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Vivienne Dunstan

Best advice is just to explore the city on foot and have fun getting lost. I'd avoid the main tourist areas myself, though I recommend visiting the Piazza San Marco once, and probably going into the Museo Correr, the civic museum there. More fun can be had simply wandering around and exploring the city. And getting lost. Though the Accademia gallery is a must see if you are interested in art history / paintings. I just sat and boggled at some of the room-sized Bellini paintings there. I could have sat there for hours. My husband had to drag me away :)

I do not recommend going on a gondola. They are expensive and I think a better option is to get a season ticket (e.g. 3 day or 7 day) for the vaporetto water buses. Then you can jump on and off them as much as you like. And you can sit at the front of the boat and get a very good view, while cruising down or up the Grand Canal. They are also handy for crossing the Grand Canal. Though if you want to get a little gondola moment you can try a low-cost traghetto ferry across the canal.

And if you can go and stand on the top of the Accademia bridge in the moonlight and look up and down the Grand Canal then you will have a memory to cherish forever. I was lucky that when I did that I had added snow (it was December, and very cold) but it's magical even without.


Susan E

Lucky you! A friend of mine buys yarn as souvenirs and has a lot of fun finding it. I enjoyed a hunt for Cherry Pie rubber stamps when I was there, as well as walks by the canals, rides on the water buses, tour of St Marks with its stolen saint and getting off the beaten path and exploring. Have fun and happy birthday!

Liz F

Ooh you lucky lady - I have been lucky enough to go to Venice but not for ages!
Must-sees have to include the Basilica of San Marco - so beautiful that it stuns me every time and do go up to the museum at the top as not only do you get a great view of the piazza, but you can also see the originals of the horses (the ones on the outside are replicas) which are over 2,000 years old but still look so real that you would expect them to step down off their plinth!
The Accademia is fabulous too (I could spend hours in there) and taking a trip on the Number 1 vaporetto up the Grand Canal gives you a fabulous view of all the palazzos that line it. In fact if you take the number one over to the Lido, which is where we always stayed, the return journey gives you a wonderful view of the city.
Other than that, just walk. It is impossible to get lost (well we didn't manage it) and there is something to see wherever you look.
Have a wonderful time and belated happy birthday!


Happy belated birthday, you lucky woman!


Have you got 'Venice for Pleasure' by JG Links? It was highly recommended to me many years ago and although I've not yet been to Venice I have lent it to friends who found it a good read in advance of their trips.

Dark Puss

Excellent news indeed! I have been only to the airport, but can I recommend (not sure how long you will have) a quick visit to Padova too? Good fast rail link between the cities.

P x


Lucky thing! It's some time since we were there, but I very much enjoyed the Palazzo Fortuny, which we happened upon almost by chance and which had a wonderful contemporary exhibition on when we visited. We also loved the Peggy Guggenheim collection. But mainly, as others have said, just wandering at will and marvelling as there's something to delight and fascinate around every corner.


Belated Happy Birthday and have a wonderful time. I cried the first time I saw the Grand Canal! Have a coffee in the Piazza San Marco - far too expensive but worth it just to sit and watch in that location. And, if you can, go back late in the evening and walk through to hear the liitle orchestras playing in the restaurants. Magical. I have also always thought, but never done, that it would lovely to get a water taxi from the airport and, if you haven't been before, let your fisrt sight of Venice be from the water. Oh, have fun!


As the kids say, 'he's a keeper!' What a wonderful surprise. I'm so very happy for you!!

Liz F

You don't need to go to the expense of a water taxi from Marco Polo airport to approach Venice by water(unless you want to of course) as you can get the Alilaguna waterbus.
It costs 15 euros per person and goes to San Marco via either Murano or Burano (sorry can't remember which) and the Lido so you get the lovely view of the city.
The last time we were in Venice we walked across St Mark's Square on a freezing cold but clear January night close to midnight and almost had it to ourselves - completely magical and something that I will never forget!


Nico's for an ice doubt you will use Polpo to find places to eat. I see Claire and Liz F had Stendhal Syndrome experiences! I think that Tessa Kiros' book Venezia has a companion book with blank pages for your notes(bit heavy though.)Have a wonderful time, what a husband!


Good tip Liz F., thank you. I think we are all as excited as you are Cornflower!


Happy birthday. What a wonderful gift. Now if I were you I would go and knock on the door of Francesco da Mosto's house and ask for a guided tour.


Everything seems to be coming up Venice! You may if you have time and have not read it yet, like to check out this -


What a lovely surprise. A belated Happy Birthday. You will adore Venice, a feast for all the senses.


How perfect! My favourite place is Torcello; one of the outermost lagoon islands, I thought the Byzantine cathedral was simple but beautiful. (It was quite a contrast to the hustle and bustle of Venice). The best way to see San Marco is to go to mass on a Sunday, but do watch out: no matter when you visit no backpacks are allowed (there is a left luggage office nearby, but with a one-hour max)


Happy Birthday, Cornflower! You will love your visit to Venice. You will find wonderful examples of her beauty everywhere if you just wander around with your camera - that's what we've did a few years ago. Enjoy!


How lovely. I was in Venice in February when parts of the canals were frozen, very cold but beautiful blue skies. I would recommend you walk everywhere, Venice can be a bit of a rabbit warren but you go down interesting streets opening up into beautiful piazza's.
Visit Lellabella an equisite wool shop, Calle della Mandola near Camp Manin, see an opera at Palazzo Barbarigo-Minotto, Visit St Marks Square evening or day and have a drink in the Caffe Lavena patronised by Richard Wagner, and go to theBasilica Di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei frari and see Titian's Assumption of the Virgin, there is nothing to stop you touching it but dont go on a sunday they have back to back Mass


Happy Birthday! I haven't been to Venice yet, but when I do, no doubt I will check your forthcoming tips... Enjoy!


Happy belated birthday! I am going to Venice for the first time in May. Any tips you can give when you get back would be greatly appreciated!


What a great present.

Book to read - 'The Undrowned Child' by Michelle Lovric. Although you have already read it, I enjoyed it enough to recommend a re-read!


Do you know Commisario Guido Brunetti ? You might find his book 'Brunetti's Venice: Walks' useful, then when you come back you can work your way through his Cookbook......enjoy all aspects of him.


Happy Birthday! An inspired present, my suggestions:
Read The Passion by Jeanette Winterson, take the water taxi that is like the circle line (old version) for the fun of the boat trip, avoid Murano unless very early/late in the day, hang out on the waterfront overlooking the Giudecca and eat gelati.
Visit the the Galerie dell' Accademia for the Vittore Carpaccio works which Tom Lubbock writes about so brilliantly (Great Works, amazing writing worth its weight in cichetti) and drink plenty of Spritz. I love Campari and visiting Venice is the last time I overindulged in alcohol because it's so delicious.


I'll second Chloe about the Carpaccio works at the Accademia - the sort of paintings that you could go and see every day for a year and still find something different to look at.

Now craving a Campari Soda - very bad for this stage on a Monday morning!


The Fortuny Museum is a "must see", when I was there in March there was a wonderful Diana Vreeland show on, there'll be something else now though of equal interest I am sure. All-round setting and 'atmo' absolutely GORGEOUS, relatively newly-opened hidden gem


Oh yes! I forgot to mention...get your eyes tested in the next couple of days, ditch your UK glasses, whatever the result of that test (!) and get yourself down to Ottica Urbani just off St Mark's Square - the bit where you come across Chanel and that sort of thing - and buy yourself a pair of glasses frames from Ottica Urbani (their sunglasses frames are out of this world chic). There are only two of these shops and the other one is on the Lido, so you just cannot get anything like this outside Venice. When I got back to London with my pair of sunglasses (prescription lenses back in the UK saved me a bob or two) I was mistaken for a 'star of stage and screen' (such is the glam-o-meter on these lovelies from Venice)! Go for it! Statement wardrobe piece...!


Oo Liz, delighted to hear there's someone that shares my passion for what my husband calls the 'red bitter stuff', hope you've had some by now


TypePad HTML Email

Hi Chloe
I was going to say that men don’t
seem to appreciate Campari but then I remembered the very elegantly dressed
Italian (impeccably cut camel overcoat, highly polished brogues, Gucci
briefcase – looked a bit like Roberto Mancini – yes I stared!) who
popped into the bar in Venice that my husband and I were in, had a Campari soda
and a brief chat with the barman and then went on his way to (I imagined) his
glamorous wife and their apartment in a palazzo!

From: TypePad


I am behind with my Cornflower reading ....but I am glad you posted about Venice as I love it there. When you arrive at the Airport you MUST get a water taxi (not a vaporetto) to San Marco. A water taxi is like a speed boat ( OK it is expensive too but I don't care) and it will travel fast and after leaving the airport area will go out across the lagoon and eventually you will see Venice, for the first time, as you approach that unimaginably impressive waterfront that you in fact already know. It will be so exciting and truly unforgettable. After you have disembarked at San Marco only then find you way to the hotel. Your first view of Venice has to be this one..... As for books , you know there is a Simon Serrailler book that starts with him on a sketching holiday in Venice and I have read the beginning of it often and dreamed myself back in Venice.


My kind of man! (though I love the non-Campari one I'm married to of course). Did you see the Mad Men episode when they Don and Betty went to Rome? The men in that were like your elegant Campari-soda drinker.


TypePad HTML Email

HI Chloe
Well, mine too (but don’t tell Mr F
who is more a beer man than Campari). That’s the nice thing about Italy –
there is eye candy for the girls all around!
I am woefully behind with my Mad Men
viewing although I am accumulating the box sets as fast as they come out –
one day I will get chance to sit down and watch them and will definitely look
out for that episode!

From: TypePad

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  • Sidebar book cover thumbnail pictures are affiliate links to Amazon, and the storefront links to Blackwell's and The Book Depository are also affiliated; should you purchase a book directly through those links, I will receive a small commission. Older posts may also contain affiliate links to one of those bookshops. I am not paid to produce content and all opinions are my own.


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