Venice is like eating
an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.
As a passionate night owl, I was pleasantly surprised by the pleasures of catching the sun rise over Venice, soft blue making way to gray or sunny skies.
The one thing to know aside from timing your visit with Carnival is that there are no porters nor cars past its train station. Walking is how everyone stays fit. As a tourist dragging heavy luggage, your back will thank you if you choose a hotel with direct canal access. Skip the queue for the bus, the vaporetto and the schlep over a few bridges by hiring a private taxi from the airport (110 Euros or share a ride for 30 Euros per person.) To buy a private taxi ticket at the Marco Polo airport, keep left when you walk out of baggage claim. Their booth sits like an island in the middle of the hall.
Money matters: get the best exchange rates using your ATM or credit card. If you want to watch your dollars magically halve, cash exchange counters charge about 30 Euros per transaction. Tipping is generally not expected but with wages that have not caught up with the Lira’s conversion to the Euro, why not? Service and/or cover charge are automatically added to your bill at restaurants.
San Marco Square
A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, the Doge’s Palace (aka Palazzo Ducale in Italian) is a landmark of building elements and ornamentation. The public entrance is through the Porta del Frumento, under the colonnade of its 14th century waterfront façade.
Terrace with a View
Because I love rich velvet on everything, I had to dine where the seats are upholstered in it! Hotel Danieli faces the water next to the Doge’s Palace. Service at fancy hotels has its share of critics because of the expectations that are as high as the price they command. Know that you are coming here for its unrivaled view of the city. (Photo from kiwicollection.com)
Bridge of Sighs
This bridge behind the Doge’s Palace has a bleak history. A more romantic version comes from local legend that promises lovers eternal love and bliss if they kiss on a gondola at sunset under the Bridge of Sighs as the bells of St. Mark’s Cathedral toll. This legend is the plot line of the movie A Little Romance starring Laurence Olivier and Diane Lane.
San Giorgio Island
To get to the island with the brick church steeple that beckons across the water, take the #2 Vaporetto in front of Hotel Danieli. Twilight is the best time to photograph the city lights and panorama.
Murano and Burano Islands
Murano Island is the home of hand blown glass and the famed Venetian chandeliers. It is the first stop of the same ferry that takes you to Burano Island known for its lace and colorful house facades.