance: ticket 3 € , reduced 1,5 € only for groups with more than 15 people) Pala d'oro: 9.45 - 4.45 -Sunday: 1.00 - 4.45 (entrance: ticket 1,5 € , reduced 1 € only for groups with more than 15 people) Tesoro: 9.45 - 4.45 - Sunday: 1.00 - 4.45 (entrance: ticket 2 € , reduced 1 € only for groups with more than 15 people)

From April 1st to September 30th: Basilica: 9:45am - 5pm (entrance free) St. Mark's Museum: 9:45am - 5pm (entrance: ticket 3€ , reduced 1,5€ only for groups with more than 15 people) Pala d'oro: 9:45am - 5pm - Sunday: 2 - 5pm (entrance: ticket 1,5€ , reduced 1€ only for groups with more than 15 people) Tesoro: 9.45am - 5pm - Sunday: 2 - 5pm (entrance: ticket 2€, reduced 1€ only for groups with more than 15 people)

Don't forget to visit the gift shop on the way out! Grab a few postcards, for 70 cents to 2 Euros, for great pictures of the inside that you were not allowed to take. Caveat: Dress appropriately! Unlike America, where it doesn't matter how you dress, here and all churches in Italy have strict dress codes. In the winter and early spring it's not an issue, but if you are going in the summer, long pants and shirts with sleeves will get you in--anything less and you'll be visiting St Mark's in your dreams!
Saint Mark's Basilica
Piazza San Marco
Venice, Italy, 30124
+39 0415225205

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