Thursday, July 4, 2013
Venice, part one
We arrived n Venice around noon and headed off on a DCL excursion to Murano where they make glass and to Burano where they still make lace by hand. After dinner, we ventured out to see the Grand Canal and figure out how to get to San Marco Square from the cruise ship terminal. We decided the best route for us was to take the People Mover (1€) from the Stazione Maritima to the Plz Roma station. The People Mover was just over a five minute walk from the ship, and then another few minutes to arrive at the Plz Roma station where we could get to the ACTV (public transportation) and buy a pass to use while in the city. A 24-hour pass was 20€ per person, and a 12-hour pass was 18€. We got two 24-hour ones so DH and I could go into the city the first evening, and two 12-hour passes for the boys for our second day.
We took Vaporetto line 2 down the Grand Canal to San Marco. This is a faster route than Line 1 but doesn't stop at all the stops along the canal, just the main ones such as the train station, the Rialto, and the Accademia before arriving at San Marco Square. From ship to the square took about an hour including time to purchase tickets and retrace our steps once or twice.
We were able to get some photos in the twilight even as it was sprinkling rain. The Grand Canal was full of gondolas. We opted to not try to take a gondola ride as they are quite expensive, and after seeing them, we didn't change our minds, it mig be nice and romantic for a couple, but for a mom, dad, and two teenaged boys, our money would be better spent elsewhere. In fact, our ACTV tickets for the four of us were less than a gondola ride from what we had been able to figure. But that said, the gondolas were beautiful to watch. They are each hand made / tricked out after the hull is formed. We saw several gondolas out on the water during the day, not just on the grand canal but also on the side canals, some being completely functional while others were purely for entertainment. We even saw and heard one with the gondolier singling to his passengers for a truly Venetian experience.
Venice is a city that could grow on me, and is one where I would like to come back for a longer visit and stay near the square. We saw several close hotels and lots of shops and restaurants that look to be places to explore. Our port experience in Venice is a good example of what I say about cruising... There is not enough time in the port to do much more than sample what is there, but it is enough time to know whether you would want to go back for a visit. I wasn't crazy about Florence, but for Venice, it is definitely on my list of places I would return.