Subject: Re: Italy;Venice
and some sightseeing ideeas. sandra h


A vaporetto (water bus) ride is a great deal of fun, particularly on the No. 1 local line that covers the entire Grand Canal up to the Lido, Venice's beach, in about an hour. To avoid the large crowds, take it from Piazzale Roma in late afternoon. Find a good front seat and enjoy the ride ($2).

Gondola : Do not take a gondola from St. Mark's Square. They charge the highest fees, and so do the independents along little byways. All prices are negotiable, but be careful to discuss the exact number of minutes, the itinerary, and costs before you get in. Once your in, it's too late really. Use the association located behind the Piazza San Marco in the little area next to the Hotel Cavalletto e Doge Orseolo-with your back to the Basilica San Marco use the last exit to the right and it opens onto the area I'm describing. Each gondola can hold up to 5 adults comfortably, but negotiate this too. Once you settle on a 'contract' they will fulfill it. Just don't overlook any details mentioned above.

If you don't want to pay the high price of the gondola but still want to ride in one try a traghetto. These are older gondolas that are now used as a means of crossing the Grand Canal, mostly by the Venetians. The cost is abut 800L or approximately 50 and the ride is very short. Also, the passengers stand during the crossing. There are three traghetti crossing; near the market by the Rialto, near the Chiesa della Salute, and the third escapes me.

Don't take the 'private taxi' to Murano, the glass island, that most hoteliers recommend. It may cost only 15,000 lire, but they generally take you to the private dock of a particular factory and wait for you. Then you feel obligated to succumb to the sale pressure and return without seeing all the other shops and factories. Take the vaporetto instead and see what you want. If you buy something on this little private jaunt, the taxi driver and hotelier share in the purchases you make.

A pleasant walk: start at the top of the Rialto Bridge, and at the bottom of the steps walk through the vegetable market to see the colorful, animated fish stalls (open only in the morning; closed on Monday). Proceed through Campo San Cassiano and Calle Della Regina to beautiful, intimate Campo Santa Maria Mater Domini (you will cross several charming canals). Find your way to the large Campo San Polo. Nearby is the Gothic church Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, with two altarpieces by Titian, who is buried in the church.

The best walk: a stroll along the Riva degli Schiavoni, past the Arsenal to the Giardini Pubblici (public gardens) and beyond offers wonderful views of the city and the islands of the southern lagoon. In summer, from the terrace of the Ristorante Bar Paradiso (1260 Riva dei Partigiani, Castello, open April-October 15) you can watch the vaporetti, barges, tugs and seagoing vessels entering and leaving port. Continue on to Sant'Elena where there is a pine wood and some grassy banks to rest on. You can get a good, basic meal at the neighborhood trattoria Osteria Sant'Elena (22 Calle Chinotto, Castello).

St. Mark's Square: Piazza San Marco

St. Mark's Basilica: Basilica of San Marco

Doge's Palace: Piazzo Ducale

Grand Canal

Take the #1 vaporetto (waterbus) from one end of the Grand Canal to the other for a cheap ($1.50) but impressive view of the famous city from its central waterway.

Academy of Fine Arts: Galleria dell'Accademia. The building is the former Santa Maria della Carita Church. It contains the world's greatest collection of Venetian paintings. Admission is free except Sundays

Great School of San Rocco decorated by Tintoretto

St. Mary's Church: I Frari, Campo del Frari, church consecrated in 1492.

The Lido

Burano: a delightful island to escape the crowds of Venice at northern end of the lagoon. Lovely shops and restaurants Via Baldassare Galuppi forms the main square and is surrounded by shops selling linens and lace (most of which are imported from China). Although the shopkeepers expect to bargain, the eventual price will not be low.

Bridge of Sighs

The villas along the Grand Canal: Palazzo Vendrain Calergi (the winter headquarters of the casino), Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, Palazzo Grimani and Palazzo Corner

Rialto Bridge and shops along and on bridge

Murano: the island where the Venetian glass is made, but do not buy your glass here, more expensive than in Venice

Island of San Francesco del Deserto

Casa d'Oro, just left of the vaporetto stop of the same name, is a museum with an interesting collection of Venetian art. Closed Monday, open 9 am until 2 pm; Sunday 9 am until 1 pm.

Casa Rezzonico, vaporetto stop 11, begun in 1667, is a museum of 18th century Venetian furnishings and paintings. Open daily, except Friday, 10 am until 4 pm; Sunday 9 am until 12:30 pm.

Church of Santa Giacomo di Rialto, the oldest church in Venice, the current one, built in 11th century, replaced the original built in the 5th century.