My wife and I were off to Venice this past weekend. It was the first time back for us in almost 7 years. What an amazing, gorgeous place. We got extremely lucky because the weather was extraordinary and we just happened to arrive during the Biennale. Awesome. In fact, what prompted the trip was that in my middle to long-term goal list I had “Opera at La Fenice in Venice” so I figured, this was the right time to check that one off. I found a really nice travel agency in Lyon, Euridice Opéra, that arranges the entire trip for you (tickets, hotel, air tickets…). It was everything a romantic getaway weekend should be!
In the next couple of posts, I want to tell you about the opera we saw, La Traviata and the highlights of Illumination, the Biennale di Venezia 2011.
A few points on logistics:
- Staying right on the Grand Canal is very expensive. Try to get a room on a side canal but be warned that the boat noise can be a little disturbing for your sleep at night sometimes. The agency booked us at Hôtel San’Angelo on the north side of San Marco island. It is a four-star with large comfortable suites and a nice (included) breakfast and friendly staff. We would recommend it.
- The high-concentration areas for tourists are Piazza San Marco and the Rialto – they are to be avoided particularly anytime in the morning up to just after lunch. It swarms. Note also that restaurants in these areas are terrible so hold off until you get away from the din of the crowd and wander around before settling on a tourist trap restaurant.
- The Alilaguna ride on the vaporetto between Marco Polo Airport and Venice is reasonably priced at €15 per person but you are not allowed to stand up and enjoy the view. That privilege is reserved for the water taxis which will set you back €110 each way. We took a water tax over the night we arrived and it was, well words do not apply here. We were the only boat for what seemed like miles and the still of the night was only interrupted by our motor and some night birds. We stood up behind the cabin and watched the dark water swish by…as we passed behind the runway of the airport, a 737 flew right over our heads in its landing pattern. Magic. Also, arriving to the private dock for our hotel was amazing. Definitely something to do at least one.
- Gondola rides start at €80 other than a simple Grand Canal crossing which is about €20. We forwent that particular pleasure this time putting our money into restaurants and art catalogs instead 🙂