Venice is one of the most beautiful cities we have visited thus far. However, the overcrowding of people, along with the debris they leave behind tends to take away from its beauty.
The first day we arrived in Venice, the crowds of people made it difficult to walk on the streets. It wasn’t until two days later that we realized the Film Festival was being held there on August 30th, also a Regatta Race was in the area as well. From what I understand, on a typical day Venice has around 30,000+ visitors. They have already limited the number of cruise ships they allow to come to the city in order to control the over-crowding. We found hotels and restaurants to be extremely high priced. Perhaps this is also a way of controlling the number of visitors.
If you’re planning a trip to Venice make sure you pay close attention to transportation, especially at the airport. Marco Polo Airport is the closest to Venice. Treviso Airport is the furthest away. You may get a better rate from the Treviso Airport but you will pay more in the end because of the distance into the city. A taxi from Treviso Airport into the Venice or Mestre area is around $100/84 euros. A taxi from the Marco Polo Airport is $30/25 euros. The number 45 bus, which runs 24/7 from the airport, will take you to the same places for $9.50/8 euros. The currency in this area is only euros. Another interesting point is the ride from the airport to the Mestre area is only 2 to 3 miles, a bit pricey compared to what we are accustomed to.
We stayed in the Mestre area to avoid the high priced hotels and crowds of people, not to mention the only way to get to most hotels is by water taxi, which could be a little tricky if you travel with alot of luggage. The Mestre area is a smaller community with lovely people, plenty of small shops, markets and a few small restaurants. My favorite was The Wine Shop with a great variety of homemade wines. I was able to take my 2-liter water bottle that I had emptied the night before, and get it filled with Malbec, a red wine that was some of the best I have ever had.
No problem walking on those streets!
We booked our hotel online through Hotwire getting The Hotel Ducale; nice hotel but very small room. The hotel staff was very friendly, helpful and spoke English. Everything at the hotel was very convenient – – from being able to purchase bus tickets at the hotel to service of complimentary breakfast each morning. Transportation into the Venice downtown area from Mestre is normally by bus or train, with the train taking a little longer but offering the same price of 1.50 euros per person and is only a 15 minute ride. If I made a return trip, I would definitely go back to this area, very pleasant.
Walking around Venice was a little more pleasant after some of the events were over, although it was still crowded. We purchased tickets for the water bus taking us on a 25 minute ride through the canals to visit the San Marco area. San Marco, which seemed to be the most popular area of all was flooded with people. Ched remarked on all the changes that had taken place since he was there around 40 years ago. He remembered feeding masses of pigeons in the square. Today, there is no room for pigeons and difficult to walk freely through the street.
This was my first visit to Venice, seeing the beautiful old buildings and churches, walking through the maze of streets, trying to find our way back, stopping to ask directions along the way while enjoying the beauty of canals flowing in all directions. While walking the streets, we passed a floating vegetable market. There was also a garbage boat collecting garbage, making its way through the canal just as a garbage truck would drive down the streets at home. I had to wonder what it would be like to live there, having to travel by boat to get out of the city or go to work or go shopping every day. We also saw two men-moving furniture on to a large boat; moving day for someone.
All of the activity taking place along those streets and waterways was very interesting since the only way I had seen Venice was through the movies or television. In my mind, it was all men, dressed in striped shirts, black pants and straw like hats giving rides to people while standing on the back of Gondolas, rowing down canals. There are definitely some of those, but I never realized they had to share those waterways with all the rest of the residents.
Venice is a town everyone should see at least once!