Venice - what news on the Rialto?
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The Shakespeare play the 'Merchant of Venice' immortalised Venice for all time, the news is that the Rialto Bridge and the wonderful city of Venice is doing just fine!
Our weekend trip to Venice came after our Eastern Mediterranean Cruise, we landed at Trieste and transferred to Venice Airport by coach. If you go to this beautiful city and arrive at the airport, there is an abundance of taxis and a shuttle bus to get you into Venice, the taxi costs 40 euros, the local bus is 6 euros, it is bus No 5.
The taxi dropped us as near to our hotel as possible, because Venice has no roads, only waterways that are used for transportation of everything to this amazing city. Then you have to walk to your hotel, for people with a disability this is a very difficult city to navigate, but it can be done, all the Grand Canal boats are set out with disabled areas, I did hear a man in a disabled chair say "this is going to be a challenge", so do your homework if you are disabled and want to visit this iconic city, but don't let it put you off.
Walking is the best means of transport in Venice, it is fairly well sign posted, but a good map is invaluable. We stayed at the Amadeus Hotel on Lista Di Espagna 227, it was approximately 5 minutes walk from the bus and taxi stop, over the Glass Bridge and not far from the railway station. It is a lovely hotel and our booking came with a substantial breakfast, the dining area which is set in the garden extension, which would be a lovely retreat in the heat of the summer away from the bustling crowds. The rooms are ornate with gilt mirrors and cherubs on the walls, but comfortable and clean, with a TV, but no coffee or tea making facilities. The hotel is positioned well and is within walking distance of all land marks on Venice Island. Please note: Venice has a tourist tax and we paid 4 euros per person per night, which is paid with your hotel bill, and it does vary through out the year.
The Grand Canal is the main artery of Venice, the main road, this is a short distance from the hotel (short being about a 5 minute walk); the Vaporetto or water bus is the way the Venitians travel as well as the tourists, the cost is 7 Euros per trip, but you can purchase 24 and 36 hour tickets, at 20 and 25 euros respectively; you can also take a water taxi or of course the gondolas that weave in and out of the smaller canals. The cost of the gondola varies from 80 Euros for 40 minutes, but this can be negotiated with your gondolier, the Vaporetto is a good way to travel and see the local colour of Venice, but remember this is the transport 'bus' so be prepared for the boats to be busy and very busy in the rush hour.
But walking in Venice gives you a better feel for this intriguing city with its amazing history, and around every corner you will find beautiful buildings, statues, little alley ways, it is a labyrinth maze of squares, waterways and bridges. St Mark's Square is a busy, bustling area, a place where many tourists gather, to meet, take pictures or just gaze at the beautiful, breath taking arciticture. The historic and artistic delights of St Mark's Cathedral provides an insight into both church history and the grandeur that was Venice. The Bridge of Sighs, the most well known and most photographed bridge in Venice, hold mystery and intrigue about the people who walked over this beautiful bridge. The Rialto Bridge, the Doge's Palace all steeped in history, being thrust into the present, with shops and street traders, selling everything from baseball caps to fake Venetian glass.
Visit all the land marks on Venice Island, but if you have the time get the Vaporetto to visit the island of Murano, it is the home of the famous Murano Glass. There is a charge but it is worth it, 5 euros per person to watch the glass blowing and buy some of the beautiful pieces of genuine Murano Glass, in the shops if you wish. It is a beautiful little island and well worth a visit, there are other islands to visit on the Venetian Lagoon, Burano and Torcello and are all accessible by the Vaporetto.
Venice is the city of love and it harbours a wealth of artistic and architectural gems. Face masks are sold on every corner, the history of the masked ball and the mystery and intrigue of this city lives on. This can be an expensive city to visit if you decided to drink coffee or wine in St Mark's Square for instance, but go off the beaten track and you will find lots of reasonably priced restaurants that give good service and good food. One of our recommendations is a restaurants call the Madonna this is near the Railto Bridge, just ask for directions, the restaurant specialises in fish and is quite famous, so booking is advisable and lunch times are very busy. There is also a fresh food and vegetable market that is held most days, to the north of the Rialto Bridge, next to the Grand Canal. It is very interesting to walk around and imagine the boats that must have pulled in throughout the centuries selling there wares, behind the market is the San Giacomo de Rialto Square - don't miss the steps in the square that lead nowhere - these steps used to be used by the town cryer or the newspaper boy who would shout out the news and inform people of the boats that were in the harbour many centuries ago, and the prices of the goods on sale in the market.
In St Mark's Square there is a building you cannot fail to miss, it is the St Mark's Campanile, the tall Bell Tower that towers 323 ft tall; it is a contrasting but unmistakable building. At 8 euros per person - there is a lift to take you to the top - and see the best views of Venice, on a clear day - you can go up and take some wonderful pictures, but be prepared to queue. The sights go on and on. Visit Teatro La Fenice which is the Venice Opera House, if you have the time go to an opera or a concert recital, but if you haven't, just go and have a tour of this spectacular and beautiful building, a building that was almost burnt to the ground in 1996 and rose from the ashes in 2004, it is very grand and very impressive, check the website for a list of events, if you get the time to go.
Tip: It is very tempting to go to a cheaper hotel in the area of Mestre, this is a suburban area off the island of Venice, about a 20 minute bus ride, it is very suburban and does not have many restaurants, some people we met were very upset to be put in a hotel in Mestre as they wanted to walk out and be in the centre of Venice, so check your hotel with your agent and you should be fine.
Well if you want love, romance or just a lovely weekend in this beautiful city, well the 'News from the Rialto' is come and see for yourself!
Silver Travel Advisor recommends Kirker Holidays.
163 people found this feature helpful