Venice, Italy

Name: Port of Venice
Address: Zattere, 1401,Venezia, VE 30123
Phone: 041 4334111
Email: apv@porto.venezia.it
Website: www.port.venice.it

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Location:

Ships dock in different parts of Venice, depending on their size. Larger ships are usually at Marittima, a 15- 20-minute cab ride from Venice’s Marco Polo Airport. Other options include an airport bus to the Piazzale Roma, where the railway ends on the edge of the Grand Canal, followed by a taxi ride; or a water taxi, which takes about an hour from the airport, that offers a scenic ride. The water taxis are expensive, but the cost becomes reasonable if it’s split among half a dozen passengers. You can also walk to Marittima from the Piazzale Roma in 10 to 15 minutes. Just follow the road that leads to the causeway and turn left at the port entrance after you cross the railroad tracks.

The Alilaguna boat from the airport right into Venice – at 10 euro per person and including your luggage – is the best and most comfortable option for getting into Venice from the airport. The Alilaguna is a big yellow shuttle boat that takes people to and from the airport. It only makes a few stops in Venice: Murano, Lido, and two stops near San Marco.

Buy tickets inside the airport at the Alilaguna stand. Outside the Arrivals area there is a continuously running shuttle bus to the Alilaguna boat dock. Walking takes three minutes. The boat leaves from a dock near the airport twice an hour during the day and once an hour in the evening. The last boat on the 10 after leaves the airport at 12:10 a.m., just past midnight.  From the airport to San Marco the trip is one hour, 15 minutes.

The Venice Express is a bus service from Venice airport to Piazzale Roma. It is a direct, non-stop coach style bus that runs every 20 minutes. Look for a large blue bus outside the Arrivals area, under the Venice Express sign and digital clock.

The least expensive way into Venice is by bus shuttle service for 5 Euro per person. Take the Ryanair Shuttle from the Treviso airport to Piazzale Roma in Venice. From there, you can get a public vaporetti boat along the Grand Canal.

Accommodation:

Several hotels are in the immediate vicinity of the Piazzale Roma, central Venice’s closest point to the Marittima terminal. Among them is the Hotel Antiche Figura that overlooks the Grand Canal. The Hotel Santa Chiara is also just off the Piazzale Roma, next to the Grand Canal.

The La Forcola Hotel is situated in the middle of Strada Nuova, half way between the train Station and the Rialto. Just one minute from the hotel is Ca’ Vendramin Calergi, the splendid Palace overlooking the Grand Canal, which houses the Venice Casino.

Hotel Gardena faces the Tolentini Canal, just off the Grand Canal and about a five-minute walk from the Piazzale Roma. Sofitel Venezia is behind the public gardens by the Piazzale Roma. The Sofitel, which belongs to a French international hotel group, is a good choice if you’re looking for an upscale hotel in this district.

Hotel Abbazia is in a side street near the railroad station. The 39-room hotel occupies a former monastery, and some rooms face the large garden where breakfast is served in nice weather.

Overview:

Venice just might be the most romantic city in the world. Taking a gondola along the Grand Canal or on the many intimate water passageways that wind around and through the classical buildings of Venice on a spring or summer day is a magical experience that will be with you forever.

Venice is a place where image actually lives up to reality. Of course, there are numerous clichés and tourist traps that beckon for attention. But, they actually add to the charm because they only accentuate the city’s considerable charms.

The gondola is the primary mode of transportation throughout the canals, not to mention the enduring symbol of tourism in Venice. Though speedboats have become more commonplace nowadays, they are unable to drown out the traditional songs of the gondoliers, with most of these ballads reciting tales of true love or the magnificent history of Venice Italy itself.

But you don’t need a personal gondola to get around. The city-run water buses – called vaporetto – are the best way of navigating Venice. They make regular stops along the Grand Canal and on the outer areas of Venice just as a street bus does back home.  You can get a schedule at the tourist office located at Piazzale Roma.

The heart of the city can be found at St. Mark’s square and its soul is reflected in the Basilica di San Marco, a marvel of ancient architecture.  When the original San Marco Basilica was burned during an uprising in 976, Byzantine architects reconstructed the church. It’s one of Europe’s grandest churches. It has a dome over the center and one over each arm of the cross, and the facade has numerous marble structures along with painstakingly crafted mosaics, added as if by random onto a golden background.

And no trip to Venice would be complete without walking across the Rialto Bridge, which tourists and locals use to journey across the Grand Canal. The bridge has two walkways along the outer balustrades, and a central one where tiny shops sell the famed Murano glass along with an assortment of jewelry and linens.

At sunset each day, many gather to take in the sight of Venice as the sun disappears into the distance. It is also a perfect spot for admiring the gondoliers as they make their weary way down the Grand Canal, some singing softly into the Italian air.

Everywhere you go in Venice you’ll find original art, some dating back centuries.  Venetian paintings and sculptures crowd churches and museums. As if this were not enough, large exhibition venues host major changing exhibitions each year, and every other year the Venice Biennale brings the together artists from around the world to exhibit their cutting edge work.

In Venice, classical music and performance arts thrive rather than late-night bars and nightclubs. Baroque classics performances can be experienced at several locations including Chiesa di Santa Maria delta Pieta, Chiesa di San Bartolomeo and Chiesa delle Zitelle on Giudecca. San Marco’s Scuola Grande di San Teodoro and San Polo’s Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista also host concerts, where musicians don 18th century costume and masks.

For some local shopping, Venice is best known for its glassware, jewelry, antiques, linen and silk. Near St. Mark’s Square are a number of shops west of the square at Frezzeria. Shoe shops and leather goods, fashion retailers, jewelers and antiques are sold in this historic area.

On the nearby islands of Murano and Burano you’ll have a wide choice of colorful handmade glass and delicate lace. Exclusive fashion can be had on Calle Larga XXII Marzo, the street that runs to Campo Santo Stefano from Piazza San Marco. Department stores are not part of the Venice experience.

 Things to do:

Buy a mask or attend a mask-making class. At one time in Venice, masks had enormous significance in social relations, to such an extent that in some cases they were made compulsory by law, and over the centuries mask-makers had considerably refined their art.

Masquerading was a practice among Venetians, regardless of whether they were wealthy, destitute, bold or even shy. Masked prostitutes would engage in the most reckless erotic games and be certain that their anonymity would dissolve all accepted restraints. Aristocrats wore masks to conceal their actions and even gamblers wore masks to remain anonymous so that great wins or losses of money or possessions wouldn’t be known by the community.

After the fall of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th century, the use and tradition of masks gradually began to decline, until they disappeared altogether. At that time, hardly anything of this tradition remained in the culture and collective conscience of the Venetian people, and only slight traces could be found in obscure volumes buried in the libraries.

Today, however, the art of mask design and mask making is a robust Venetian activity and some of the masks are remarkable pieces of art that are collected world wide.

Special Places:

If you tire of roaming through history, a ride across the Grand Canal will bring you to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, the most important museum in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century.

It is located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice. The museum was inaugurated in 1980 and it presents Peggy Guggenheim’s personal collection of 20th century art, masterpieces from the Gianni Mattioli Collection, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, as well as temporary exhibitions. Among the artists are Picasso, Alexander Calder, Jackson Pollack, Max Ernst, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall and Salvador Dalí.

Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was begun in the 1750s by architect Lorenzo Boschetti, whose only other known building in Venice is the church of San Barnaba. From 1910 to 1924 the house was owned by the flamboyant Marchesa Luisa Casati, hostess to the Ballets Russes, and the subject of numerous portraits by artists.

– By Ray Chatelin

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