We arrived by bus from the airport at Treviso – about an hour’s drive away. Alighting at the Piazza de Roma, Anna from our hotel had e-mailed to suggest we get vaporetto no 51 to San Zaccaria. Making our way to the stop we were pointed in the direction of a no1. A slight mistake as this takes the long way down the Grand Canal stopping at every point. But, hey, what a great introduction to the City.
Five minutes walk from San Zaccaria, over three bridges, and we found the Ca’ del Dose
To be greeted warmly by Marco. More of the hotel on another page.
To get the feel of the place we strolled back over those three bridges and wandered into St. Mark’s Square to be met by hoards of people and pigeons.
It’s funny how you can have a mental picture of a place and it doesn’t quite work out in reality. I had always though the Square was completely open on one side to the sea. But, no, this is really a square with porticoed buildings around three sides and the magnificent Basilica of St. Mark completing the square. The first sight of the golden mosaics on the façade of the basilica is breathtaking.
Ready for something to eat we headed back to the hotel for a wash and brush-up. We passed the next-door restaurant in favour a recommendation about 10 minutes walk away – only to find it was closed on a Monday!
So it was back to the next-door restaurant for a very enjoyable meal.
A stroll back to St. Mark’s revealed the exodus of the day-trippers and a wholly more relaxed atmosphere with music wafting across the square as small ensembles played outside the four main restaurants (beware the prices if you sit down!).
Take your pick of music from Glenn Miller, the shows or the classics and just stand and listen or dance around the square – a truly romantic setting under the stars.
On to the first full day and we joined the throngs to tour the basilica – equally as stunning inside as outside – see pictures. A lift to the top of the Campanile gave us an overall, if somewhat windy, view of the City.
Forgoing the delights of the expensive restaurants in the Square we wandered the alleyways close by and found a local bar for a sandwich and a beer. I can’t remember the name of it, but we stumbled across it again later – oh, well, another beer!
Making our way to the Canareggio district alongside quiet tourist-free canals we searched for a restaurant we had hear of – All Antica Mola’s. A couple of coffees sat outside by the canal gave us the chance to book for that evening.
Following on from a chat with fellow diners the previous night we ambled along to the Park off Via Garibaldi to see turtles basking in the sun around a small pond below a statue of the great man. The park proved an oasis of green in the City.
A vaporetto to the Lido showed a much quieter side to Venice. Quiet because all the tourists had gone the other way to tour the sites of the main City. This left the Lido very pleasant for a stroll to the deserted beaches and through the residential streets – but watch out, there’s traffic here!
A couple of spritzes by a canal in the sunshine made for a very relaxing afternoon.
There is an advantage about using vaporettos in the heat of the day – the breeze which rushes through has a very cooling effect.
So it was we returned to the Antica Mola’s for our evening meal – see restaurant guide.
On to Day two, and time to explore the islands: Murano, Burano and Mazzorbo.
Again a vaporetto heads across the lagoon to the north of the City past a large cemetery island and on to Murano – long famed for its glass factories. Watching glass blowers at work passed a fascinating half-hour as they fashioned such creatures as a cockerel from the molten glass. As if fated on this holiday we went to see the Glass museum – but it was closed on Wednesdays (like the restaurant on Monday).
Purchase of fruit from a floating shop by the side of a canal sufficed for lunch before heading back on a vaporetto to visit Burano. Pictured on numerous postcards are the pastel-coloured houses lining the canals of Burano. You could be forgiven for thinking all the houses showed different shades for an advertising campaign for a paint manufacturer but the truth is that the colours were intended for fishermen to spot their own homes from a distance as they returned. Across a wooden bridge is the larger island of Mazzorbo. We crossed the bridge, turned left and eventually reached a small hamlet round a canal. The place seemed deserted so, in dire need of refreshment, we retraced our steps to the bridge and Burano, deciding Mazzorbo had nothing to offer other than greenery. Following the necessary beer by the vaporetto stop on Burano we headed back to Venice, passing by the other side of Mazzorbo where we spotted a couple of delightful trattorias which we would have enjoyed an hour previously.
The last evening was spent in the restaurant we should have gone to on the Monday. Again the name escapes me but it was on Via Garibaldi back near the park. Adequate but nothing special.
After fond farewells to Anna, we vaporettoed back to Piazza de Roma – this time using the no52 which took about 20 minutes as opposed to the hour on the no1.
The bus journey back to Treviso gave us the chance to see some of the Italian countryside. Just a word about the airport – a new large terminal is in the process of being built but for now the conditions at check-in are far from ideal. We had to wait at least an hour before our check-in as others were leaving earlier. A glance across the road revealed a cafeteria which was just right to while away the time until check-in.
Truly Venice is a magical place.