Q. How much would it cost to take a gondola ride?
Q. Which museums and galleries are considered the most important in Venice?
Q. Is there a website through which I can buy public tourist services in advance?
Q. What are the most important events in the 2013 Venice calendar?
Q. What does it look like in Venice today (webcams) and what's the weather forecast?
Q. What books/iPhone apps about Venice do you recommend?
Q. Can you explain the special Italian/Venetian terms that I may come across while in Venice?
Q. I would like to attend a cookery class in Venice, is this possible?
Q. I'd love to spend some time at the beach while I'm in Venice this summer, are there any closeby?
Q. Which are the best attractions for children in Venice?
Q. Venice with a wheelchair, is it possible?
Q. What is "Acqua Alta" or "High Water" and should I bring Wellington/rubber boots?
Q. Where can I buy food during my stay?
Venice is made up of six different districts, each known as a ‘sestiere’ in Venetian (plural = 'sestieri'). Here we dish up a little flavour of each along with some of their highlights which you might like to visit during your stay in Venice.
(*to avoid disappointment, please check opening hours of museums, churches, restaurants etc. before planning a visit).
Probably the best known of all the Venetian sestieri and home to one of the most instantly recognisable open spaces in the world, St. Mark’s Square. An area of almost dual personality with unmissable attractions, hotels and commerce lying just moments away from an altogether different Venice of quiet residential calles, campos and canals tucked away from the tourist crowds.
Endlessly fascinating, with lots to see and do and never, ever boring!
• St Mark’s Square and Basilica
• The Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) - click HERE (Museums) for a 'Virtual Map/Tour' of the Palace.
• The Campanile (Bell Tower)
• The Columns of St Theodore and the winged Lion of St. Mark
• The Orchestras of Caffé Florian and Quadri
• The Clock Tower (Torre dell’Orologio) - view it HERE on YouTube
• The Correr Museum - view it HERE on YouTube
• Teatro La Fenice
• Musica a Palazzo
• Scala Contarini del Bovolo
• Palazzo Fortuny (Museum of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, famous photographer, painter, stage and textile designer) - view it HERE on YouTube
• Palazzo Grassi Museum of Modern Art
• The little Island of San Giorgio Maggiore with its imposing Palladio Church and Campanile (and spectacular views) also comes under the sestiere of San Marco and is well worth a special trip.
The ancient commercial heart of the city and today a thriving district characterised by the historic Rialto Market (dating from the 11th Century) where you’ll find the famous fish, fruit and vegetable markets, a rich variety of specialist food shops, traditional ‘bacari’ and interesting emporia dotted throughout a richly atmospheric network of tiny alleyways.
Home to the largest campo in Venice - Campo San Polo - and to the magnificent Church of the Frari.
• The Rialto Markets (Fish, fruit and vegetable markets, open Tues-Sat mornings only).
• The Church of the Frari (Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari)
• Scuola Grande di San Rocco
• Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista
A delightful area in the southern part of Venice, favoured by many an artist, writer, academic and Venice-lover drawn to the world famous museums, fine restaurants and quintessentially Venetian scenes which characterise this much-loved part of the city.
Home to a number of University departments, the colourful Campo San Barnaba and Campo Santa Margherita - one of the city’s largest campos and one of its nicest and popular with students and families who gather to touch base with friends and have fun while enjoying the easy-going ambience of its many cafes, bars and shops. The area is close to many of the city’s major attractions and only a short walk to the district of San Marco via the Accademia Bridge with its spectacular views of the Grand Canal.
The sestiere of Dorsoduro also encompasses the island of Giudecca which can be seen from the ‘Zattere’ - a wide promenade on Dorsoduro’s southern embankment with cafes, restaurants, gelaterie and yet more extraordinary views, this time across the boat-filled waters of the Giudecca Canal.
• The Accademia Galleries (Gallerie dell’Accademia)
• The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (European and American art of the first half of the 20th Century)
• Ca’ Rezzonico (Museum of 18th Century Art) - click HERE (Museums) for a 'Virtual Map/Tour' of the Museum.
• Campo San Barnaba and Campo Santa Margherita
• The Church of Santa Maria Della Salute next to the newly opened…
• …Punta Della Dogana Center of Contemporary Art
• Scuola Grande dei Carmini
• The Church of San Nicolo Dei Mendicoli (one of the most beautiful in all of Venice and well worth the walk to its quiet parish)
• The Church of San Sebastiano (with its Veronese paintings)
• The Church of Angelo Raffaele (with its statue and Guardi paintings of Tobias and the Angel Raffaele)
• The Anglican Church of St.George's at Campo San Vio
• Squero San Trovaso gondola boatyard
• The Zattere Waterfront (see above)
• The Ca' Foscari Tour
• The Island of Giudecca with its Palladio Church of the Redentore
A beautiful sestiere lying to the north of the city and characterised by peaceful residential areas, long and wide fondamente flanked by popular canalside restaurants, the ancient Jewish Ghetto (the oldest in Europe) and the Fondamente Nove - Venice’s northern waterfront overlooking the lagoon and the cemetery island of San Michele.
An area of wonderful churches offering delightful insights into an undiscovered Venice, Cannaregio is also well served by the shops and stores along its busy main artery which runs the length of the district from the station in the west all the way over to Campo Santi Apostoli in the east. Also, home to the Cannaregio Canal, one of the widest and liveliest working canals in the city.
• The Jewish Ghetto
• The Jewish Museum of Venice (Museo Ebraico)
• The Church of Santa Maria Dei Miracoli
• The Church of Madonna De L’Orto - with its paintings by legendary Italian Renaissance painter Tintoretto, who had a studio nearby on Fondamenta Dei Mori, and who is buried in this church.
• The Church of the Gesuiti (not to be confused with the Gesuati - Santa Maria dei Rosario on the Zattere in Dorsoduro)
• Ca’ D’Oro (Franchetti Gallery Ca’ D’Oro)
• The Fondamente Nove waterfront (see above)
A relatively non-touristy area lying just west of the Rialto area and home to one of Venice’s most neighbourly campos, Campo San Giacomo Dell’Orio - a very pretty square with a strong community spirit and a sprinkling of trees, benches plus many well-reviewed places to eat such as ‘Al Prosecco’, ‘Antica Besseta’, the canalside ‘all Zucca’ and, walking closer towards Rialto/San Polo, ‘Al Vecio Fritolin’, ‘al Nono Risorto’ and, just over the sestiere border and into San Polo, the exclusive ‘Da Fiore’.
Only a few minutes along the winding calles to the Church of the Frari and Campo San Polo in the south.
• The Church and Campo of San Giacomo Dell’ Orio
• Ca’ Pesaro (International Gallery of Modern Art) - click HERE (Museums) for a 'Virtual Map/Tour' of the Gallery, or view it HERE on YouTube
• Palazzo Mocenigo at San Stae (Costume Museum) - view it HERE on YouTube
Venice’s largest sestiere lying to the east of the San Marco and Cannaregio districts and stretching all the way over to the Arsenale, Giardini and beyond.
Stepping away from the vibrancy and energy of the St. Mark’s Square district, Castello gradually transforms into a charming neighbourhood of sleepy campos, laundry gently flapping in the breeze and local businesses catering to a peaceful and very Venetian way of life lived out amongst its quiet backwaters.
• The Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Zanipolo)
• The Arsenale
• Museo Storico Navale di Venezia (Naval Museum)
• Fondazione Querini Stampalia – Museum
• Palazzo Grimani Museum, recently opened after a lengthy restoration (please note that tours of Palazzo Grimani must be pre-booked and are conducted in Italian).
• Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni (with its paintings by Carpaccio)
• Museo di Dipinti Sacri Byzanti (Collection of Byzantine Icons)
• The Church of ‘La Pieta’ (Vivaldi’s Church)
• The Biennale Pavilions
• 'La Donna Partigiana' on the Riva Dei Partigiana at Giardini - a moving memorial to all the women killed fighting in WW2, a bronze statue of a woman lying beneath the waters of the Bacino, only emerging at the water's edge at low tide.
A. Information on the official gondola rates can be found on gondolavenezia.
Those interested in learning more about the gondola and the extraordinary craftsmanship surrounding one of the most famous symbols of Venice will enjoy browsing ‘el felze’. The website also discusses the traditional clothing worn by the Venetian gondolier, including the authentic straw hat still crafted in the workshop of milliner Giuliana Longo, and sold in her shop alongside the traditional black velvet beret worn by the gondolier in winter.
Or perhaps you’re a boating fan who’s interested in traditional Venetian craft and are eager to try your hand at making a replica model of your very own? If so, take a look at the website of Venetian boat expert Gilberto Penzo.
A. With such an amazing number and variety of museums and galleries to choose from, narrowing down your choice can sometimes prove quite a challenge! However, the following are probably considered top of the list:
- Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace - with online booking for the ‘Secret Itineraries’ tour) - click HERE (Museums) for a 'Virtual Map/Tour' of the Palace
- Saint Mark’s Basilica
- The Clock Tower, St.Marks’s Square - view it HERE on YouTube
- The Correr Museum (Museo Correr – Museum of Venetian History and Art) - view it HERE on YouTube
- Palazzo Grassi (modern art museum)
- Punta Della Dogana Museum of Contemporary Art
- The Venice Biennale
- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (European and American art of the first half of the 20th Century)
- The Accademia Galleries (Gallerie dell’Accademia)
- Scuolo Grande di San Rocco (with its feast of Tintoretto paintings)
- Teatro La Fenice (for tours of the theatre as well as performances)
- Ca’ Rezzonico (Museum of 18th Century Art) - click HERE (Museums) for a 'Virtual Map/Tour' of the Museum
- Ca’ Pesaro (International Gallery of Modern Art) - click HERE (Museums) for a 'Virtual Map/Tour' of the Gallery, or view it HERE on YouTube
- Palazzo Fortuny (Museum of Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, famous photographer, painter, stage and textile designer) - view it HERE on YouTube
- Palazzo Mocenigo at San Stae (Costume Museum) - view it HERE on YouTube
- Museo Storico Navale di Venezia (Naval Museum)
- Jewish Museum of Venice (on the site of Europe’s oldest ghetto)
- The Glass Museum (on the island of Murano) -
Click here for further details of the 'Glass in Action - from the Museum to the Furnace' Guided Tour which includes admission to the Glass Museum and a guided tour, a glasswork demonstration and the screening of a documentary film at the 'Scuola del Vetro Abate Zanetti' Glass School.
- The Lace Museum (on the island of Burano) – due to re-open at 11 a.m. on Saturday 25 June 2011 after a period of requalification and restoration works
A. Yes - for further details take a look at http://www.veniceconnected.com/ .
A. Perhaps you’d like to plan your visit to Venice around one of the many cultural, sporting or musical events taking place in the city each year or maybe you’ll simply discover that, by happy coincidence, you can attend one of those listed here during your forthcoming holiday. And for news of ad-hoc events etc., take a look at our Facebook page
(please note that the actual dates of some events listed below will be specified as soon as they are confirmed and that further events will be added as their details/dates become known).
6 January - (Epiphany)
Regata delle Befane - An ancient Italian tradition which, in Venice, involves a rowing competition along the Grand Canal (starting at San Toma and ending at the Rialto Bridge) between men dressed as the Italian witch-like character well known to all Italian children as ‘Befana’. The ‘Befane’ aim to be first to reach the giant stocking hung especially for the occasion from the Rialto Bridge.
The ‘Procession of the Magi’ - The Clock Tower (Torre dell’ Orologio), St. Mark’s Square – Have your cameras at the ready to capture this rare display, only visible at Epiphany and on Ascension Day. Hourly (and as the clock strikes the hour), the recently restored wooden figures of the Angel with Trumpet and the Three Kings (or 'Magi'), emerge from behind the small ornate door on the left hand side of the clock tower in order to make their brief and time-honoured mechanical procession along the loggia in front of the gilded bronze statue of the Madonna and Child, before disappearing until their next appearance, through another small door on the opposite side of the tower.
2 February - 12 February 2013 (with a first weekend of events the 26 - 27 January)
The Venice Carnival (Carnevale) – A festival famous throughout the world for its theatricality and exuberance, its masks and merriment. A time of grand balls, celebrating in the squares, elaborate disguises and time-honoured traditions harking all the way back to the 13th century.
Date to be confirmed
Su e Zo per I ponti - (‘up and down the bridges’) All are welcome to take part in this annual non-competitive walk through Venice, starting at the Ponte della Paglia, winding along the calli and campi of the different sestieri (districts) of the city and finally ending in St Mark’s Square.. A fun way of getting to know the city, there are two routes - one of around 5 miles crossing 45 bridges and a shorter one of about 3.5 miles crossing 32 bridges.
28 March 2013 - Maundy Thursday
Benedizione del Fuoco – St. Mark’s Basilica. At around sunset, a torch is lit in the atrium of the darkened Basilica and a procession takes place with candles being lit one by one as it makes its way around. Communion is celebrated.
5-7 and 12 -14 April 2013
Venice International Boat Show – The 12th edition, held at the Parco San Giuliano in Mestre. Further details can be found here.
25th of April.
St Mark's Day / Festa del Bocolo - A feast in honour of St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. On this day Venetian men give their loved ones a single red rose known as a "Bòcolo".
12 May 2013 - (The first Sunday after Ascension Day)
Festa e Regata della Sensa - The symbolic marriage of Venice to the sea. The Mayor of Venice, civic dignitaries and religious and military representatives leave St Mark's Square and sail, accompanied by boats and rowers in historic costume, to the Port of S. Nicolò where they ritually throw a ring into the ocean. A laurel wreath is also laid in memory of those lost at sea. There is a ceremony of the "Wedding with the Sea" in front of the Church of S. Nicolò di Lido followed by a Regatta of the Sensa and Holy Mass at the church of S. Nicolò di Lido. A Sensa market also takes place at S.Nicolò.
19 May 2013
Vogalonga - A spectacular event attracting worldwide interest from spectators and participants alike. The vogalonga is a strenuous but friendly rowing race from St Mark’s Basin to the island of Burano returning via the Cannaregio Canal and Grand Canal before finally ending at the Punta Della Dogana. All kinds of rowing boats are involved, many from overseas. Started in 1975 by a group of rowing enthusiasts, the event is a visual feast with 1550 boats and 5800 participants taking part in 2007.
Last week of June
Festa di San Pietro in Castello – traditional festivities celebrated in this ancient parish found to the east of the city.
20 - 21 July 2013 - (Third Weekend in July)
Festa del Redentore - One of the Venetians' most loved events which came into being as a feast to give thanks for the end of the plague of 1575. A pontoon bridge is built every year from the Zattere in Dorsoduro over to the Church of the Redentore on the island of Giudecca. At sunset on the Saturday a large number of decorated boats begin congregating in St Mark's Basin and people line the lantern-strung waterfronts to party, eat traditional food and to wait for the fireworks to begin (a breathtaking spectacle which begins at 11.30pm and lasts until after midnight). A wonderfully atmospheric evening which is followed on the Sunday with church services and a regatta on the Giudecca Canal. Watch a brief clip of the 2009 fireworks.
1st June - 24th November 2013 (Preview: 29th, 30th, 31st May).
Art Biennale 2013. The 55th International Art Exhibition
September 2013 (Date to be confirmed)
The 67th Venice International Film Festival - The Venice International Film Festival on the island of the Lido is the oldest and one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world where films battle it out to win the coveted Golden Lion award while film stars dazzle on the red carpet.
1 September 2013 - (the first Sunday in September)
Regata Storica - This spectacularly colourful Venetian event, is a re-evocation of the welcome given to Caterina Cornaro, wife of the King of Cyprus, in 1489 after she renounced her throne in favour of Venice. There is a procession of 16th century style boats, dozens of multi-coloured and decorated craft with people in period costume and numerous races, all watched and cheered on by crowds of supporters lining the banks of the Grand Canal.
27 October 2013
Venice Marathon - The 28th Venice Marathon, covering a distance of 26 miles, starts in the small country town of Stra to the west of Venice and proceeds into Venice, passing the Zattere, St Mark’s Square and the Palazzo Ducale before finally finishing on the Riva Sette Martiri, the much- photographed embankment facing the lagoon in the Castello area of the city.
21st of November
Festa della Salute - One of the most moving and best loved of all Venetian events. Every year on the 21st of November, Venetians make a pilgrimage to the plague church of Santa Maria Della Salute (St. Mary of Health) to pray to the Virgin Mary and to light candles. Gondoliers visit bringing their oars to be blessed. A pontoon bridge is built across the Grand Canal from Santa Maria del Giglio to the Salute and the huge doors of the church are opened to the city and its visitors.
A. Enjoy the webcam views and see what the weather has in store.
A. Books/iPhone apps we recommend...
…that you may be interested in buying before your Venice holiday:
- Venice Osterie – bars, wine bars, trattorias, restaurants - a handbook for discriminating diners – by Michela Scibilia .... also available as an iPhone app (Tapvenice Eating) to download from iTunes/Apple Store
- Venice Botteghe – antiques, bijouterie, coffee, cakes, carpets, glass…a handbook for self-assured shoppers - by Michela Scibilia
- Time Out - Venice: Verona, Treviso and the Veneto
- Venice – by Jan Morris
- Venice - Francesco da Mosto (and to get you in the holiday mood, we recommend Francesco’s very popular BBC TV series entitled ‘Venice’, available on DVD – Region 2)
- Venice is a Fish – by Tiziano Scarpa
- Secret Venice local guides by local people - Thomas Jonglez and Paola Zoffoli
- Kids Go Europe: Treasure Hunt Venice (Spiral-bound) - by Ellen Mouchawar; Marvin Mouchawar
... and those available from a variety of bookshops in Venice:
- The Abandoned Islands of the Venetian Lagoon: Isole Abbandonate Della Laguna Veneta (Paperback) (Also available from SanMarcoPress) by Giorgio Crovato (Author), Maurizio Crovato (Author), John Francis Phillimore (Editor), Chris Wayman (Editor), Anna Bellani (Translator), Jenny Condie (Translator).
- The Secret Venice of Corto Maltese. Fantastic and Hidden Itineraries – by Vianello Lele and Fuga Guido
- My Local Guide -Venice. The city through the eyes of the locals - Lightbox
- Venetian Legends and Ghost Stories - Alberto Toso Fei
- VivaVenice - Paola Zoffoli & Paola Scibilia (for children)
A. Venice, unique and distinctive in its charms and way of life also has its own unique and special names for many of the features you’ll come across while ambling through the city. Browse our glossary containing a mixture of Venetian and Italian terms which will help you to get your bearings during your holiday.
You may also find that the spellings of place names and locations may vary from map to book and even from street to street depending on use of dialect etc. For example, ‘Campo Sant’ Angelo’ (Italian) may be written as ‘Campo Sant’ Anzolo’ (Venetian dialect) and ‘Ghetto Nuovo’ may be signposted as ‘Gheto Novo’ etc.
- Sestiere/Sestieri – The name given to the districts of Venice, of which there are 6, namely
Dorsoduro (which includes the island of Giudecca)
A note on Venetian Addresses – these are usually written as sestiere and the house/apartment number within that sestiere. Street names are often not given eg. The address of the Views on Venice office in Venice is:
San Marco 4267/A,
Each sestiere has its own house/apartment numbers within it, running in sequence.
Also, at certain points around the city, you will see yellow painted signs on the streets giving arrowed directions to various areas of the city eg. ‘Per Rialto’, ‘Per Accademia’, ‘Per San Marco’ and ‘Per Piazzale Roma’ etc.
Don’t be alarmed, however, if you see these yellow signs pointing in 2 opposite directions to the same place, as there is often more than one way of getting there! Such is the maze that is Venice!
Parrocchia – parish
Borgoloco – a village-like district, eg. Borgoloco San Lorenzo.
Calle – street or alleyway
Calletta – a smaller, narrower street or alleyway
Calle Lunga/Longa – a long street
Calle Stretta – a narrow street
Sottoportego – a covered passageway between two buildings
Salizzada – an important street which in ‘olden days’ used to be paved, unlike the calles which were simply compacted earth. The term is still used to this day, even though all streets are now paved.
Masegni – Venetian paving stones
Lista – a street or area where there used to be an embassy in times gone by eg. Lista Dei Bari in Santa Croce and Lista Di Spagna in Cannaregio
Strada – Street (the only street known as ‘strada’ in Venice being the long shop-lined Strada Nova in Cannaregio).
Via – another name for a street, although very few streets in Venice are called ‘via’ (Via Garibaldi in the Castello district is one example). Most streets are called ‘calle’.
Rio Tera – a canal which has been filled in to make a street. If you look closely at the ground when walking down a Rio Tera, you can often make out the original sides of the canal because of the different type of stone which may have been used to pave it over.
Ruga – a street with a number of shops
Ramo – a small street leading off a larger calle
Piazza – ‘The’ Square (the only Piazza in Venice being Piazza San Marco)
Piazzetta – a smaller square (there are only 2 of these in Venice). One Piazzeta is situated by the Palazzo Ducale and is known as Piazzetta San Marco and the other is called Piazzetta Leoni and is found to the side of St. Mark’s Basilica). The other squares are known as ‘Campos’ or ‘Campi’ in Italian…
Campo – a square
Campiello – a small square
Corte – a courtyard
Cortile – a large courtyard
Nizioleti – this is the name given to the black and white place names which you can see painted on the sides of the streets, squares and courtyards etc.
Pozzo – a well found in a campo or corte
Vera da Pozzo – a stone well-head, often very ornate
San/Santa – Saint (eg. San Polo, Santa Margherita)
Chiesa – a church
Abbazia – an abbey
Campanile – the bell tower of a church eg. the campanile of Chiesa Santi Apostoli, overlooked by penthouse for two - Ca' Bellini
Laguna – Lagoon
Canale – a large canal eg. Canale Grande, Canale Cannaregio, Canale della Giudecca. The smaller canals are known as…
Rio/Rii – canal/canals, some of which are signposted…
‘Senso Unico’ – meaning that they are ‘One Way’ to boating traffic
Riello – a small canal
Traghetto – the Gondola ferry (a number of these can be found at certain points along the Grand Canal (see below) and are usually indicated on a good map) in which two gondoliers row passengers from one side to the other. It’s traditional to stand up while you make the crossing but you are allowed to sit down instead, if you so wish! (it’s customary to pay the Gondolier 2,00 euros - 0,70 if you have the Imob card - per person per crossing as you board, preferably with the correct change). Watch the San Toma Traghetto crossing the Grand Canal from the windows of apartment Ca' Gondola.
The traghetto services can be found at the following points/districts along the Grand Canal, but please bear in mind that the hours/days of operation of each vary so it would be wise to check before planning a journey -
Looking at the map of Venice and the Grand Canal from the top of the map to the bottom...
Fondamenta Di San Simeon Piccolo (pm Santa Croce) - Fondamenta Di Santa Lucia at the Stazione/Ferrovia (Cannaregio)
Fondaco dei Turchi (Santa Croce) - Campo San Marcuola (Cannaregio) –
7.45 am - 1 pm; Summer: 8 am - 12.00 pm;
not on Sundays and holidays
Rialto Fish Market (San Polo) - Campo Santa Sofia (Cannaregio) –
7.30 am - 8 pm;
Sundays and holidays 8.45 am - 7 pm
Riva Del Vin at San Silvestro (San Polo) - Riva Del Carbon near Rialto (San Marco) –
8.00 am - 1 pm;
not on Sundays and holidays
San Toma (San Polo) - Calle Del Tragheto near Sant' Angelo (San Marco) –
7.30 am - 8 pm;
Sundays and holidays 8.30 am - 8.30 pm
Ca' Rezzonico (Dorsoduro) - San Samuele (San Marco) -
7.30 am - 1.30 pm;
not on Sundays and holidays
Calle Del Tragheto San Gregorio/Calle Lanza (Dorsoduro) - Campo Del Traghetto near Santa Maria Del Giglio (San Marco) –
Every day 9 am - 6 pm
Punta Della Dogana nr. Salute (Dorsoduro) – Calle Vallaresso (San Marco) –
Every day 9 am - 2 pm
Vaporetto/vaporetti – water bus/es
Motoscafo/motoscafi – water taxi/s
Ponte – bridge. There are over 400 bridges in Venice with just 4 spanning the Grand Canal, namely -
Ponte Dei Scalzi
Ponte Di Rialto
…and the new glass bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava and named
‘Ponte Della Costituzione’, which opened in 2008 and links the railway station (Ferrovia/ Stazione Santa Lucia) with Piazzale Roma.
Fondamenta - a street running alongside a canal eg. Fondamente Nove in Cannaregio, from where you can catch the vaporetto to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello. Or the Fondamenta San Basegio, location of Ca' San Sebastiano.
Riva – a street running alongside a quay where boats are moored. eg. Riva Degli Schiavoni near St Mark’s Square
Molo – the quay in front of the Doge’s Palace (Palazzo Ducale) and the Piazzeta San Marco
Bacino (San Marco) – St Mark’s Basin. The stretch of water between St. Mark’s Square and the Lido, the island of Giudecca and the Grand Canal.
Piscina – a lake or pond that has been filled in to make a street eg. Piscina San Samuele, very near apartment Ca' Grassi 1.
Giardino/Giardini – garden/s. For details of our range of apartments with gardens/courtyards/terraces, or a combination of these, click here.
Spiaggia – a beach
Casa (sometimes shortened to Ca’) – a house/apartment, and the name given to all properties in the ‘Views on Venice’ portfolio
Palazzo – a palace
Palazzetto – a small palace
Piano Nobile – The ‘noble’, and usually the most important floor of a palazzo (‘Piano’ = ‘floor’ in Italian).
Often decorated in grand and impressive fashion to showcase the wealth and power exerted by its original owners eg. Ca’ Cerchieri Piano Nobile
Mezzanine – a floor in a building inserted above another floor eg. apartment Ca’ Cerchieri Mezzanine
Mansardine – the attic floor of a building, sometimes featuring sloping ceilings and beams, e.g. that found in apartment Ca' Colombina
Venetian Terrazzo Flooring – an ancient flooring technique in which marble chips are set in a thick base and then highly polished. The marble is sometimes laid to form patterns
Rialzato – a ground floor which has been raised in an attempt to avoid the effects of…
Acqua Alta – the exceptionally ‘high water’ flooding which occasionally occurs in Venice, usually in the Autumn/Winter seasons
Passerelle - the raised wooden walkways put out by the city in the event of Acqua Alta in order to help residents and visitors make their way around the main streets of Venice
Ferrovia/Stazione – a station
Aeroporto – an airport (Volo – flight)
Bottega – a shop or workshop
Mercato – a market
Supermercato – a supermarket (for details of supermarkets in Venice, click here)
Tabacchi – a tobacconist shop which may also sell postage stamps, phone cards etc.
Pescheria – fish market
Erbaria – vegetable market
Gelateria – an ice-cream shop
Farmacia – a pharmacy
Enoteca – a wine shop which may also serve food
Bacaro – a bar/tavern
Osteria/Taverna – a bar/tavern serving simple food
Spritz - the popular Venetian orange coloured 'aperitivo' made with white wine or prosecco, soda water and either 'Aperol'/'Campari'/'Select' /'Cynar', topped off with an olive, piece of lemon or orange
Ombra - a small glass of red or white wine drunk at the bar, named as such after the practice followed by wine merchants in olden days who used to maintain their wine at a suitable temperature by keeping it within the moving shadow ('ombra') of the Campanile (Bell Tower) in St. Mark's Square
Sgropin/sgroppino - A white, creamy, frothy looking digestive made with lemon ice cream, vodka and prosecco, served at the end of a meal
Cicheti - traditional Venetian bar snacks (usually seen on the bar counter) and rather like tapas and which can include, among many other things, such tasty items as carciofi (artichoke hearts), polpette (meatballs/rissoles) and crostini with various toppings (including the very typical Venetian 'baccala mantecato' - creamed salt cod). A plate of these eaten standing at the bar and washed down with an 'ombra' or two (see above) can make for a delicious and inexpensive alternative to a sit-down lunch
Tramezzini - plump little sandwiches made with soft white bread and a variety of yummy fillings
Museo – A museum
Fontego/Fondaco – an ancient warehouse used to provide lodgings for foreign merchants from overseas. eg. Fondaco Dei Tedeschi on the Grand Canal at Rialto. Used from the 13th Century by German merchants, the Fontego is now Venice’s main post office and is found just around the corner from the apartment Ca’ Giulia
Ospedale – hospital
Vigili di Fuoco - Fire Brigade
Carabinieri – Police
A. There are many cookery schools in Venice, but the one we like to recommend is
A Venetian by birth, with cooking schools in both Venice and London and recently appearing on Jamie Oliver's Channel 4 programme 'Jamie Does...Venice',
"…Rocca’s cooking, like her temperament, is joyous, expansive and cultured…you will have your enthusiasm and love of food fired up…" - David Baker of the Financial Times.
Consult Enrica’s website too for some spot-on insider tips and suggestions on Venetian restaurants and bacari as well as details of her favourite food and wine shops, some of which may well become your favourites too!
A. If you’re visiting Venice in the summer months, then you might be tempted to spend some sunny and relaxing time at one of the beaches on the Lido - a long, narrow island separating Venice from the Adriatic Sea and which can be quickly and easily reached by taking the vaporetto from the centre of the city.
Traditionally beaches have been segregated into either free public beaches or private beaches belonging to certain hotels or private/public companies which charge for facilities such as beach hut (‘capanna’) occupancy, sun loungers & parasols etc. on their area of beach and it was forbidden for non-paying individuals to settle down and relax on any part of that beach.
However in 2011, Venice’s Mayor announced that these hotels and private/public companies will no longer be able to restrict use of the beaches in this way. Their designated areas will be marked by boundaries leaving the remainder of these beaches available for the (free) enjoyment of all.
The Lido’s most central and traditionally public (free) beach can be found at the end of the main street (the ‘Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta’) which is a short walk from the vaporetto stop of Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta.
Alternatively, the formerly all-private beaches which can now be accessed by non-paying individuals but where the hotels or private/public companies still charge for use of their beach facilities such as beach huts etc. within their designated areas, include -
- the Excelsior/Amaranti Beach, the Quattro Fontane Beach and the Des Bains Beach (please see www.sabvenezialido.com * for details)
- the Lungomare D’Annunzio and San Nicolò beaches (www.veneziaspiagge.it *),
- while at the western end of the Lido lies Alberoni (www.bagnialberoni.com *) which has its traditionally public (free) beach and a private beach. Famous as the setting for the final beach scene in the 1971 Luchino Visconti directed film ‘Death in Venice’ starring Dirk Bogarde and for its pine forest and historic golf club, Alberoni can be reached by taking a combination of vaporetto from Venice to Lido Santa Maria Elisabetta and then local bus or via a scenic ride on a summer boat service operating from Venice's Zattere waterfront to Alberoni (see www.terminalfusina.it* for details of the summer timetable.)
(*please note that the tariffs/rates for use of beach facilities & the timetables etc. featured on these websites may not have been updated).
And for travel writer and historian Robin Saikia's very personal insight into the island of the Lido plus details of his new book ‘The Venice Lido’ published by Blue Guides - 'the first ever full-length historical and cultural guide to Venice's glamorous beach resort', take a look at www.thevenicelido.com
A. With its shimmering canals, sleek boats, fairytale palaces and mysteries, Venice can be an exciting and unforgettable experience for your children. Take a look at some of our suggestions for things to do on a family visit, a number of which, depending on the ages and interests of your children, are sure to prove popular.
- A trip down the length of the Grand Canal on the water bus (vaporetto). Travelling by water is always exciting for children and this is a great way for kids to view the sumptuous palaces lining the Grand Canal, without tiring little legs.
- The Campanile of St. Mark’s and San Giorgio Maggiore. Take the lifts up to the top of these campanile (bell towers) for fascinating birds-eye views of the city stretching, on a clear day, to the snow capped Dolomite mountains. See how many other bell towers you can spot (but do avoid being at the top when the bells strike if you have very young ones!)
- The ‘Secret Itineraries Tour’ of the Doge’s Palace. Bring history alive for your children by taking this special guided tour of the Doge’s Palace which allows visitors into the secret chambers, passageways and areas not normally accessible. The tour, which needs to be booked in advance and lasts around 1 hour 15 minutes, also visits the ‘Piombi’ or ‘Leads’ in which the legendary Giacomo Casanova was imprisoned and from which he famously escaped.
- Single-Use ‘disposable’ cameras. Buying your children an inexpensive single-use ‘disposable’ camera each will allow them to ‘get creative’ by capturing their own images of the city, perhaps along set themes (e.g. gargoyles, doorknockers, well heads, shrines, bridges, lions...the list is endless!)
- Rialto Market. Children love the vibrancy of the fish market as well as the sheer variety of sea and lagoon creatures on display, many of which they may never have seen before. Marvel at the writhing eel, the miniature snail, the inky cuttlefish, the scrambling crab and the impressive snout of the majestic swordfish. (Open mornings only - the earlier the better -Tuesday to Saturday).
- Glass Blowing on Murano. Take a trip on the vaporetto to the island of Murano to watch a glass blowing demonstration and spend some time browsing shops brimming with inexpensive miniature flora and fauna, beads and baubles, all fashioned in multicoloured glass.
- The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. A favourite museum with many children, partly due to its sculpture-dotted gardens and stone ‘throne’ as well as the striking art on display. The museum also runs a ‘Kids Day’ which, according to their website, ‘is an educational program designed to introduce children between 4 and 10 years of age to modern and contemporary art and to make their visit to the museum more comprehensible. Kids Day occurs every SUNDAY from 3.00 to 4.30 pm at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The program begins with a brief tour of the museum centred on the theme of the day, introducing children to ideas and concepts presented in museum and focusing on an artistic movement, a technique, a particular artist, etc. Afterwards, the children participate in a workshop to have the opportunity to put into practice what they saw during the tour. The program is primarily conducted in Italian, but the numerous foreign interns at the museum make the activities often available in other languages.
For further details of ‘Kids Day’ click here.
- Venetian Masks. Children love browsing the magical grotto-like mask shops with their myriad designs and fantastical character masks. Perhaps, as a family, you would like to take a course in mask decoration at ‘Ca Macana’, one of a number of mask making workshops to be found in the Dorsoduro area of the city.
- Palazzo Mocenigo (Costume Museum) and Palazzo Fortuny. Children with an interest in the fashions of a bygone era will be delighted by the beautiful garments on show at these two separate museums, one to be found near the San Stae vaporetto stop in Santa Croce and the other near the Sant’ Angelo stop in San Marco - take a brief look at them here and here on YouTube.
- The Naval Museum (Museo Storico Navale di Venezia). The Venetian Empire’s reliance on the sea for its strength and power in days gone by is plainly evident in this museum with its comprehensive displays of everything maritime including model ships, cannons, historic uniforms and even a model of the golden ‘Bucintoro’, the ancient state galley of the Doges of Venice. (Near the Arsenale vaporetto stop).
- Visit the Museum Shop first? A great tip to keep your child's interest levels up when visiting a museum is to make the museum shop your first point of call. Buy a selection of postcards and challenge your child to find the objects/pictures on the postcards while together you work your way around the exhibits on show.
- Church and Campo San Barnaba. A must-see for any children who are fans of the fictional adventurer Indiana Jones, this church exterior is the setting of the library featured in the film ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’. One of the nicest squares in which to stop for a soft drink, rest weary legs and plan your next activity.
- The Lido. Ideal for cooling down during the hot summer months, grab your swimming costumes and take the vaporetto over to the Lido island for a refreshing dip in the sea.
- Ice-Cream, Pizza and Pasta. In our opinion, Italy has the best ice-cream (gelato) in the world, with all sorts of unusual and scrumptious flavours on offer at gelaterie all over the city! And with pizza and pasta also readily available, this usually makes for a very happy crew!
- ...and not forgetting BOOKS on Venice aimed at children and their families:
- VivaVenice - Paola Zoffoli & Paola Scibilia
- Kids Go Europe: Treasure Hunt Venice (Spiral-bound) - by Ellen Mouchawar; Marvin Mouchawar
A. If you are considering a visit to Venice and have impaired mobility, then take a look at the information on accessibility available from the City Council of Venice (see 'Accessible Venice' on the side bar). Details include information on itineraries without barriers - 'some of the proposed routes have been reported by disabled people living in cities and their relatives, who wanted to make available to all, with great passion, their experience of everyday life..’
Also well worth a read is the very comprehensive article: Venice for the disabled (from the popular ‘Tripadvisor’ travel website), which is full of useful information and tips based on actual traveller experience
A. For details on the phenomenon known as ‘Acqua Alta’ or ‘High Water’ which occurs from time to time in Venice, click here to go into the official City of Venice website.
There are really few chances to wear "Wellies" during a holiday in Venice. The tide in the Venetian Lagoon rises and falls twice every day and sometimes many factors overlap and the tide overflows onto some of the streets. The resulting high water is known in Italian as ‘Acqua Alta’.
The water level is measured in centimetres: when it’s over 80cm above sea level most of St. Mark’s Square is flooded as it is a low lying area of the city. This happens about 20 days a year, usually during the autumn/winter.
Only exceptional high waters affect the whole city and even on those occasions the water level is only really remarkable in the lowest areas. The following indicates how much of the city floods in relation to high water levels:-
+100 cm: 5%
+110 cm: 14%
+120 cm: 29%
+130 cm: 43%
over +140 cm 54% of the city is covered by water.
Venice and Venetians have always been used to coping with "acqua alta". If there's a sea level forecast of +110cm on the mareographic zero, the population is alerted by acoustic signals. At the same time, elevated platforms are set up along the main streets to allow passage. Public waterbuses keep on working, although some lines may be subject to changes. In any case access to most of the city is guaranteed. Only when exceptionally high waters occur (higher than 120 cm on the mareographic zero) are the famous "acqua alta boots" really needed, but even on these occasions the inconvenience lasts just as long as it takes for the water to go down again, which usually happens in a few hours.
As you may remember seeing in the media at the time, on 1st December 2008 heavy rains and strong winds caused much of the city to flood and for 4 hours some inconvenience was experienced. On the afternoon of the flooding many places were closed, but the next morning Venice was running as usual. Venetians are very used to living with Aqua Alta, and when it happens, we take it in our stride. The high water comes and it goes, never lasting more then a few hours and receding as the tide goes out.
If it does occur while you’re in Venice, one good suggestion is to find a dry bar that sells good wine, cichetti or coffee and to sit and wait for the water to go down while taking in the community spirit fostered by such an occasion... and don’t forget your camera!
It is also worth noting that there are a number of shops and stalls in the city selling Wellington/rubber boots and cheaper disposable versions should they be required.
The Tide Forecast
For a graph depicting the daily tide forecast, please refer to www.comune.venezia.it
High Water Alert Sirens
Should acqua alta be expected while you’re in Venice then don’t be alarmed to hear the high water alert sirens which are sounded throughout the city some hours in advance in order to notify residents, shopkeepers and the public in general.
These sirens are only sounded if they anticipate that the level will be 110 cm (when 14% of the surface of the city will be under water). Just to recap at +100 cm: 5%; +110 cm: 14%; +120 cm: 29%; +130 cm: 43%; over +140 cm 54% of the city is covered by water.
At the start of the high water warning, an initial siren is sounded followed by an electronic bell-like note, each one signifying an incremental increase of 10cm. So -
If a level of 110cm is expected, then you would hear the siren followed by one note
If a level of 120cm is expected, then you would hear the siren followed by two notes ascending in pitch
If a level of 130cm is expected, then you would hear the siren followed by three notes ascending in pitch
If a level of 140cm is expected, then you would hear the siren followed by four notes ascending in pitch
Note also that the signal will be repeated several times to allow you to recognize the tide level expected.
A. Venice provides many mouth-watering opportunities for food shopping, even for the most experienced ‘foodies’ amongst us. Take a stroll around the open-air markets such as the world famous fruit, vegetable and fish markets at the Rialto as well as many of the delicatessens, smaller grocery stores, butchers, wine shops, bakeries and ice cream shops, each run with pride and a strong respect for tradition. Coffee and pastry shops prove perfect for a leisurely and indulgent breakfast and you may even catch sight of a boat or two selling fruit and vegetables to locals canalside. Join in and practice your Italian while getting to know more about some of the superb local delicacies on offer.
Below are details of some of the supermarkets and food stalls where you’ll be able to stock up on any essentials you may need during your holiday. Please note that shops and supermarkets usually close for the day at around 7:30/8:00 p.m. and may be closed all day on Sunday/on Monday mornings/at lunch time. Also note that a few of the supermarkets listed here can be easy to miss due to their discreet signage, so if in doubt, ask a local!
- Punto Supermarket (now re-opened following refurbishment) – Campo Santa Margherita (opposite Il Doge Ice-cream shop and next to the Margaret Duchamp bar).Campo Santa Margherita also holds a fruit and vegetable stall and a fish stall on Tuesday-Saturday. A fruit and vegetable boat can also be found moored on the Rio Di San Barnaba, just to the side of Campo San Barnaba and next to the the Ponte Ai Pugni.
Convenient if staying at: the Ca’ Cerchieri Apartments, Ca’ Canaletto, Ca’ Barnaba Terrace, Ca’ Meraviglia, Ca' Accademia 2, Ca’ Accademia 3, Ca’ Carmini, Ca’ Delle Carrozze, Ca' Dell'Artista, Ca' Ai Putti, Ca' Elvira, Ca' Degli Armeni.
- Billa Supermarket – very near the San Basilio Vaporetto stop at the western end of the Zattere waterfront (Dorsoduro 1491/1492). Open Mon-Sat 8.30 - 20.00, Sun 9.00 - 20.00
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ San Sebastiano, Ca' Dello Squero, Ca' dello Squero 2, Ca' Ai Putti, Ca' Degli Armeni, Ca' del Rio, and Ca' Del Glicine.
- Coop Supermarket – Campo San Giacomo dell’ Orio (Santa Croce 1493)
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ Delle Oche.
- Coop Supermarket – Piazzale Roma (near the vaporetto stop) – Handy if you’re arriving in Venice by car or bus
An area which is home to the world famous Rialto fish market (Pescheria), the fruit and vegetable market and the numerous specialist food shops which surround it.
Please note that the Rialto markets are open on Tuesday-Saturday (mornings) and are well worth a special trip from any part of the city.
- Coop Supermarket – Ponte dei Meloni (quite near San Aponal at San Polo 1338a)
Convenient if staying at Ca' delle Carampane
- Billa Supermarket - near the Church of the Frari (Rio tera dei Frari - San Polo 2605/A 2605/B) Open Mon-Sat 8.00 - 20.00, Sun 9.00 - 20.00
Convenient if staying at : Ca' Gondola, Ca' Gondola Piano Nobile, Ca' Morolin, Ca' Della Frescada, Ca' Della Commedia and Ca’ Dei Nomboli.
- Coop Supermarket (At the junction of Salizzada San Lio with Calle Del Mondo Novo) with a handy fruit and vegetable stall nearby on Campo Santa Maria Formosa.
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ Dell Angelo and Ca' Della Torre
- Punto Supermarket - (Calle San Lorenzo – Castello 5065D)
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ Salvioni, Ca' San Lorenzo
- Coop Supermarket - (Calle Del Pistor – Castello 5989) (small shop between San Lio and Campo Santa Marina).
- A further supermarket can be found past the Arsenale on Via Garibaldi to the east of Castello and, at the end of Via Garibaldi, a boat selling fruit and vegetables.
A number of smaller food shops are found in this district with the nearest supermarket/stalls being the following found in Castello:
- Coop Supermarket (At the junction of Salizzada San Lio with Calle Del Mondo Novo) with a handy fruit and vegetable stall nearby on Campo Santa Maria Formosa.
Convenient if staying at: Ca' Dell' Angelo and Ca' Della Torre
- Coop Supermarket (Campo Santa Marina) opened May 2012
Convenient if staying at: Ca' Dei Miracoli,
- Or those supermarkets found across the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro/San Polo districts.
- Opened October 2012 a new Punto supermarket on the site of the old Rossini Cinema opposite the Church of San Luca (just north of Campo Manin) and in between the Sant’ Angelo and Rialto vaporetto stops.
Convenient if staying at: Ca' Della Verona, Ca' Canal, Ca' Canal Terrace, Ca' Colombina, Ca' Del Gabbiano, Ca' Del Gabbiano 2 and Ca' Regina.
- Coop Supermarket - (Rio Tera dei Francheschi/Rio Tera Santi Apostoli - Cannaregio 4612)
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ Giorgione, Ca' Bellini, Ca' Bellini 2, Ca' Della Corte, Ca’ Bembo and Ca' Giulia
- Billa Supermarket – (Sant’Alvise – Cannaregio 3027/M) Open Mon-Sat 8.30 - 20.00, Sun 9.00 - 20.00
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ Foscarina
-Sisa Supermercato (Calle del Forno - Cannaregio 2661) small supermarket near Fondamenta degli Ormesini)
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ Tintoretto, Ca' Abbazia and Ca’ Foscarina
- Prix Supermarket (easy to miss but found along the narrow Calle Longo off the Fondamenta Della Misericordia) address: Cannaregio 2592. Open Mon-Sat 8.30 - 20.00, Sun 9.00 – 13.00)
Convenient if staying at: Ca’ Tintoretto, Ca' Abbazia and Ca’ Foscarina
- Coop Supermarket - (Calle de l’Anconeta – Cannaregio 1976) small supermarket close to the Venice Casinò.
There are also fruit and vegetable stalls on Rio Tera San Leonardo and a fish stall to the side of the Guglie Bridge on the Fondamenta de Cannaregio.
It is also worth noting that, although not food-related, Venice’s only ‘department store’ - ‘COIN’ - is found in this district on Salizzada San Giovanni Grisostomo (between Santi Apostoli and Rialto), selling everything from cosmetics and perfumes to household goods and clothing for the family.