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  • Venice
  • bedmaker
    Full Member

    I’m hoping to head there in October for my wife’s 40th.

    Any recommendations on stuff to see and do, and where to stay. Wading through online review sites is a bit daunting.

    Is it basically one huge tourist trap? Like Drumnadrochit, but bigger and waterier.

    Full Member

    Wading through online review sites is a bit daunting.


    Free Member

    book in for one of the free walking tours.

    we found loads of little places and got lots of tips to avoid the expensive tourist locations. There was a great little restaurant we found that did happy hour, where you pay a few euros then eat free and get a glass of vino.

    also, when you go in to the bars, ask for ombra or umbra. it is the local wine and much cheaper but still good.

    Full Member

    Its very much a tourist inhabited ghost town – very few actual residents. So culturally theres a lot of the qualities of daily life that other places would have that are absent here. But you get used to that. Basically just walk around as much as you can – its just exhausting on the eye – the shape and texture of the architecture and its decay wears you out, but you can’t take a wrong turn – just let yourself get lost. Give yourself a few vague way points to check off each day and allow yourself to meander between them.

    I set myself the task of trying to find as much of Carlo Scarpa’s architecture as possible over a long weekend- doing that takes you to most of the corners of the city and takes you to the university area which at least does have a few people living there and therefore shops that sell something other than novelty stripy pasta and giant Lindt chocolate balls. His old ‘olivetti’ shop is right in St Marks Square and is beautiful even if the shop occupying it now sells tasteless garbage. The Fondazione Querini Stampalia is a gorgeous tranquil retreat from the crowds. Theres also a lovely levitating stone gate thing at the university – a long way to walk just to look at a gate but the walk there takes you out of the tourist traps and into a more open and more alive part of the city. As you’re a maker of stuff yourself you’d really enjoy his buildings – he stood alongside the craftsmen as they worked and every little intersection between one thing and another is considered and beautifully resolved – every step in a stair case is unique.

    The biennale will still be on then – and effectively creates a season-long doors open day as the exhibitions often occupy buildings that are closed to the public normally.

    Free Member

    Is it basically one huge tourist trap? Like Drumnadrochit, but bigger and waterier.

    God no.

    It’s much drier than Drumnadrochit.

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    you like loud american tourists right? 😉

    Full Member

    October sounds like a nice time to visit. As the others have said it’s a unique place to just walk around in, such an absorbing city – Don’t think you need much in the way of a plan of action. The Doge’s palace on St Marks Sq is epic if you want to get a museum under the belt – the hall of the great council has a Tintoretto painting on one wall which I think is the largest oil painting ever put to canvas.

    Do, though, get a few restaurant recommendations under the belt – the dining experience can be dismal. Found things were fine off the main drag, but still didn’t find anything particularly memorable.

    Free Member

    If you want to go to any of the museums go early, unless you like queuing hopelessly.
    If the Biennale is on then go for an afternoon – it’ll be fascinating, and give you an opportunity to see places like Arsenale which you normally can;t visit.
    Venice is full of crocodile lines of Chinese tourists carrying half a dozen Versace/ Dolce & Gabbana/ Armani/ etc shopping bags each.
    the island almost completely empties in the evening.
    Go to Lido and/ or Sant’Erasmo for a different viewpoint on the city-state.

    Full Member

    Thanks chaps, some good info to get me started there.
    Wombling around with the very vaguest of plans is exactly what I’m intending.

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