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I am getting into the airport late. Can you recommend a hotel that would be suitable ?

You are extremely wise to consider this situation.

You have two factors over and above a normal city to consider.  Firstly, how you get from the airport into Venice, and secondly, once you get into Venice, how you find your hotel.  Unlike any ‘normal’ city, where a taxi can just pull up directly outside, many hotels in Venice are not so accessible, even by private water taxi.  You do not want to be wandering around Venice late at night with your suitcases looking for your hotel.

Option 1: Stay in the airport area, Mestre, for your first night

Depending on how late your flight is, just stay somewhere local to the airport, get up fresh next morning and head into Venice in the day light.

Option 2: If travelling by water taxi from the airport

Provided your hotel is close by to a canal, the water taxi should be able to drop you close to the entrance to the hotel.  Taking a water taxi is an amazing experience as you sweep across the lagoon over to Venice.  If you can afford the €130 fare, this is one of my top Venetian experiences.  If the hotel is not directly by where the water taxi drops you off, ask him to walk you there, especially, if some navigation is required.

Option 3:

You get a normal taxi or bus from the airport into Piazzale Roma (which is in Venice across the rail and road causeway).  So, everything as per a normal airport / city experience here.  I suggest finding a hotel that is within walking distance of Piazzale Roma.  It would be a brave or ill informed tourist, not familiar with Venice, to find the ticket office for the vaporettos and then find the relevant vaporetto stop, never mind finding the hotel once they get off the vaporetto.

Hotels within walking distance are:

Pick of the bunch is the supremely comfortable Sofitel operated Hotel Papadopoli.

The four star Hotel Santa Chiara is the first hotel you will see as you arrive into Piazzale Roma.

The three star hotel, Hotel Canal is 5 minutes further on.

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Can you recommend a good language school in Venice ?

A friend of mine recommends the Instituto Venezia just off Campo Santa Margherita in the Dorsoduro district.  This is a great location to be based and the teachers are very professional.  Private, as well as group classes, are also available.

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I am considering a longer stay, maybe 3-4 weeks in Venice ? When would be a good time ?

I personally think Venice is better during the winter months. It is less crowded and there is a wonderfully peaceful and atmospheric ambience with the low winter light and frequent fogs.

December and January with their frequent cold and sunny days tend to be marginally drier than November.  I have spent the whole of November twice in Venice, the first time it rained a lot, the second time hardly at all and the weather was glorious.   In January, some restaurants and hotels close for a week or two. However, there will still be plenty that are open though.

I would wholeheartedly recommend giving yourself this wonderful experience.

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Pasticceria

Rosa Salva

Rosa Salva is situated in the very picturesque and spacious square, Campo San Giovanni e Paolo (named after the towering church in the square).  It has been run by the same family for over 100 years and they have several other outlets, two in the San Marco district.

In the main shop, you will find the array of cakes and pastries and order coffee which you can have at the bar or in the salon next door.  Unusually for pastry shops in Venice, there is a WC.

Address:

Castello 6779, Venezia 30122

Directions:

In Campo SS. Giovanni e Paolo

Opening hours:

Every day, 8am to 8pm

Phone number:

041 522 7949

Website:

www.rosasalva.it

Out & About

Things to do in Cannaregio

This is mainly about strolling around and discovering this relatively quiet but by no means off the beaten track part of Venice.  The Jewish ghetto is most interesting as are many of the quieter canals set back from the main drag, Srada Nuova.  Strade Nuova though is very useful in terms of orientation as it takes you straight down to the Rialto bridge area.  You cannot go wrong.

There are some nice quiet side canals where you can see real Venetian daily life.

 

Museums & Galleries

Museo Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner, the great composer, lived on the mezzanine level (piano nobile) of the palazzo that now houses the museum dedicated to his work and memory.  He stayed here for six stretches between 1858 and 1883 where he died. Here you will find rare documents, posters, signed letters, paintings, records and various other heirlooms.

You can only visit the museum by prior arrangement and by guided tour.  The tour usually lasts about one hour and while there is no charge, it is customary to make a contribution to the work of the association that runs the museum.

 

How to get there:

You will easily spot the magnificent palazzo as it now houses the Venice Casino and it has a large sign on the outside advertising this fact.  It is seconds from the San Marcuola vaporetto stop and close to the Rialto Bridge.  From Piazzale Roma, there is also a free ferry service every 10 minutes on Fridays and Saturdays, and every 20 minutes Sundays to Thursdays.

Nearest Vap stop:

San Marcuola

Price:

Voluntary contribution

Opening times:

By pre-arrangement only

Address:

Ca’ Vendramin Calergi
Cannaregio, 2040
30121 Venezia

Phone number:

+39 041 529 7111

Email address

info@casinovenezia.it

Museums & Galleries

Ca’ d’Oro

The English translation of this is “golden house” so called because of the gilt external decorations that used to adorn the external walls.  The official name is Palazzo Santa Sofia and was donated to the Italian State in 1916 by art collector owner Baron Georgio Franchetti who owned it since 1894 and who carried out important renovations.

It was built between 1428 and 1430 for the noble Venetian Contarini family who provided Venice with 8 doges between 1043 and 1676.

Today, it is a museum that houses the collection of Baron Franchetti and includes paintings, sculptures and coins all amassed during his lifetime, the highlight of which would be the painting “San Sebastiano” by Andrea Mantegna.

How to get there:

If you take the vaporetto, get off at the stop ‘Ca’ d’Oro’ and it is a few steps up the street.

Nearest Vap stop:

Ca’ d’Oro

Price:

€13 full price

Opening times:

Monday: 8.15 to 2pm

Tuesday to Saturday: 8.15am to 7.15pm

Sunday and public holidays: 9am to 7pm

Address:

Ca’ d’Oro, Cannaregio 3932, Venezia

Phone number:

+39 041 5200 345

Website:

www.cadoro.org

Churches

Churches of Cannaregio

The following are my recommendations, with a gallery of photos of the various churches in the sestiere, just to get you salivating!

Chiesa di Gesuiti on Fondamenta Nove is a monumental Baroque style church.  The interior is very elaborate and you can only marvel at how the craftsmen of centuries ago produced such amazing work.  There are numerous works of art, sculptures and ornate altar pieces.  It is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 12 noon and from 4pm to 6pm.

Chiesa di Santa Maria di Miracoli

Unlike most churches in Venice which have been altered, extended or remodelled, this church was designed in the 15th century and has not been altered in any way. So, it is exactly as the Renaissance era architect intended it, all these years later.  It was built between 1481 and 1489.  The interior is beautifully proportioned with a wooden barrel vault shape and is highly ornate.  This is a Chorus Scheme church open Monday to Saturday, between 10.30am and 4.30pm.

Chiesa Madonna dell’ Orto

Its extremely pretty Gothic façade is reason enough to visit this church.  The interior is also worth viewing not least for the Tintoretto painting Presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple.  It is open weekdays between 10am and 5pm and Sundays from noon to 5pm.  www.madonnadellorto.org

Scalzi S Maria di Naz

 

 

Luxury Hotels

Ca Sagredo

This palazzo looks relatively plain from the outside, but do not let this fool you. Inside it is magnificent with a huge sweeping staircase with frescoes on the walls.  Two of the bedrooms house parts of an old Venetian casino.  These rooms have amazing stucco plasterwork.  The common areas, breakfast and dining rooms are also stunningly beautiful.

Location good for:

5 minute walk or less:
Authentic, quiet local Venetian residential areas
Vini da Gigio, an excellent restaurant
Venice’s high street – ‘Strada Nuova’
The Galleria Georgia Franchetti at Ca’ d’Oro

10 minute walk or less:
Rialto Market (across the Grand Canal on the vaporetto – one stop).
Rialto Bridge
Fondaco dei Tedeschi department store

Getting to St. Mark’s Square:

15-20 minutes on the vaporetto, from stop Ca’ d’Oro

Getting to Rialto Bridge:

Less than a 10 minute walk.

Ease of Access from airport:

If getting a private water taxi, it is extremely straightforward as they can pull up outside the hotel. The vaporetto stop Ca’ d’Oro is right by the hotel, so if you get a taxi or bus to Piazzale Roma, you can get the number 1 vaporetto down to here.

Price room range:

Between about €250 low season to €375 in high season.

Address:

Campo Santa Sofia
4198/99
30121 Venezia

Phone number:

+39 041 241 3111

Email address:

info@casagredohotel.com

Website:

www.casagredohotel.com

Spritz & Cicchetti

La Cantina

La Cantina has high quality tapas type food.  It isn’t a normal “sit down” restaurant.  Specialities are cured meats and fish, with a huge selection of wines by the glass. You can go here just for a quick pit stop.  However, the food is so good, it could well turn into a meal.

Typical prices:

Snacks from about €2 each.

Opening times:

All day, from 12.30pm to 11pm.

Closest vaporetto stop:

Ca’ d’Oro

On Strada Nuovo, just across from the pink San Felice Church.

Address:

Campo San Felice
Cannaregio, 3689
30121 Venice

Phone number:

+39 041 522 8258

Mid Price Restaurants

Vini da Gigio

 

As the name suggests, the owners are passionate about wine.  The food is equally as important to them with produce being sourced daily from the Rialto Market, with plenty of traditional Venetian dishes. Typical fish main courses include fillet of turbot with artichokes, a whole bream or seabass.  Typical meat dishes include lamb fillet with seasonal vegetables or beef tenderloin.  A sample menu can be found here.

Typical prices:

Two courses would cost between €45-50, excluding wine.

Opening times:

12.00 to 2.30pm and 7pm to 11pm.

On Saturday and Sunday, there are two dinner sittings.  The first one between 7pam and 9pm, the second starting at  9.30pm.

Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Closest vap stop:

Ca’ d’Oro

How to get there:

From the vaporetto stop, walk down the short street and turn left onto the main street, Strada Nuova.  Walk down there a short distance, crossing the bridge. Turn right down Fondamenta S. Felice. Then take the first left, Calle Stua Cannaregio and it is at the start of this street.

Address:

Cannaregio, 3628A
30131 Venezia

Phone number:

+39 041 528 5140

Email address:

info@vinidagigio.com

Mid Price Restaurants

Osteria Orto dei Mori

A smart, atmospheric osteria in a quiet area of Cannaregio.  Nice tables outside in the summer months.  The chef is Sicilian and makes his pasta fresh daily.

Typical prices:

Two courses would cost around €45-50 per person, without wine.

Opening times:

12.00 to 3pm and 7pm to 11.30pm.
Closed Tuesday.

Closest vap stop:

Strictly speaking, ‘Orto’ at the back of Venice.  However, from the Grand Canal, the stop would be San Marcuola or Ca’ d’Oro.

Address:

Campo dei Mori, 3386
Cannaregio
Venezia

Phone number:

+39 041 524 3677

Email address:

osteriaortodeimori@libero.it

Website:

www.osteriaortodeimori.com

Mid Price Restaurants

Casa Bonita

Slightly off the beaten track down Fondamenta Savorgnan.  Excellent fried seafood (“frittura”) and pleasant, casual atmosphere. Particularly nice to sit outside in warmer weather.

 

Typical prices:

Frittura for two and a carafe of house wine would cost €50.

Opening times:

Daily except Monday.

Closest vaporetto stop:

The train station or San Marcuola (on Grand Canal line 1).

How to get there:

From Ponte delle Guglie, go down Fondamenta Venier Sebastiano, which changes name to Fondamenta Savorgnan and the restaurant is a short walk on the left.

Address:

Fondamenta Savorgnan
Cannaregio, 492
Venezia 30121

Phone number:

+39 041 524 6164

Email address:

casabonita492@yahoo.it

Website:

www.casabonita.it

Pasticceria

Ballarin

Very close to the Rialto bridge and so you are likely to be close to here at some point.  Busy a lot of the time and not that big so often crowded.  However, very high quality pastries and chocolates and good coffee.

Please note there is no seating area here and there are no toilets here either.  You stand at the bar or tables and have your coffee or pastry here.

Opening times:

Monday to Saturday: 7.30am to 8pm
Sunday: 8am to 8pm

Closest vaporetto stop:

Rialto

How to get there:

It is on the main shopping street, Salizada S. Giovanni Grisostomo, close to the pink church of the same name.  Also, the department store Coin and the Fondaco dei Tedeschi are close by.

Address:

Cannaregio
5794 30121
Venezia

Phone number:

+39 041 528 5273

Ice Cream

Grom on Strada Nuova

Avoid the ubiquitous nasty heaped icecream offerings and seek out one of the four Grom outlets in Venice.  This one is on the main shopping street that runs through the Cannaregio district.

Grom was started in 2002 by Guido Martinetti and Federico Grom, two Italians who wanted to produce icecream and sorbets from the very best raw materials.  Only fresh, seasonal fruit from the best producers in Italy, the finest cocoa and coffee products from Central America and organic eggs and whole milk is used for their icecream.  Guido and Federico have now bought a farm in Piedmont where they have planted old varieties of peaches, apricots, figs, pears, strawberries and melons.  There are no artificial colourings or other additives.

They have outlets throughout Italy and now also in Paris, Tokyo and New York.

Opening times:

Summer:
Daily: 11am to 10.30pm (11.30pm on Saturdays)

Winter:
Monday to Friday: 12 noon to 9pm
Saturday: 11am to 10pm
Sunday: 11am to 9pm

Closest vap stop:

Ca’ d’Oro

Essential Details:

If you come up from the vaporetto stop, Ca’ d’Oro onto the main street, it is almost opposite.

Address:

Cannaregio, 3844
Strada Nuova (Ca’ d’Oro)

Phone number:

+39 041 2602 349

Website:

www.grom.it

Ice Cream

Grom Grisostomo

 

Avoid the ubiquitous nasty heaped icecream offerings and seek out one of the four Grom outlets in Venice.  This one is in the heart of the shopping district close to the department stores Coin and Fondaco dei Tedeschi, close to the Rialto Bridge.

Grom was started in 2002 by Guido Martinetti and Federico Grom, two Italians who wanted to produce icecream and sorbets from the very best raw materials.  Only fresh, seasonal fruit from the best producers in Italy, the finest cocoa and coffee products from Central America and organic eggs and whole milk is used for their icecream.  Guido and Federico have now bought a farm in Piedmont where they have planted old varieties of peaches, apricots, figs, pears, strawberries and melons.  There are no artificial colourings or other additives.

They have outlets throughout Italy and now also in Paris, Tokyo and New York.

Opening times:

Summer:
Daily: 11.30am to 10.30pm (11.30pm on Saturdays)

Winter:
Monday to Friday: 12 noon to 9pm (10pm Saturday)

Closest vap stop:

Rialto or Ca’ d’Oro

Essential Details:

It is on the narrow busy thoroughfare that cuts through this part of Venice. It is very close to the Church of San Giovanni Grisostomo.

Address:

Salizada San Giovanni Grisostomo,
5801 Cannaregio Venezia

Website:

www.grom.it

Ice Cream

Grom at St. Lucia Train Station

Grom was started in 2002 by Guido Martinetti and Federico Grom, two Italians who wanted to produce icecream and sorbets from the very best raw materials.  Only fresh, seasonal fruit from the best producers in Italy, the finest cocoa and coffee products from Central America and organic eggs and whole milk is used for their icecream.  Guido and Federico have now bought a farm in Piedmont where they have planted old varieties of peaches, apricots, figs, pears, strawberries and melons.  There are no artificial colourings or other additives.

They have outlets throughout Italy and now also in Paris, Tokyo and New York.

Opening times:

Daily, 09.30am to 9.30pm

Closest vap stop:

Ferrovia

How to get there:

The train terminus is one of the few ugly buildings in Venice. You can’t miss it from the vaporetto stop.

Address:

Stazione S. Lucia
Venezia

Phone number:

+39 041 244 0120

Website:

www.grom.it

Cafes

Caffe Costa Rica

It is located on the main thoroughfare through Cannaregio coming from the train station. Wonderful aromas of roasting coffee beans fill the air and the coffee roaster is visible from the inside the café. It is quite small and there are no tables or chairs, so you stand at the bar and take your coffee there. You can also buy the coffee beans to take away.

Address:

Rio Terà S. Leonardo
Cannaregio, 1353C
Venezia 30121

Directions:

Located just before the Ponte delle Guglie on Rio Terà San Leonardo on the right hand side as you head towards the train station from the Rialto Bridge area.

Nearest vaporetto stop:

San Marcuola

Opening hours:

8am to 1pm
2.30pm to 5.30pm

Closed:

Sundays, except in December

Phone number:

041 716 371

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Churches

Churches of Santa Croce

The Church of San Nicolò da Tolentini sums up what makes Venice so amazing.  While close to Piazzale Roma and the train station so not slung out in the further reaches of Venice, it is little visited.  It has a monumental classical façade and inside a beautiful Baroque interior.  The high altar was built by Baldassare Longhena in the 1660s who was responsible for the famous Salute Church.

There are two churches in the Chorus Scheme of Venetian Churches.

Church of San Giacomo dall Orio

Dates from the 9th century and is one of the oldest churches in Venice.  Whilst looking unassuming from the outside, it has a warm, inviting interior.  The bell tower, or campanile, dates from 1225, this version replacing an earlier, unsafe, version.

Church of San Stae

Located on the Grand Canal by the vaporetto stop of the same name.  The original church dating from the 12th century and demolished in 1678 was actually built side on to the Grand Canal.  When the current one was built, they changed the orientation such that the magnificent Baroque façade faced the Grand Canal.  The interior is wonderfully light filled and has some interesting art.

Below is a photo gallery selection of the churches in this district.

San Nicolo da Tolentino