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Veneto/Venice

The Veneto region is a fiercely independent one, with Venice as its capital and major tourist draw.  However, it hosts many other sights, such as Verona (the backdrop of Romeo and Juliet) and Padua (a university town with the famous Scrovegni Chapel and Basilica of St. Anthony).

Venice

Getting There

  • Fly: the quickest option; check out Naples' discount airlines.
  • Train: Easy and quick on the fast frecce ("arrow") trains, most changing in Bologna or Rome and taking 5.5 hours, although 1 nonstop leaves at 1630.  There used to be a ICN (Inter-City Notte) sleeping train that ran all the way from Naples to Venice, but it appears to have been cancelled.
    • Note that the Santa Lucia train station is generally more convenient (it's on the island of Venice itself), but if you go into the Mestre station (on the mainland) there are ~10 minute trains to Santa Lucia every ~10 min.
  • Drive: Venice is a 7+ hour drive from Naples, mostly on A1.

Getting Around

The Grand Canal bisects the city; vaporetti (ferries) run up and down and four bridges (along with traghetti, smaller ferries) cross the Canal.  Venice is divided up into six sestieri (districts); also see Slow Travel's map and description:
  • Cannaregio - north, nightlife on Fondamenta della Misericordia; extreme northern edge has few tourists
  • Santa Croce - northwest of San Polo (below), is one of the least touristy areas
  • San Polo - northwest of San Marco, across the Rialto bridge, the oldest part of the city; includes Venice's fish market
  • Dorsoduro - south, artisan/student district, across the Accademia bridge from San Marco, with nightlife near campo Santa Margherita and to the west near the universities
  • San Marco - main square, the most touristy/crowded
  • Castello - east, fancy hotels and churches, and the medieval shipyard Arsenale

Sights

A city of ancient palaces sinking slowly into a lagoon, Venice itself is the main sight.  Just wander around and get lost in the canals!  Following are some of the specific tourist attractions; also check out Wikitravel and Frommer's.  Views on Venice also has a great list of sights for each sestiero, including information on attractions for children, cooking classes, and supermarkets.
  • Piazza San Marco - the main public square, with St. Mark's Basilica, Doge's Palace, Campanile, and Torre d'Orlogio.  Warning: cafes on this square charge ridiculous prices, especially if you sit down!
    • Reid's Italy recommends attending the St. Mark's Sunday 6:45 PM mass to see the ceiling mosaics lit up
  • Ride the Canals - you can take an expensive gondola or the cheaper vaporetti (ferries)
  • Islands - the islands around Venice in the lagoon give you another look at the city (and the trip there/back is fun), and some aren't as crowded as Venice itself
    • Burano - picturesque colorful buildings, also known for fishing and lace
    • Murano - famous for blown glass, just N of the main island
    • Giudeccca - the closest island and thus easy to reach; part of Dorsoduro
    • Sant'Erasmo - the "orchard of Venice" since much of the food is grown here, supposedly great eating; check out the Orto di Venezia winery
    • Mazzorbo - just W of Burano (can travel between the two by bridge), has vineyards & orchards
    • Torcello - uncrowded island N of Burano, mostly abandoned but is actually older than the main island (when Torcello became silted up and malaria spread, people moved south); check out the 7th century cathedral with Byzantine mozaics
    • Lido - site of September's Venice Film Festival, lots of beaches...unlike other islands does have road traffic
    • Pellestrina - long strip of island just S of Lido, not as crowded (mostly fishermen) but also has beaches (and road traffic)
    • San Michele - cemetery island between Murano and the main island
    • ...there are dozens of smaller islands, some of which are owned entirely by companies or religious orders; this article describes some of the smaller ones
  • Vivaldi - this baroque composer spent most of his life in Venice, and thus there are many concerts (Venice Baroque Orchestra, La Fenice, Teatro Malibran, Teatro Toniolo, St. Mark's...)
  • Carnevale - Main website: www.carnevale.venezia.it
    • Monica Daniele - tabarri (Venetian cloaks) San Polo 2235, calle Scaleter, 041-524-6242, 9-6 M-Sat
    • Tragicomica - mask shop, San Polo 2800, calle dei Nomboli, 041-721-102, 10-7 daily
    • Ca'Macana - traditional masks from Commedia dell'arte tradition, Dorsoduro 3172, calle delle Botteghe, 041-520-3229, 10-6 daily
    • Carta Alta - mask shop, Dorsoduro 2808, campo San Barnaba, 041-523-8313, 10-2:30/3:30-6 M-Sat
    • MondoNovo - well-known mascheraio, Dorsoduro 3063, rio terà Canal, 041-528-7344, 10-6 M-Sat
  • Fun places to walk
    • Rialto Market - just north of the Rialto Bridge is the Rialto fish and produce market in the San Polo sestiero
    • Arsenale di Venezia - the "Venitian Arsenal" is a medieval shipyard that still houses part of the Italian Navy.  This makes for a nice walk between Castello and San Marco.

Where to Stay

  • San Giorgio Maggiore Monestary - interesting budget option (you pay what you can), staying literally across the Grand Canal from St. Mark's Square; they don't have a website but this article explains how it works
  • Acca Hotel - in San Polo, economical, rec'd by Fodors
  • Al Palazzetto - in Cannaregio, economical, rec'd by Fodors
  • Apartment rental: in addition to the usual suspects (VRBO, Airbnb, etc.) there's veniceapartments.org
  • Avoid staying in Mestre or Lido ...yes, it's cheaper, but you'll miss out on the romance of walking around the island at night
  • ItalyHeaven has a nice overview of Grand Canal hotels; also check out Fodors, Frommers, and Lonely Planet 

Where to Eat

Venice is known for seafood, as it is surrounded by the grand canal.  Another Venitian favorite is cicheti (also spelled cicchetti), or bar snacks, which are a bit like Spanish tapas (here's a Rick Steves guide to them).  Also check out Time Out's and Frommer's listings.

*** = Luke went there and liked it

  • San Marco
    • Ai Rusteghi - San Marco 5513, Corte del Tentor (NW of Basilica), 041-523-2205, 10-3 and 6-9:30, closed Sun, rec'd by Slow Food [no more in 2014!] and Fodor's for great sandwiches.
    • Gislon Rosticceria San Bartolomeo - San Marco 5424, Calle della Bissa, near Rialto, 041-522-3569, 10:50-6, ~30 euro, rec'd by Alice and Frommer's.
    • Osteria al Bacareto - San Marco 3447, Calle de le Boteghe, 041-528-9336, closed Sat eve, Sun, cicheti and also food from Puglia, 30-45 euro depending on meat or fish (the latter is more expensive), rec'd by Panorama and Slow Food (still in 2014).
    • Cavatappi - San Marco 525-526 Campo del a Guerra, 041-296-0252, closed Mon, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014 for cicheti
    • Antico Calice - San Marco, Calle degli Stagneri 5228, 041-529-9775, open every day except 1 week in Jan, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014 for polpetti con sedano and various other traditional dishes that are a "feast for the eyes and palate"
  • Castello
    • ***Al Garanghelo - Castello 1621, Via Garibaldi (S of Arsenale), 041-520-4967, www.garanghelo.com, open 8-mid, closed Tues, rec'd by Slow Food [no more in 2014!] and Time Out for simple but good food (spaghetti all abusara, sarde in saor, folpetti, paste fresche, dolci...), tourist menu for 14 euro.  Great deal/food! --> note: apparently had a change of ownership in 2012 which caused the food to suffer (see chowhound report
    • Al Mascaron - Castello 5225, Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa (NE of San Marco), 041-522-5995, closed Sun, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, get reservations early for this popular Venetian osteria, 30-40 euro.
    • Al Portego - Castello 6015, Calle de la Malvasia, near Rialto bridge and Salizada San Lio 041-522-9038, closed Sun lunch, dinner ends at 10 (relatively early for Italy), rec'd by Slow Food (still in 2014) and Time Out for typical seafood like baccala, ~25-30 euro.
    • Alla Rivetta - Castello 4625, ponte San Provolo (just E of San Marco), 041-528-7302, closed Mon, cicheti and other simple, traditional Venitian food, very popular with locals and tourists alike, rec'd by Slow Food [no more in 2014!], ~35-40 euro.
    • Angio - Castello 2142, ponte della Veneta Marina, lagoon-front on riva degli Schiavoni, 041-277-8555, Feb-May & Oct-Dec 7-9, Jun-Sep 7-mid, closed Tues, good sandwiches, cheese, and wine, rec'd by Time Out.
    • Antica Trattoria Bandierette - Castello 6671, Barbaria de le Tole, 041-522-0619, closed Mon night, Tues, trattoria popular with locals, ~35 euro, rec'd by Alice.
    • Dal Pampo - Castello Sant'Elena, Calle Chinotto 24, 041-520-8419, 9-mid, closed Tues, cicheti and seafood rec'd by Alice, ~30 euro.
    • L'Olandese Volante - Castello 5658, Campo San Lio, 041-589-349, close dSun lunch, good place for beer and snacks until midnight (or 1 am on Saturdays), ~16 euro.
    • Mascareta - Castello 5183, Calle Lunga Santa Maria Formosa, 041-523-0744, open 7pm-2am, between Rialto and San Marco, an enoteca run by the official enoteca association with good wines by the glass and meals ~30 euro, rec'd by Panorama, Slow Food (still in 2014), TCI, Gambero Rosso, and L'espresso.
    • Trattoria da Remigio - Castello 3416, Calle Bosello near Scuola San Giorgio dei Greci, Riva Degli Schiavoni, 041-523-0089, "exquisite food and excellent service at reasonable prices" says Frommer's.
    • Osteria alle Testiere - Castello 5801, Calle del Mondo Novo, 041-522-7220, closed Sun/Mon and August/Christmas season to mid-Feb, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014, seafood
    • Hotel Wildner Restaurant - Riva degli Schiavoni 4161 (Castello very near S. Marco, on Grand Canal), 041-522-7463, closed Tues and Jan, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014, Luca runs the hospitality and Alessandro the kitchen, traditional dishes
  • San Polo
    • Ai Nomboli - San Polo 2717c, Rio Tera dei Nomboli, ang. Calle Goldini (near eastern end), 041-523-0995, closed Sat/Sun, 041-523-0995, rec'd by Alice, cheap.
    • Alla Patatina - San Polo, Ponte S. Polo, near San Silvestro or San Toma vaporetto stop, 041-523-7238, local food rec'd by TCI, 35-45 tasting menu or ~20-35 euro a-la-carte.
    • All'Arco - San Polo 436, Calle dell'Occhialer, near Rialto, 041-520-5666, closed Sun, cicheti and other cheap favorites (~10 euro for a meal!), rec'd by Slow Food (still in 2014).
    • Antica Osteria Ruga Rialto - San Polo 692, 041-521-1243, central location, traditional Venetial specialties (bigoli in salsa, rissotto di burscandoli, pasta e fagioli, trippa, sarde fritte) 30-35 euro, or 10 euro lunch menu, rec'd by Alice.
    • Bancogiro Osteria da Andrea - San Polo 122, Campo San Giacometo, near Rivoalto, 041-523-2061, tables on Grand Canal, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Slow Food [no more in 2014!], Espresso, and Time Out.
    • Cantina do Mori - San Polo 429, Calle dei Do Mori (near Rialto), 041-522-5401, 8:30am-8pm closed Sun, great cicheti, especially the francobolli ("postage-stamp" size sandwiches), 8-10 euro, rec'd by Rick Steves, Panorama and Frommer's.
    • Da Pinto - San Polo 367, Campo de le Becarie, 041-522-4599, ostaria, popular during the Saturday morning market, open 9am-10pm, ~10 euro, rec'd by Panorama.
    • Frary's - San Polo 2559, fondamenta dei Frari, 041-720-050, arab food, rec'd by Time Out.
      Antiche Carampane - San Polo 1911, 041-524-0165, no menu, traditional place, serves whatever is fresh at the market that day, closed Sun/Mon
  • Santa Croce
    • Al Nono Risorto - Santa Croce 2338, Sotoportego de la Siora Bettina, 041-524-1169, 12-2 except W/Th, 7-mid except W, informal pizzeria/trattoria on the western end of city, popular with young kids, rec'd by Alice and Time Out, 14-16 euro menu of the day or 25-30 euro a-la-carte. 
    • Il Refolo - Santa Croce 1459, campiello del Piovan, 041-524-0016, 12-2:30 and 7-11, closed M all day, Tues lunch, Dec-Jan, set up by Da Fiore folks, pizzeria and international-style restaurant, rec'd by Time Out, 20-35 euro.
    • (Osteria) (Al) La Zucca - Santa Croce 1762, Ponte del Meglio, Calle delle Tintor, 041-524-1570, closed Sun, small osteria, traditional food with creative twist, rec'd by TCI and Time Out, ~35 euro.
    • Al Prosecco - Santa Croce 1502, Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, 041-524-0222, closed Sun and Jan/Aug, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014 for nice view, chiceti, crostini, prosecco, and seasonal dishes (including cheese & salumi platters)
  • Dorsoduro
    • Al Chioschetto - Dorsoduro 1406A, fondamenta delle Zattere (near central southern end near Tronchetto Lido di Venezia), 348-396-8466, caffe-bar with good panini, only outdoor seating, rec'd by Time Out.
    • Cantinone da Schiavi - Dorsoduro 992, San Trovaso, near San Trovaso and Zattere, 041-523-0034, 8:30am-8:30pm, closed Sun, rec'd by Slow Food (still in 2014) and Time Out, enoteca/osteria where you stand at the bar, 8-10 euro.
    • Dona Onesta - Dorsoduro 3922, 041-710-586, 12-3, 6-11, good sea and land food, 25-30 euro, rec'd by TCI.
    • La Bitta - Dorsoduro 2753a, Calle Lunga San Barnaba, near San Sebastiano church, 041-523-0531, 6:30-11pm, closed Sun, rec'd by Slow Food (still in 2014), ~30 euro
    • Quatro Feri - Dorsoduro 2754, Campo San Barnaba, traditional Venetian food, ~35 euro, rec'd by Alice.
    • Codroma - Dorsoduro 2540, Fondamenta Briati, 041-524-6789, closed Sun and Aug, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014, historic osteria with good chiceti
  • Cannaregio
    • ***Trattoria da Bepi - Cannaregio 4550, Salizada Pistor, north of Campo Santi Apostoli (near Rialto Bridge), 041-528-5031, closed Th, rec'd by Rick Steves for its fresh seafood and homey atmosphere, we had some outstanding squid ink pasta here!  (Note: a number of tripadvisor reviewers give it poor marks...maybe they aren't consistent?)
    • Al Ponte - Cannaregio 6378, Ponte del Cavallo, near Calle Gallina (not far from Grand Canal), 041-528-6157, good place for cicheti and good wine, ~30-35 euro, rec'd by Slow Food (as of 2014).  (Note: Different from the more expensive Al Ponte at Santa Croce 1666)
    • Alla Frasca - Cannaregio 5176, Campiello della Carita, near Gesuiti church and Fondamenta Nuove, 041-528-5433, closed Mon, tiny place popular with locals, specializes in fish appetizers, risotto, and spaghetti, ~25-30 euro, rec'd by Alice and Time Out.
    • Anice Stellato - Cannaregio 3272, Fondamenta de la Sensa, near piazzale Roma, 041-720-744, 12:30-2, 7:30-10, closed Mon & Tues, a dizzying array of cicheti in this favorite Venitian spot, ~35-40 euro, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Michelin, Espresso, and Time Out.
    • Antica Adelaide - Cannaregio 3728, calle larga Doge Priuli, 041-523-2629, 7-mid (meals 12-2:30 and 7:30-10:30) Time Out rec's this bar/osteria for Venetian favorites (oca in onto, fish in saor), ~35 euro.
    • Ca' D'Oro (Alla Vedova) - Cannaregio 3912, Calle del Pistor (southern-ish, near Grand Canal), 041-528-5324, osteria in a historic building, known for its cicheti and polpette (meatballs), not too expensive; rec'd by Rick Steves, Slow Food (still in 2014) and Time Out.
    • Dalla Marisa - Cannaregio 652b, 041-720-211, closed Mon/Wed/Sun eve, venetian favorites of both sea and land, ~33-40 euro including wine & caffe, rec'd by Slow Food (still in 2014).
    • Osteria da Alberto - Cannaregio 5401, Calle Gallina, 041-523-8153, closed Sun, specializes in seafood, rec'd by Slow Food [no more in 2014!], ~35 euro.
  • Islands
    • Mazzorbo:
      • Ai Cacciatori - Loc. Isola di Mazzorbo (40 min vaporetto ride), Fondamenta Santa Caterina 24/b, 041-730-118, closed Mon, rec'd by Alice, 20-27 euro.
      • Venissa - hotel/restaurant rec'd by Conde Nast Traveler
    • Lido:
      • Al Merca - Lido, via Enrico Dandolo 17A, 041-526-4549, 10:30-3, 6:30-mid, closed Mon, ~40 euro, rec'd by Time Out.
      • Le Garzette - rec'd at The Guardian
    • Giudecca: Alla Palanca - Giudecca 448, fondamenta del Ponte Piccolo, 041-528-7719, 12-2:30 M-Sat meals (bar 7am-8:30pm), Time Out says it's "one of the cheapest meals-with-a-view," ~30 euro.
    • Murano: Perla-Bisadei - Locanda Murano, Campo San Bernardo 1, 041-739-528, closed Sat, traditional local favorites, 30-35 euro including house wine, rec'd by Panorama.
    • Pellestrina: Da Celeste - Conde Nast Traveler says it's "one of the best seafood restaurants in Venice"
    • Torcello: some recommendations on about.com
  • Splurges:  The following places are relatively expensive (likely 50 or more euro for a meal) but recommended by several guidebooks: Al Covo, Al Gatto Nero, All'Aciugheta, Da Fiore (Michelin star), Fiaschetteria Toscana, Harry's Bar, Hotel Metropole/Met, La Corte Sconta, Locanda Cipriani, L'Osteria di Santa Marina, Vecio Fritolin, Vini da Gigio
  • Mainland
    • Moro - Via Piave 192, near Mestre Train Station, rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014
    • Ostaria da Mariano - Via Spalti 49 (well north of Mestre Train Station), rec'd by Slow Food Osterie d'Italia 2014
  • Gelato
    • Boutique del Gelato, Castelo 5727, salizzada San Lio, 041-522-3283, closed Dec/Jan, Feb-May & Oct-Nov 10-8:30 daily, Jun-Sep 10-11:30 daily; Time Out says it's the most popular and arguably the best in the city
    • Alaska Gelateria-Sorbetteria - Santa Croce 1159, calle larga dei Bari, 041-715-211, closed Dec/Jan, Feb-Mar & Nov 12-9 daily, Apr-Oct 11-mid daily; Time Out rec's as having fresh, natural ingredients; both favorites and oddballs (artichoke, fennel, asparagus)
    • Gelateria Lo Squero - Dorsoduro 989-90, fondamenta Nani, 347-269-7921, 11-9 daily, Time Out rec's various fresh flavors, incluidng the light and creamy mousse series.
    • Grom - Dorsoduro 2761, campo San Barnaba, 041-099-1751, 11am-11:30pm daily, a chain that started in Turin known for its high quality, rec'd by Time Out.
    • Igloo - San Marco 3651, calle della Mandola, 041-522-3003, Feb-Mar & Oct-Nov 11:30-7:30, Apr-Sep 11-9, closed mid Nov-Carnevale.  Time Out rec's for fresh gelato, especially fruit flavors in the summer.
    • Il Gelatone - Cannaregio 2063, rio terà Maddalena, 041-720-631, Jan-Apr & Oct-Dec 11-8, May-Sep 11-10:30.  Rec'd by Time Out for "luscious," "overflowing" cones.
    • Boscolo - not a gelateria but a pastry shop; Cannaregio 1818, campiello de l'Anconeta, 041-720-731, 6:40am-8:40pm, rec'd by Time Out.
    • Da Bonifacio - another pastry shop rec'd by Time Out.
    • Rosa Salva - pastry shop rec'd by Time Out.

Bars

Time Out's Bar List
Ombra = a small glass of wine
Bàcari = bars
Spritz = white wine, Campari, and sparkling water
  • Naranzaria - near grand canal, good wines
  • Bancogiro - near grand canal
  • Ardidos - cool design
  • Al Marcà - shade
  • Skyline Bar - drink with a view
  • Al Chioschetto - Zattere waterside bar
  • Vincent Bar - "leafy lagoon charm"
  • Taverna del Campiello Remer - grand canal perch, rec'd by Time Out
  • Vino Vino - wine bar near San Marco square rec'd by Frommer's
  • Harry's Bar - famous bar just south of San Marco square, invented the Bellini cocktail, www.cipriani.com
  • More ideas here from the Guardian

Verona

"Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene..." begins Romeo and Juliet.   Shakespeare never went to Verona, and "Juliet's Balcony" is pretty much a tourist scam, but romance is still alive in Verona, the second largest in Veneto, which inspired the great romantic tragedy.   Verona also has great Roman ruins, including an amphitheater ("la Arena") where open-air opera is staged in the summer.  See this Rick Steves article and TV show clip for a nice introduction to the town.

Where to Eat

The following places are recommended in guidebooks:

Padua (Padova)

Known for its university, Padua hosts the Scrovegni Chapel, which has frescos by Giotto, and Basilica of St. Anthony, a popular pilgrimage site (which also has Donatello statues and Renaissance carvings).

Vicenza

Rick Steves recommends this town for its Venice-like Rennaissance palaces, many designed by architect Andrea Palladio.  Palladio also designed the splendid Olympic Theater.  Rick rec's Zi Teresa, a local restaurant.

Cortina d'Ampezzo

Home to the 1956 winter Olympics, this Dolomite town is known for some of the best skiing in Italy, if not Europe.
  • La Taverna di Cornelio - Via Cantore 1, 043-622-32, 043-625-35, www.hotelcornelio.com, restaurant associated with Hotel Cornelio, highly rec'd by Naples sub JOs
  • Ghedina al Passetto?
  • Al Camin? - rec'd by Frommer's
  • La Tavernetta - rec'd by Frommer's and Fodors
  • Caffè Royale - café outside a hotel, rec'd by Frommer's
  • [expensive places; Baita Piè Tofana, Il Meloncino al Caminetto, Leone e Anna, Tivoli]
  • Just outside of town:
    • Ospitale - rec'd by Frommer's, Gambero Rosso, and Michelin
    • El Brite de Larieto - agriturismo outside of town (in Larieto), rec'd by Espresso
    • LP 26 Prosciutteria dall'Ava - rec'd by Alice
    • Rio Gere - alpine rifugio rec'd by Alice
    • Ristorante Baita Fraina - restaurant which also rents out rooms, rec'd by Gambero Rosso, Michelin, and TCI
    • Ristorante Lago Scin






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