We took the train from Milan Central to Venice in just about 2.5 hours. It’s a somewhat scenic trip but nothing special. Once there, you enter the majestic water world and lots of tourists. We have been there many times before, but this trip we wanted to experience the food and nightlife from a locals perspective. We stayed at the Hotel Rialto (not at all the locals area) but if you want a room with a view, what is better than overlooking the Rialto bridge at sunset…..
The hotel itself is old but its super close to all the tourist attractions and again the views are pretty sweet.
For the first timers to Venice, I strongly recommend not only getting a good map (which most hotels provide) but also getting the 24 hour water taxi pass. It’s little pricey but your feet will thank you later. Venice is pretty small but if you want to venture out and see things off the beaten path, it takes some exploring and a lot of walking. If you talk to anyone at your hotel they are programed to tell you about the same places they tell every other tourist that walks through the door – Piazza Saint Marco, St. Marco Square, Saint Maria del Frari (church) Galleria de Accademia, and Saint Maria Salute just to name a few. All good things to see, but don’t eat or buy anything in those areas unless you want to spend more. The only place in Venice we have not been and didn’t have the time to go to this trip is Stucky. It is not on most hotel maps but is the most Southwestern corner of the City. If anyone goes, please tell me how it is and if its worth the trip. It will most likely take you 2-3 different water taxi’s as you have to cross over Canale dellla Giudecca from Rio Terra Antonio Forcarini to get there.
Also, if you are going to purchase Murano glass (which you should) just be careful where you get it because there are many places that get it from China, sell it for outrageous rates and it’s not even close to authentic. If you walk around and look, you can tell what are the cheap replicas and what is not – keep in mind you get what you pay for.
The BEST pasta place hands down is called Alfredo’s Fresh Pasta To Go located on Calle De La Casseleria (which in of itself is funny since Alfredo sauce is not Italian) Anyway, there are open from noon to 3:00pm and everything is fresh and delicious! You choose your pasta and from the vast array of various sauces all made fresh to order. It is served in what looks like a Chinese take out container but it truly is amazing. My suggestion is to get there when they open, we were the first ones in line and the line was wrapped around the building 15 minutes later. The other great thing is that its very reasonable with only 7-9 euro per order and it is a lot of food.
Another great spot for drinks that is off the beaten path is called Taverna al Remer which is located in Cannaregio. If you can get there before 7:30 pm there are speciality cocktails at Happy Hour prices. They put lots of love in every drink as it takes them a little while to make them. You can find the Italian signature drink Bellini (which is Peach) they also have Mojito’s, an Italian version of a Cosmo, Margarita’s and a few others that are part of the Happy Hour experience.
To the South West of the main drag you can find Campo Santa Margherita which has a lot of different bars and restaurants. It’s about a 20 minute walk from Rialto (if you don’t get lost) The down side is it’s where all the kids go to hang out but the upside is that there are no tourists and its much less expensive. One thing I found odd was located in one of the bars was a breathalyzer test….. there are no streets or cars in Venice, so I’m assuming it was a novelty.
Here are some picture of the City at night along the walk back from Campo Santa Margherita….
People will tell you to go to the famous “Harry’s Bar” but bring a ton of cash… a single caffe will run you 9 euros where its less than 2 pretty much everywhere else in Italy. Drinks are upwards of 18-25 euros each! I would show you pictures however they are strongly discouraged there, go figure.
Lastly, I leave you with images from all around the city taken from the water taxi and else where enjoy.