October 22, 2007

24 hours in Venice

Paris may be the city of love but for a quick romantic fix nothing beats the passion of Venice.

Morning: A sunrise trip to St Mark's Square (Piazza San Marco). Avoid the dive-bombing pigeons and throngs of snap-happy tourists as you soak up the serene atmosphere in one of Europe's most popular squares. The earlier you do it, the quieter it is. Alternatively, enjoy an early-morning breakfast at the vibrant food markets, found just off the famous Rialto Bridge. The local traders turn the mundane process of grocery shopping into a dramatic performance. Arrive by 8am if you want to see the Pescheria (fish market) and Erberia (vegetable market) in full flow. Grab some succulent fresh fruit and find a quiet corner on the Grand Canal to feed grapes to each other.

Midday: Even if a trip down the aisle is a bit premature for you, a visit to the Madonna dell'Orto (waterbus 41, 51 and 52) is guaranteed to impress and seduce in equal measure. Local experts explain that this church offers one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in the whole of Italy. The church also has its own artist in residence—renowned renaissance painter Tintoretto has his tomb here alongside a truly stunning collection of fine historical art.


Afternoon: The Palazzo Grassi is a stunning white-marble palace on the Grand Canal, which houses a fine-art collection and is always worth a visit. But if art is not your thing, then get out of the hustle and bustle and take a waterbus trip to The Venetian Lagoon—a heart-shaped body of water between the Adriatic sea and the Italian mainland that plays host to a multitude of small islands. Enjoy a hand-in-hand stroll along the long beach at the Venice Lido and stop off for coffee at one of the many beachside caf├ęs and bars to soak up the chilled atmosphere.


Evening: It's more expensive to take a gondola ride at night, but it's the best way to see the city. Ditch the Cornetto and go for champagne, and to really blow the budget get your gondolier to sing you a song. The Tronchetto and the Doge's Palace are two favoured haunts to hitch a ride from. But if gondolier rides are too touristy for you, head to Bacaro Jazz to drink, eat and dance the night away to an endless soundtrack of beautiful music . This place is a real haunt for night owls where the kitchen doesn't close until 3am—a great spot for a late-night snack. And if you want to have the gondola ride and also some average amount then it is advised to catch one near the Rialto bridge and share it five others.

STAY: If you want to stay inside Venice to enjoy it better - it would cost you some mullahs. It is suggested that you take a hotel in Mestre which is 15 minutes bus ride to the Venice island... Getting aroundVenice is ideal for the pedestrian but when water gets in the way, it's time to hop aboard one of several options.

WATER BUS: Known as vaporetto these are the cheapest way to get around on the water. The No 1 line is very popular with visitors as it travels a scenic 4km stretch of the Grand Canal. WATER TAXI: If you need to get somewhere that isn't covered by a waterbus route then hiring a water taxi will be the best way to arrive in style. But they are very expensive, so see if anyone else is going your way and split the cost.

VENICE VENUES

1. St Marks Square

2. Railto Bridge

3. Madonna dell'Orto

4.Campo Santa Margherita

5. Palazzo Grassi

6. The Tornchetto

7. Doge's Palace

8. Bacaro Jazz