The best of Venice
Written by: Petra Pokorná & Todd Shaw
In spite of this city’s aquatic travails, the beauty of La Serenissima (The Divine Republic) still shines through. From its legendary canals to its spire-dotted skyline, Venice is one of the world’s most thoroughly unique destinations, where history is writ large and an exotic spirit fills the air.
chief operating officer, Živnobanka
Favorite hotel: Albergo Cavalletto e Doge Orseolo Piazza, Ponte del Cavalletto 1107, San Marco, Venice, tel.: +39 041 520 0955.
It is not a luxury hotel, but you can expect very good service there. It is located in a very nice little square (campiello), just a few meters from San Marco square.
Favorite restaurant: Ristorante Do Forni San Marco 468, Venice, tel.: +39 041 523 8880, www.doforni.it/cng/frame_ristorante.htm
Favorite night spot: Harry’s Bar – Calle Vallaresso 1323, San Marco, Venice, tel.: +39 041 528 5777, www.cipriani.com/cipriani/Locs/ven.htm
Favorite attractions: Everything in Venice is an attraction.
Best-kept secret: Torcello Island, www.tours-italy.com/venice/torcello_island.htm
Advice: Comfortable shoes, to be able to visit all hidden corners of the town.
managing director, Quattro ServicesFavorite hotels: Luna Hotel Baglioni, tel.: +39 041 528 9840, San Marco 1243, www.baglionihotels.com
Bauer Il Palazzo, tel.: +39 041 520 7022, San Marco 1413/d, www.ilpalazzovenezia.com
Enoteca al Volto, Calle Cavalli 4081, San Marco, tel.: +39 041 522 8945
– closed on Sundays
Al Bottegon, Fondamenta Nani 992, Dorsoduro, tel.: +39 041 523 0034
– closed on Sunday afternoons
Osteria Vini da Pinto, Rialto Pescheria, San Polo, tel.: +39 041 522 4599
– closed on Mondays
Locanda Cipriani, Piazza Santa fosca 29, Torcello Island, tel.: +39 041 730150
Gatto Nero Via Giudecca Burano 88, Burano Island, tel.: +39 041 730120
Favorite attractions: The Festa del Redentore, which takes place annually in July, is the most important religious festival. There are fireworks on the third Saturday of the month, and the next day a regatta takes place in the San Marco basin. Thousands of boats of every size are colorfully decorated. Forget the Carnevale – for 400 years, this has been the Venetians’ favorite festival!
Best-kept secret: A cruise (from one to six days) on the Eolo sailing yacht. Even gourmet cruises are available!
Tel.: +39 042 977 7037 or www.cruisingvenice.com
sales & marketing director, Karlovarské minerální vodyFavorite hotels: Hotel Gritti na Canal Grande, Campo Santa Maria del Giglio 2467, Venice, tel.: +39 041 794 611, gritti.hotelinvenice.com
Danieli, Riva Degli Schiavoni 4196, Venice, tel.: +39 041 522 6480 danieli.hotelinvenice.com
– they keep the courtyard in perfect condition, and the marmor outdoor staircase from the 17th century was typical for patrician palaces
Favorite restaurants: La Madonna, San Polo 594, Venice, tel.: +39 041 522 3824 (closed on Wednesdays)
– typically Venezian menu offering excellent fresh fish
Le Carampane, San Polo 1911, Venice, tel.: +39 041 524 0165 www.antichecarampane.com
– for traditional Venezian cusine
Favorite shop: Bastianello, Marzaria Due Aprile 5042, S. Marco, Venice, tel.: +39 041 522 6751
Near the St. Bartolomeo square – fantastic jewelry – antique and modern – items from ivory, silver, and gold that will dazzle your eyes.
Favorite attractions: Cycle of St. George: a series of painting by Vettore Carpaccia in the chapel of Scuola di San Giorgio dei Greci, belonging to an association of Istrian sea captains. On the top floor you can find the cultural hall.
Calle dei Furlani Castello 3259/a, Venice, tel.: +39 041 522 8828 www.invenicetoday.com/art-tour/scuole/giorgio.htm
Best-kept secret: Seldom used passage near Ospedale di San Giovanni e Paolo, where you can find unbelievably beautiful old buildings and a 15th century monastery. Or small local bacari where one can drink great wine and eat seafood and other snacks.
Where on the web?
For further information, we suggest the following websites dedicated to Venice:
www.timeout.com/travel/venice – simple and straightforward online guidebook from the folks at Time Out.
www.bugbog.com/european_cities/venice_travel.html – not so easy to read, but home to some interesting tips and photos. www.veniceworld.com – a helpful and attractive portal page for those seeking Venice info, from hotels to weather.
www.magicaljourneys.com/Italy/italy-travel-travelguides-venice.html – this site offers suggestions for the best printed travel guides, and links for where to buy them.
www.nbportal.com/travel-destinations/italy/venice/pod_dep-107468.html – a good site for booking a hotel and other pre-flight planning.
· The most famous event in Venice is the annual Carnevale, held each winter during the ten days prior to Lent and finishing on Shrove Tuesday. Performances, balls and pageants, with an ongoing theme of elaborate costumes and masks, are held in the city’s squares.
· On the first Sunday in September another major event, the Regata Storica, is held on the Grand Canal and consists of a fine procession of historic sailing craft and a highly competitive trial of strength between the Venetian gondoliers.
· Tourism plays an essential role in the economic fortunes of Venice, a former maritime power with the enormous mercantile and trade success that went with it. Put simply, Venice would die without its 15 million annual tourists, who literally keep the city afloat with their money providing over 70% of the city’s income and over 50% of local jobs.
· Ironically, this over-reliance on tourism, coupled with the high cost of buying and maintaining property, is driving young people, who are needed to stimulate alternative growth, away from the city.
· The main economic activity in the heavily industrialized areas on the mainland (Mestre and Porto Marghera) is chemical, petrochemical, engineering, textiles and, in one throwback to the halcyon days of the Venetian Republic, shipbuilding. Tourism, by extension, has kept the traditional industries of glass blowing on the lagoon island of Murano and of lace making on the nearby island of Burano alive.
· There are few major international companies based in Venice. Big hotel groups, such as Starwood and Best Western, have a strong presence in the city, as do fast-food outlets, such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut. There are no major financial institutions, banks or the like, as there is no real point in major players being based in Venice.