GOING, going . . . gondola! This slowly sinking city won’t be around for ever, so plan your trip for later this year and experience one of Europe’s true cultural and architectural gems.
The perfect weekend away for foodies and romantics alike, Venice is the subject of this week’s City Stay Q&A . . .
WHY SHOULD I GO? Whether you’re keen to get snaps for your socials, taste authentic Italian cuisine or escape on a romantic getaway, this really is the city that has it all. Fewer tourists this year should allow for a truly Venetian experience, without thousands of people photobombing each selfie.
ARE THESE STREETS MADE FOR WALKING? Absolutely. Once you’ve made the taxi or bus journey from the airport to the islands of Venice, cars are no more.
This city is mapped out by narrow streets and a complex labyrinth of canals, so it’s easy to lose your bearings. It’s good to use Google Maps if you’ve got somewhere to be, but don’t be afraid of venturing out on foot and getting totally lost, as this is when you’ll find the most amazing bookshop, cafe, gelato shop, bar or photo opportunity.
With the Grand Canal running through the middle of the city, there are four main bridges to cross on foot. If you’re in a hurry, it’s much easier to jump on a ferry or taxi, depending on how much you’re willing to spend (ferry is about £2 and a taxi about £6.50).
If you want to head to the islands of Murano and Burano, known for their glass- blowing factory and colourful houses respectively, you can spend £6.36 (seven euros) for a one-way ferry ticket, or splash out on a taxi. If you’re spending more than a few days in Venice, this is highly recommended as a day out. The journey to Murano is about half an hour, and Burano another half hour on top.
ANYTHING FOR THE BUCKET LIST? It’s worth the queue to get up on to any high building — such as St Mark’s Campanile, the bell tower of St Mark’s Basilica — for a panoramic view. If you want to splash out, authentic gondola rides are set at a standard rate of £72.70 (80 euros) for a private tour of 25 to 30 minutes. You may be able to haggle the price down to £54.52 (60 euros) for two of you, and it really is the best way to see the city at water level.
A departure from the east side of Rialto Bridge takes you past the former homes of Cassanova and 13th-century explorer Marco Polo, filming location of the Italian Job, and down the only canal in Venice with a view of St Mark’s Campanile.
WHERE SHOULD I EAT? Paradiso Perduto is highly recommended by my Italian friends, and for good reason. With a fantastic atmosphere, cheap wine (12 euros for a litre!) and incredible seafood, it’s not to be missed. There are only a few tables outside by the canal, but it’s lively inside, with great decor.
The whole menu is in Italian, so if you’re not feeling confident, just go for the seafood antipasti platter (18 euros) at the top of the menu for a delicious plateful of frutti di mare.
There’s incredible pizza and pasta all over. The best pizza I had was at Leon Coronato in Burano — try the artichoke — and Osteria Nono Risorto for spaghetti vongole and sgroppino.
I FANCY A DRINK . . . With Aperol Spritz consumed from about 9am in Venice, this really is the thing to be drinking. But be careful where you go, as prices vary from £2.73 to £16.36 (three-18 euros) depending on location. In the most touristic areas, around San Marco Square, you’ll be charged extortionate rates (but you do get free snacks to nibble on as well), so it’s up to you whether being surrounded by the city’s most famous buildings is worth the price.
If you want a lively atmosphere, head to the bars surrounding the marketplace near Rialto Bridge. Or if a relaxed glass of delicious wine is more your thing, head to Vino Vero (on the same street as Paradiso Perduto) for a cool atmosphere and a wide choice of good-value wine.
Do I have to renew my passport after Brexit? Latest travel advice
WHERE SHOULD I STAY? Venice is a small city and most places are within walking distance, so don’t worry too much about location. At this time of year and with the lockdown affecting the tourism industry, you can get a room in a 4H hotel for around £100 a night. I recommend Hotel Giorgione, which has a lovely jacuzzi pool, breakfast included and a free one-way taxi to Murano with entrance to the glass-blowing factory.
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