Piazzale Roma : Venice
Venice is one of the most romantic, historically symbolic, artistically rich, and sought after tourist destinations in the world. It is a city of waterways, waterbuses (Vaporetto), speed boats (Traghetto) and gondolas. The city’s grandeur of stone and marble palaces and Cathedrals rise above the Adriatic. With its gondolas, canals, waterfront restaurants, palazzos, churches, and labyrinth of alleys, Venice offers you an experience of a lifetime. Now If you only a short break at Venice, here’s all you need to Know about Venice! Below is a list of the main attractions of Venice, which I recommend covering in your quick Trip of Venice, Italy.
This year, in September 2015, we took a family vacation through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia and a quick trip to Salzburg, Austria. For the main entry we chose Venice in the Schengen zone. A couple of days to start with and a day and a half to end with, consisted our Quick tour of Venice, Italy. They say that even a month is not enough to see and feel the city of Venice in its true sense and it might be apt too. But for us we had done a quick breeze tour of this romantic Adriatic coast city. Here in this travel post, I would like share with you our footprints in Venice and what all there is to see for the quick and budget traveler..
For your awareness, please remember that there are no bus/ taxis/ automotive in Venice. The city thrives on waterways and this is the only mode of transport. So all Bus Stops in Venice ideally means water-bus stops and are dotted around the main canal. The Grand Canal lazily snakes through this city of allies, mazes and pontoon bridges.We toured Venice this September 2015 and am penning down a short sketch of the city and things to do / see. Hope this helps in your travel plan.
Venice : When to travel:
Barring the months of June, July ( when it is very hot, humid and the tourists throng everywhere.) Venice is an ideal tourist vacation spot. We travelled in September 2015 when the students had gone back to their schools and the tourist count was lower.
How to reach:
Venice is well connected to the rest of Europe and the world. Marco Polo airport has regular flights from most prominent international airports. From Dubai, Emirates runs a direct flight while Lufthansa and British Airways have one-stop flights. We travelled by Lufthansa and did our Schengen check- in while transiting through Frankfurt.
The central bus station (Stazione Autobus) in Venice Italy is located at Piazzale Roma. It also just a short walk from Venice’s Central Train Station (Santa Lucia Station). You can find buses and trains reaching different parts of Italy as well as Europe from this Terminus. It is also connects Venice water buses from here.
The romantic city of Venezia juts out from Mainland Venice. Let’s start with reaching Venice. Like most tourists we arrived at the Marco Polo Airport. From Marco Polo you have to choose either one of the two ways of reaching your hotel/ apartment in Venezia.
- If you are staying in the Cannaregio or the Santa Croce district it will be better if you travel by ATVO shuttle buses and get off at Piazza De Roma. The hotel will be either a short walk or a quick waterbus hop from there. Many hotel or apartment owners will send staff to meet you there. The charge is 8 Euros per head ( Sep 2015) from Marco Polo Airport to Piazzale Roma. From there it is 4 to 7 Euros on the Waterbus –Vaporetti- to your waterbus stop.
- If you are staying around San Marco / Castellano/ Dosudro or San Polo it is better to take the Ali-Laguna Ferries ( Blue Line) from the Marco Polo Airport – Jetty. The tickets can be bought right next to the Baggage carousel inside the airport, or you can buy them at the jetty too. The Jetty is about a 10 minute leisurely comfortable walk where you can push the airport luggage trolley all the way if you want.The cost for the boat ride is Euro 15 for a one-way and Euro 27 for a two way trip ( valid for 6 months) as of Sep 2015.
- Have more money? Rent a water taxi from the jetty. This is fast and efficient and charges would be from 80 Euros to 150 Euros depending on the location or the waterbus stop, or the travelling season and of course individual bargaining power. Please clarify with the driver whether the charge is for the full boat or for each passenger.
Most hotels do a ‘meet and check –in’ at the waterbus stop and it is advisable to inform them beforehand so you do not waste time later. Hotel check-ins are mostly around 2 -3 pm and check outs are between 10 and 11 am
Where to stay :
Venice is divided into six districts geographically. The gondolas have a 6 pronged mast which represent these six districts. Attached is the map of the districts of Venice.
The San Marco Piazza is the major tourist attraction and thus hosts the costliest of hotels and residences. Most of the tourists prefer to stay somewhere near the Saint Mark’s Basilica adjoining the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square).This is the district of San Marco. The major attractions are quickly commutable from here. . You have San Marco Cathedral, Doge’s Palace in the same adjoining compound. Saint Mary’s Basilica and Rialto Bridge are also easily commutable.
Cannaregio and Santa Croce are the districts which border Venice’s roadway link into this semi-island city. The road and train stops are next to the Piazza Le Roma and it is easy to commute to Marco Polo airport or to the Mestre Train station if you stay around these districts. Santa Croce and San Polo are central locations from where both San Marco and Rialto are equidistant.
Castellano is away from the tourist humdrum, but offers good local eateries and is about a 15 -20 minutes walk along the coast to San Marco Piazza. Dosudro is on the west side of Venice and is equidistant from San Marco as is Castellano.
Sightseeing in and around Venice:
The most economical and effective way of traveling through Venice is by the public water transport system. This is maintained by AcTV and they offer a day trip ticket for Euros 20 (as of Sep 2015).This ticket is effective for 24 hours from the time you first check in and calculates till the time you last swipe it to board a waterbus. There is a small white machine at each stop where you need to swipe or stamp your Day Ticket. Tickets are randomly checked during different routes and a non-swap or non availability of ticket renders a Euros 200 fine. This AcTV ticket is available at most waterbus stops or even small gift shops in and around Venice. You need to ask a localite or one of the hawkers around.
In case you intend to visit museums/ palaces there are different combo tickets available. You can purchase a VeneziaUnica pass given in the link below and add to the attractions that you plan to see. My suggestion would be to include the four Galleries /Museums around San Marco if you have less than four days to visit Venice.
The main attractions of Venice:
Piazza San Marco – Adjoining Doge’s Palace, adjoining Campanile(8 euros to view the city from the top), adjoining Saint Marc’s Basilica / Cathedral
Saint Mary’s Basilica–Salute Waterbus stop , about 10 minutes from San Marco
The Academia Galleria – at Salute stop
Rialto Bridge – about 15 minutes’ walk from San Marco – this is the shopping district for gifts/ artifacts/ curios and leather items. Check out ladies handbags ranging from 20 to 100 Euros here.
Island Hopping :
- Islands Murano and Burano :
- Island Lido and Torcello
The above is our suggestive itinerary for a quick trip through Venice. The next Article in “Footprints Forever” shows you what we covered in our Three days in Venice tour.