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Trip advice please!

Rhode Island
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Trip advice please!

I am traveling to Venice for 4 days and 4 nights in just a couple of weeks. I realize it is off season, which I'm actually looking forward to as we hope to experience "real" Venice and avoid the maddening crowds. I am planning to book at Hotel Ca' Formenta to be away from San Marco but not too far from everything so if anyone has any opinions on that hotel or that area in general, I would appreciate hearing them.

I would love some advice on restaurants - we enjoy good quality food and want a truly Italian dining experience. I would also like any recommendations for wine bars if there are some in the area as we are wine finatics - just to giveyou some ideas, our preferences include Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and we love good, dry sparkling wines (can't wait to sample some prosecco!). I don't want to end up in tourist traps or paying a fortune for everything we do. Although it's winter, I'm also hoping for some good gelato so any recommendations there would be nice as well.

As for our current plan, we intend to get the 72 hour vaporetto pass so we can move around fairly easily. We know that we'd like to do the secret itineraries tour at Doge's Palace, visit Murano and Burano, and the obvious attractions around St. Mark's square. We enjoy art but are more fans of impressionism (when we go to Paris, we like d'Orsay more than the Louvre) so we probably won't want to spend an excessive amount of time at any museums, but would like to sample a little art. I would also love to experience music of some sort while there, but aren't really sure where. I know these are slightly vague questions, but I'd love to hear the opinions of others to help me form my own plan. Oh, and we are arriving late Sunday AM and leaving early Thursday AM. Thanks!

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1. Re: Trip advice please!


Congrats on your trip...it's a wonderful city! 'Venice restaurants' has been a hot topic lately, if you type that in the search box next to the Venice forum list, you'll see lots of posts (Robert J, the local expert, has given extensive suggestions from his travels). As you enjoy wine, I'd suggest going to some of the 'bacari' (winebars) around the city, where you can sample the local/regional wines by the glass ('ombra') and snack on Venetian specialities called 'cichetti/cicheti'...sort of a Venetian style tapas/hors d'oeuvres - these can make for a delicious meal. Most of these are standing-only, but it only adds to the atmosphere of dining w/Venetians (sometimes the crowds spill out onto the canal sidewalks too). My favorite place for cichetti is 'Al Bottegon/Cantina Gia Schiavi' in Dorsoduro, across from the squero (gondola workshop) at San Trovaso. Another favorite was near the Rialto fish market, called 'I Do Mori'. In addition to Robert J's dining suggestions, I'd like to add one of my favorites, 'Osteria Antico Dolo', also near the market, at 778, Ruga Rialto...good & nice cozy atmosphere. Have a wonderful time.

Chorley, United...
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2. Re: Trip advice please!

You have a lot to pack in during 4 days and 4 nights. As for Hotel location I never think it matters greatly in Venice which is a compact city - you can walk across it in under the hour. There is an excellent public transport system in the water buses (vaporetti) and I think a 72 hour pass is a good investment

Lots to see and do -

Music which end of the spectrum, lots of classical music, most Hotel reception desks will have a selction of brochures for everyhting from the top rank opera house - La Fenice- to amateur groups in churches etc. There are several websites worth looking at -

La Fenice Opera House - www.teatrolafenice.it

I Musici Veneziani - www.musiciveneziani.com

Orchestra di Venezia - www.orchestradivenezia.it

Ensemble Antonio Vivaldi - www.prgroup.it

La Pieta (Vivaldi's church - www.vivaldi.it

For niht clubs and bars with music try -

Casanova Music Cafe, Lista di Spagna, 158A Cannaregio

Bacaro Jazz, Salizzada del Fontego dei Tedeschi, 5546 San Marco

Paradiso Perduto, Fondamenta dell Miserocordia, 2540 Cannaregio

There are also several bars/cafes around Campo Santa Margherita in Dorsoduro which are major centres of student life with music.

Art - the major gallery for Venetian art in all its fordms is the Accademia Gallery at the foor of the Accademia Bridge over the Grand Canal.

If you are interested in 20th century art then the Peggy Guggenheim Musqeum of Modern Art, also on Dorsoduro about 400 yards from the Accademia is worth considering.

The Lagon is well worth exploring if you have time in your 4 days and nights - you probably do not to be truthful. Torcello in the far north of the Lagoon I always enjoy visitng - it has the oldest extant church built around 638 AD with sensational murals form the 9th to 12th century. Almost deserted by its residents, it was the first major population centre when the lagoon was settled in the troubled times after the break up of the Roman Empire.

Food - a major considertaion when visitng Venice. Do not believe people who decry Venetina food outlets. There are some very expensive rip-offs in and around San Marco area - one reason my wife and I never stay there nowadays, preferring the marginally less touristy Dorsoduro area. But once away from San Marco there is excellent food particularly if you like sea food.

Venice Restaurants & Bars

Note, we last visited Venice in May/June 2005 - things can change since we were there so always check the menu outside for dishes and prices; also times and days closed can change.

Ai Do Draghi Calle della Chiesa, Dorsoduro 3665. Tel.041 528 9731 Cafe/Bar in Calle between Campo Santa Margherita and Campo S. Pantalon. Tables in Campo S. Margherita. Excellent Spritz al bitter, draught Italian beer, enormous filled panini (rolls) and good tramezzini (sandwiches). Excellent place to watch the world go by.

Ai Gondolieri Fondamente Ospedale, Dorsoduro Tel. 366 041 528 5140 Closed Tuesday. Meat dishes, no fish, getting very expensive, booking necessary. NOT in Campo San Vio as stated in several guide books but 100m. nearer Peggy Gugenheim (Just round corner from "Corner Pub").

Al Covo, Campiello della Pescaria, 3968 Castello. It is several years since my wife and I ate there but it was very good then - it had excellent sea-food and great desserts. We have had good reports of it recently.

Alla Madonna Calle della Madonna, 594 San Polo Tel. 041 522 3824 Closed Wednesday, all January amd 2 weeks in August.. Does not take bookings, just turn up and join the queue! Popular trattoria specialises in fish but good mixed menu. Cross Rialto Bridge to markets, immediately turn left down Fondamenta, third turning on right.. www.ristoranteallamadonna.com

Bistro de Venise Calle dei Fabbri, 4685 San Marco Tel. 041 523 6651 Very expensive, specialises in classic and historic Venetian dishes, fine wine list. www.bistrodevenise.com

Cantinone Storico Fondamente Bragadin (off Campo San Vio) Dorsoduro 660 (Next to Hotel American) Tel. 041 523 9577 Closed Sunday, Good fish, booking desirable, cheerful staff. Pleasant to eat on canalside. Becoming expensive

Cugnai Calle Nuova S. Agnese, Dorsoduro 857 On right hand walking from Accademia to Guggenheim immediately before Campo San Vio Tel. 041 528 9238 Closed Monday. Run by elderly family, if they retire may well change. Eccentric, good cooking, medium priced but can be crowded & rushed. Not a place to linger!

Da Fiore Calle del Scaleter, 2202, San Polo Located off the northern corner of Campo San Polo. Tel. 041 721 308 Venice's Michelin starred restaurant, exceedingly expensive. Also booked well ahead! www.dafiore.com

Da Gino Calle Nuova Sant' Agnese, Dososduro 853A 041 528 5276 Cafe/Bar on corner of Piscina Venier. Pleasant outdoor tables, good spritz, beer, panini

Da Mario Fondamente de la Malvasia Vechia, San Marco (Between Campo S. Maria Zobenigo (Giglio) & C.S.Maurizio) Tel. 041 528 5968 Closed Saturday. Workmen only until 1 pm. Rough & ready local workmen's trattoria. Basic good cooking, reasonable prices, very informal - no menu!

Da Raffaele Calle delle Ostreghe (continuation of Calle Larga XXII Marzo) San Marco 2347 Tel. 041 523 2317 Closed Thursday. Pleasant canalside tables, competent food, busy, not cheap but an old favourite of ours, consistently high standard over many years but perhaps resting on its laurels a little now.

Gelateria Nico Fondamenta Zattere, Dorsoduro 922 Tel. 041 522 5293 Super ice cream but also excellent coffee, spritz and bar food. Nice to sit outside overlooking Giudecca Canal. Prices reasonable

Osteria Vecio Forner Campo San Vio, 671B Dorsoduro. Tel. 041 528 0424. Closed Sunday. Conveniently situated half way between the Accademia and the Peggy Guggenheim Museum of Modern Art this bar provides excellent cicheti, tramezzini and panini at very reasonable prices, No seats or tables in the Campo which at the present is largely a stone-masons yard with the repairs to canals and bridges in the neighbourhood.

Pizzeria Ae Oche Calle delle Tintor, 1552 Santa Croce Tel. 041 524 1161 Excellent reputation as inexpensive but good pizzas

San Trovaso Fondamente Priuli, Dorsoduro 1016 (On Rio di S. Trovaso, almost opposite Accademia Hotel) Tel. 041 520 3703 Closed Monday. Reliable Pizzeria/trattoria, reasonably priced. Popular, must book table for 7.pm in evenings and queue until they open at 7.

Vino Vino Calle delle Veste, 2007A San Marco Tel. 041 241 7688 Reasonably priced, by Venetian standards, associated with Antico Martini but cheaper version. We have received several reports of poor food recently so perhaps gone off the boil. But the big thing is the wine -outstanding wine list by the bottle or many by the glass. www.anticomartini.com/vinovino.htm


Da Romano Via G. Galuppi, Burano . www.daromano.it

Il Pescatore Da Paolo Via G. Galuppi, Burano

These two restaurants on the main street of Burano are very similar. Both excellent fish restaurants. Possibly a little cheaper than equivalent standard on main Venice island.

All Gatto Nero Fondamenta della Giudecca 88, Burano Tel. 041 730 120. www.gattonero.com Out of the way, on canal parallel to main street. Good reputation, not cheap, closed Monday


Antica Trattoria Muranese Riva Longa 20, Murano 30141 A 100 metres to the left from the Murano Museo Vaporetto stop. Convenient for Glass Museum and splendid Veneto-Byzantine church of Santi Maria e Donato Tel. 041 739 610 Good Trattoria, eat in pleasant orchard at the rear if you can. Reasonable prices

Busa alla Torre Campo Santo Stefano 3, Murano Tel. 041 739 662 Reputation as the best restaurant in Murano, with particularly good sea food. Lunches only, noon - 3.30 pm

united kingdom
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3. Re: Trip advice please!


If you want to have a really good meal with an excellent wine you must try the restaurnt called AI VINI DA GIGIO, is near the CA'D'ORO, the place is brilliant and so is the food.....ENJOY IT

Rhode Island
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4. Re: Trip advice please!

Thank you all for your tips! Still have 10 days to go so any other suggestions are still welcome. It will actually be a belated, brief honeymoon (we were just married on New Year's Day) so I'm trying to make the trip as special as possible!

Kent, England
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5. Re: Trip advice please!

Do find time for a walk along the Zatttere, a sort of promenade, overlooking the Giudecca canal and island. Very nice, lovely views, a pizzeria, and attractive walk to the Salute Church and/or the Accademia Art Gallery.

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6. Re: Trip advice please!

Anyway, since you are wine fanatics you might try a private wine tasting evening. It costs, however, 93 euro/person. Here's the description: In a charming enoteca (wine bar), whose walls are covered with fine bottles of wine, learn with the help of your sommelier, Tamara, how to appreciate the wine before actually drinking it by using your senses: sight, smell and taste. Alongside the wine, a little proscuitto crudo and cheeses will help enhance your wine-tasting experience. For 2 to 3 people the cost is 93 E p.p. For groups of 4 or more the cost is 60 E p.p.

Here's the website -


I saw this on the Travel Channel last Sept. before we left for our trip. However, we were unable to do the wine tasting since we were not there on a Wed. And a private tasting was a little too steep for just 2 of us.

On the other hand, you could just take that money and do it yourself. Just find a bar/trattoria you like and try several bottles w/ some appetizers/first courses. There are many between San Marco and Rialto Bridge. Just get lost/and wander around Calle Bembo, Calle d. Fabbri, Frezzeria, Fondamenta Orseolo.

Preston, United...
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7. Re: Trip advice please!

For real out of the way venice, I would suggest getting the Vaperetto to Arsenal and just walk along the Calle Garibaldi (check that but it is the major avenue). There are lots of little bars and if you walk all the way along to the Campanille de San Pietre you get to see the real Venice - didn't see a single tourist around this area on our recent trip!


Worcester UK
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8. Re: Trip advice please!

Your hotel is at the top end of Via Garibaldi (and its reports are very favourable).We usually stay in this area.There are a number of bars literally 2 minutes walk from you,most of which serve decent wines and cichetti.Remember,it's the locals who use these - they won't be palmed off with any old rubbish !!

If you like fish (which I'm not a fan of),try Al Galeon on Via G'b'di.It has an excellent reputation.

Giorgione's is also well spoken of and we have used Garanghelo a couple of times for a cosy evening meal at sensible prices.

Hosteria Franz is also spoken highly of - again for the 'fish-lovers'.

Though not far from San Marco etc,it's the quieter 'local' end of town.No doubt the hotel will help you out on your choices.

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9. Re: Trip advice please!

Spent a wonderful 6 night stay in Venice over the New Year/Capodanno. Enjoyed a superb meal at the Osteria Al Milion, Corte al Milion on New Year's Eve. The food was excellent and the service friendly, warm and efficient. I can recommend it for a special occasion. For less expensive but still excellent food and friendly service, we enjoyed Da Beppi, Salizzada D. Pistor and Trattoria Tre Spiedi, Salizzada San Canciano - small family run restaurants frequented by local Venetians.

Rhode Island
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10. Re: Trip advice please!

Just wanted to thank everyone for your advice. We had a fantastic trip despite the fact that it was quite cold in Venice last week! We walked pretty much everywhere and we never felt unsafe despite spending most of our time wandering aimlessly through small winding lanes, even well after dark. Since we were there at an off time, several of the recommended restaurants were closed or we had some difficulty finding them, but we truly never had a bad or outrageously priced meal, just by choosing small restaurants away from the primary tourist areas as everyone suggested. We really just let life happen while we were there, without much of a set itinerary or schedule, which felt like the right thing to do to really experience the city.

And how could I complain about the cold anyway? I got to see St. Mark's Square covered in fresh snow! That's a vision I won't soon forget. Thanks again!