Venice is a fantastic, romantic, relaxing city. Its the perfect city to kick off your Italian adventure – enough relaxation to ease you from your stressful life to your stress-free vacation and just enough sightseeing to not overwhelm you on day 1 of vacation. Roam the canals, the small alleys and get lost in the historic beauty of this city.
Venice can easily be done in 2 days. We flew in on a Monday morning, and departed Tuesday evening by train.
Where to Go
Main attractions in Venice are the Piazza San Marco, the Rialto Bridge, Doge’s Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. You can see all of those in an afternoon (if you do not go on the Doge Palace tour). The beauty of Venice is in walking around the alleyways, finding an open piazza, having a spritz, a plate of salumi and cheese, and just enjoying life.
There are 2 airports in Venice. Venice Marco Polo (VCE) is on the mainland and closer but flights will be more expensive. Venice Treviso (TSF) is further out and will offer you cheaper flights. There are ATVO buses that cost about 7-9 euros one-way and will take you right into Venice. The ride is about one hour.
Once you are in Venice, hop on to the vaporetto (water taxi) to get to your destination. You can buy vaporetto tickets ahead of time (they are validated at the stamp machine when you board). When we were there in 2012, the cost was 7 euro, good for one hour after being validated. You can also buy 12/24/48-hour or more travelcards, depending on how much time you’ll spend in Venice and if you plan to visit the outer islands (Lido, Murano, or Burano).
The #1 travels up and down the Grand Canal, stopping at the six sestiere (neighborhoods); this is probably the vaporetto line you will use most often.
For those taking the bus from Venice Treviso, you will be dropped off at Piazzale Roma, with easy access to the vaporetto boarding area.
Click here for a PDF version of the vaporetto map.
We stayed at the Hotel Gorizia a la Valigia, which I found via hotels.com. I would recommend anything 3-star or better, between the Grand Canal and Piazza de San Marco. The closer you get to the Piazza, the more touristy and expensive everything gets, so beware.
Most meals should cost you 10-15 euro max per person, especially if you go across the Rialto (away from the Piazza). There are tons of small places, and everything is pretty good, so just pop your head in for a spritz, or a nice salumi and cheese plate.
Spritz is local to Venice, so it will only cost you 2-3 euro (compared to the 10 euros we paid in Rome). Many people also like to take typical gondola rides, but get a gondolier off the Grand Canal and negotiate! There are no set prices, and you’ll find a much cheaper rate off one of the smaller canals.
Next stop, Florence.