Ironically, I left Venice in January? in drenching rain after four days of perfect weather and the magnificent stay at the Pesaro. Here I am in May and am experiencing a minor version of acqua alta for the first time. But even that's kind of cool as I watch the canal by my windows go up and down as the day goes on. The worst of the acqua alta hit not only Venice but apparently Milan the day before yesterday, but today all schools were closed in Venice, and cruise ships were not allowed to dock. I found an early morning pic that I sent to my catsitter of the Rialto bridge with people up to their knees in water two days ago.
All that said, except for my awesome trip to Egypt, I love Venice more than anywhere. When the sun comes out, as it will, it can only be compared with the sun in Greece. Likewise the way the sea looks. My hotel is fabulous (they made sure to outfit me for the weather before I left this morning) and at lunch at a wonderful out of the way place -- but not far from the hotel -- they gave me a 10% discount because I was staying at the hotel. The meal was wonderful and everywhere around me people were speaking German, French, Italian and American English. I really respect that when I kept speaking Italian the waiters kept speaking it to me -- it's the same way I became fluent in French. The food was magnifico! You need to avoid the tourist traps in Venice and the easiest way is to get away by a few blocks at least from the Piazza San Marco, the Grand Canal and the Rialto. Then wander down una calle (a thin alley) and look even sometimes to your left or right before crossing a bridge. You'll find some amazing places that don't cost nearly what the tourist traps cost and you'll get a true Italian meal.
When the sun comes out tomorrow morning, as it is expected to do, I await some of the most glorious sunrises (and sunsets) east of Greece). But I will also be thankful to have experienced a tiny bit of acqua alta without being inundated by it. This city has such an incredible history going way, way back, that you can walk into almost any palazzo or church and be transported back in time.
Buona sera di Venezia,
People in water to their knees on the bridge, wow?
We love Venice so much, but the last time we were there in 2011 it has become so full of grafitti and more that we were not sure we wanted to return. Have they cleaned it up any since then? Have you been over to Lido or Murano on this trip? I look forward to your pictures in the coming days.
I almost never go to Lido, but just got back from Murano. They seem to have gotten rid of the Chinese knock-off businesses that all Muranese negozii were complaining about the past two years -- at least as far as I can tell. I also can say that May isn't the best time to come. I know where to go -- and where to avoid -- but this is the month for the tour groups. When it's colder in winter (far better, better prices, gorgeous views, fewer people) it's perfect if you're at a good hotel. If you can stand the summer heat, late August might work. This is my third time this year. It was horribly hot in July, perfect in January, and as of today really good weather but too many people.
But for restaurants there really is one rule of thumb -- in whichever sestiere you are, head inland. DO NOT eat at hotels on ria degli Schiavoni (San Marco drag) unless you are made of money. Some are very good (Londra Palace), but all are very expensive. I dare say you will simply not find a good restaurant on the Grand Canal near the canal, but go 2-3 blocks inland and you'll find ristoranti fantastici.
I'll keep you posted. The Ai Reali is wonderful. Not the view from the Pesaro, but I wouldn't have had it anyway this time.
Love Venice. Love Italy, really.... as well as the Italians. So passionate. We walked inland and ate with the locals. It was awesome. Except for the facilities. haha Would love to go back in the Fall. I envy that you are there.
I did not find Murano very special. Perhaps I did it wrong. We did have the most amazing tour of a retail outlet. Room after room after room of the most beautiful glass chandeliers.
Murano itself isn't that special, but I love Murano jewelry. I don't care for silver, gold, precious gems, but I must have my Murano necklaces and earrings. What I usually do is check out the new styles on Murano then buy them in Venice where they are usually cheaper. If I still can't find what I saw I go back out to Murano. With a vaporetto pass I can go as often as I want.
I've toured a couple of the stores as well as the Museo dei Vetrei, but since I live in a small apartment at home my purchases have always been jewelry or vases.
It depends on where you're flying from in the US but I would NEVER fly to Rome and drive to Venice -- you'd be driving over mountains during part of the trip. It's pretty easy either to fly through AMS or JFK (though I hate JFK) if you fly Delta and start in a city about the size of Boston. I can't comment on the cheapest fares because I'm highest Delta level so I only fly Delta (but it is part of Skyteam with KLM, AirFrance and Alitalia, so it gives you more opportunities). Still you might find a lower fare if you're not sticking with one airline.
I think September should be great. I've come to the conclusion (even though I am loving it) that May may be the worst month to come to Venice because I think a lot of European schoolkids get out now, and it is more crowded than I have usually seen it except for my first trip yea so long ago.
It's also worth a hotel splurge if you can get a hotel with a view of the Grand Canal or lagoon -- but make sure to specify when you're booking.
Let me know when it gets closer to the time and I'll try to give some more hints. One good thing is they have made the large bridges increasingly available to somewhat disabled people (like me). But ideally you want to stay somewhere where you don't have to deal with any or many bridges when checking in and leaving.
We have stayed at the excellent family owned and run Locanda Orseolo near San Marco and both times in August which is quite warm and crowded. I like the winter idea you mentioned so will have to keep that in mind for our next visit and it's good to hear the knock-off junk in Murano, now if they can get rid of similar in Venice as the wife wants more blown glass stuff.
I found flying to Milan and then driving to Venice was fairly simple as well as the fact we were doing some driving around northern Italy either before or after our time in Venice.
Just try to avoid November, when acqua alta (not like I experienced, but real acqua alta) is most likely. I found January to be perfect and that's when I managed to take those magical pics of the Grand Canal. Airfares are cheaper as are hotel rooms (by a lot). There's a good Murano glass shop right in Piazza San Marco, and also one in the calle (or series of calle) next to the Metropole Hotel if you go inland a bit. I have a few shops on Murano I love and trust and some have some really beautiful jewelry I haven't found on the mainland. One is about three or four stores in after you turn to the main canal at the Colonna stop.
Above all buy a vaporetto pass. It's high cost to buy single tickets especially for the Grand Canal, so a pass will pay itself off quickly. Plus I just love riding the boats.