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Rocks
10-22-2013, 09:12 AM
I'm leaving soon! I'm flying into Verona and staying there for less than two days. Then I'm off to Venice! A city I've always wanted to see. I'll be there for 6 days, checking out the Biennale. Both Venice and the Biennale have been on my bucket list since I heard of them. Any advice on what to see? Can't miss things in Venice? I'm sadly not much of a foodie, and a veggie to boot, so all the good seafood in Venice will be lost on me. But pizza, pasta, and gelato are all things I love!

After Venice I head to Florence for two days. I very much want to see, and might stay a night, in Siena. I fly out of Florence.
Tell me everything, fellow travelers! I've done some research, but clearly not enough!
grazie mille!

monkeylady
10-22-2013, 10:43 AM
it's been a few years....good thing you're NOT a foodie. Venice has the rep of some of the least inspired and most expensive food in Italy.

Must see/do:
St. Mark's cathedral in piazza san Marco
Strolling anywhere ( you can't get lost) especially away from the tourist district
Gelato, gelato, gelato
The Rialto market
The guggenheim museo
Ride on vaporettos especially done the Grand Canal
Shops making authentic masks

Maybe visit Murano and Burano (but next to last on my list)
A gondola ride? (very expensive and very touristy, but if you must, you must)

Do you need boots? Has aqua alta begun?
Consult Rick Steves guide for places to eat definitely and walking routes, places to visit. He suggests pub crawls in Venice where you drink, drink, drink, and eat free or low-cost.

Florence must's:
wandering (although a very busy city with lots of Vespas)
Uffizi
The Duomo
The David at the Accademia

Siena
The plaza
the cultural museum
great pizza
marble curbstones
wandering

If you can get to Pisa at all, visit the baptistry, infinitely more interesting than Leaning Tower. The baptistry has extraordinary accoustics and if you hang out long enough the security guard will sing ....with himself...it's breathtaking.
Ciao. Monkeylady


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Badger
10-22-2013, 02:08 PM
Well YMMV of course, but my experience of the food in Venice was great. I did eat all manner of sea creatures, however. It's pretty easy to get meatless pastas and pizzas wherever you go, but watch out for pasta all'amatriciana, which looks like a tomato sauce but has guanciale in it. One of my favorite pizzas is cippolla, or "onion." It's a cheeseless pizza with tomato sauce and shaved red onion on the top. Sounds pretty nasty but the 800-degree ovens work some magic on it. Another friend to the vegetarian in Venice are cicchetti, the little tapas-like bar snacks you can get. If there is fried fennel, you're golden. You'll do better as a vegetarian in Tuscany since the cuisine is more plant-based. When I stayed in the neighboring province of Umbria for ten weeks, pizza and pasta were mainstays, and you're super lucky to be going in autumn since it is prime mushroom harvesting season. Many restaurants should be featuring them prominently on their menus. As you may know, in Italy you eat your appetizer (if you want one), then your pasta or pizza, and then you finish with salad (if you want one). For the most part, skip restaurant desserts unless they advertise "fatte in casa", or made in-house; otherwise, it will be something nasty and frozen that's been trucked in from a factory in Parma. NB: they don't salt the bread in Tuscany. It's very bland at first but you kind of get used to it.

In Venice, I think the Biennale will take up a lot of your time, but (in addition to San Marco and the Guggenheim) I'd suggest a trip to Santa Maria della Salute, which is my second-favorite church in Italy. It's a small church and very close to the vaporetto so you can see it and be on your way in less than an hour. I'd also suggest a tour of the Doges' Palace; you can book ahead online to get an English-speaking tour guide, and if you take the tour you can see parts of the palace that are normally closed to visitors. If you like cocktails, have a ubiquitous Aperol spritz—it doesn't have to be at Harry's Bar. Personally, I didn't find the gelato in Venice to be that great; save it up for Florence, which has more artisanal gelaterie to choose from. If you check chowhound or egullet, their very active users can provide recent and quite accurate details of the best places. Another thing to check out (via Google) is to see if any concerts will be held in the churches. They're generally not too expensive and if you like choral/early music, it could be a fun thing to do in the evening. If you're going to be there for six days, definitely get a vaporetto pass unless you are staying in the immediate vicinity of the Biennale. It's a lot easier than constantly buying tickets.

In Florence, definitely go to the Mercato Centrale. Not only is it huge and fascinating, you can also buy food such as epic sandwiches. If you have time before you leave for Italy, get your tix to the Uffizi and Accademia online. That will save you waiting in line. Before seeing the Duomo, buy a pastry and coffee at Caffe Gilli, which is a beautiful cafe with 18th century architecture on the Piazza del Duomo. Hell, go there afterwards too. Prices are reasonable if you stand at the bar, but it's not too bad even if you sit, and you've bought yourself some prime people-watching real estate. Gilli make lovely, exquisite confections that are great as gifts. Aside from the Duomo, make sure to visit Santa Croce, the final resting place for some very famous people. It may be worth it to visit the Pitti Palace, although I'm not sure if the Boboli Gardens will be much to look at this time of year.

If you can make it to Siena, you really, really should. The Campo is very impressive and you can kind of just hang out there, so there's no need to buy anything at the invariably bad and overpriced cafes. Climbing the Torre del Mangia (yeah, Tower of Eating) gives a good view, and the strange black-and-white Duomo is totally worth a look (I was super sad when I went there and it was totally scaffolded for renovations). A little off the Campo is the Museo della Bambini, which is technically an art museum for kids but which I found lots of fun after all the altar pieces and the like. It's all real art, but curated to appeal to the imaginations of young people. Ironically, there were like only two kids there when I visited.

Just out of curiosity, what's in Verona? Seems an unusual place to fly into. Also, which TB bag are you taking? If you want, you can see a packing list and pics from my winter trip to Italy (http://forums.tombihn.com/packing-lists/4383-three-week-trip-aeronaut.html) two years ago. It was an amazing visit, and I'm really excited for you!

Rocks
10-22-2013, 02:55 PM
Thank you Monkey Lady and Badger! I'm going to print your responses! The Rick Steve's pub crawl sounds great, and the cicchetti (chicketti? My Italian phonetics and not quite there yet) sounds right up my alley. I will definitely have a spritz or several, and drink plenty of vino rosso. Mi piace vino rosso!

The English language tour of the Doge's Palace also sounds great. I'll have a vaporetto pass.
I'm definitely going to check out Siena.

I chose Verona for silly reasons: Shakespeare, proximity to Venice, and because it got good reviews on Trip Advisor. They also have a bike share program, but I'm not sure if they'll still be out.

As for bags! It's going to be a game day decision. My plan is Synapse 25 loaded up with a medium Tri Star packing cube, which will go into a Western Flyer packing cube backpack, which will go into the Synapse. Then I can use the packing cube backpack for stuff that I can't leave behind in Italy. I can check that on the way home. I also have a Packing Cube Shoulder Bag coming along. I considered an Aeronaut, but it's too late now since I leave Monday. If for some reason the Synapse doesn't work, I'll default to my bike backpack, a Mission Workshop Rambler. It has more capacity than the Synapse 25, but it's heavy and has not much organization. I've practice packed the Synapse and made it work. It's so pretty! Steel/UV.

I'm a little worried about footwear. I walk a lot and have comfortable shoes to wear, but I really really want to bring my Chacos and wear them with socks if it gets cold, but I'm afraid that will make the chic Italians weep. ;)

monkeylady
10-22-2013, 05:17 PM
Who cares about the chic Italians. They'll know you're a tourist anyway. Err on the side of comfort. You'll be walking on cobblestone paths and streets A LOT and it can be hard on feet and legs after a while.

Beware pickpockets in Venice and particularly Florence. In my opinion, you'd be wise to use a cross body bag--not a backpack as an EDC.

Have fun!



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Ginkgo
10-22-2013, 09:52 PM
If you haven't already lined up accommodation, I'd recommend staying in nearby Padua. It's a lovely little city in its own right and cheaper than anything in Venice. When I went, it was affordable to take the train to/from Venice daily throughout my stay. I went as a budget tourist over a decade ago. I stayed in a youth hostel and survived on crusts of bread, cheese, nuts, dried fruit, cheap fresh produce from the market, and the occasional decent meal. So many interesting and fond memories. :) I third the suggestion of taking the vaporetto around Venice. Wear comfortable shoes! Perhaps my biggest suggestion would be to take the time to enjoy the good life. Go to a cafe, linger over an espresso or a delicious baked good, or sit in a small piazza or park and do some leisurely people-watching. Vacations are much more pleasant that way.

monkeylady
10-22-2013, 10:07 PM
Amen, Gingko.


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Badger
10-23-2013, 12:13 AM
One thing to consider regarding the Chacos: while they are excellent for walking, the stone streets absorb a lot of cold and damp, and it's quite possible that even with socks you will become very chilled if you attempt to walk around all day in them. If it were summer, I'd say go for it instantly; Chacos are great footwear and believe you me, there are plenty of fugly shoes all over Italy, so you needn't worry about causing a fashion stir.

I think you'll be fine with the 25 as your main travel bag. I carried my Aeronaut as a backpack and didn't have any trouble with pickpockets, but I remained vigilant at all times. On the train, etc., you'll want to keep the bag as close to your side as possible; when you're sightseeing during the day, the PCSB will be a good low-profile bag and you can wear it cross-body and in front of you if you wish. The last time I was in Italy, there were all sorts of people wandering around with cameras and camera bags—and I even saw some crazy lady shooting a video from a gondola with her iPad. There are always loads of easy pickpocketing-pickin's around, so if you are careful, you will be just fine.

PS: your pronunciation of cicchetti is spot-on.
PPS: I don't think it's weird to want to go to Verona because of Shakespeare. I've seriously considered a trip to Hastings, England, simply because of the show Foyle's War. What can I say? It looks atmospheric.

Rocks
10-23-2013, 08:36 AM
Thanks everyone for chiming in! I'm equal parts excited and nervous! but these posts have tipped the balance to excited. Everything in Italy will be new to me, and I love wandering. So I'll probably just wander and admire art and architecture between glasses of wine.

terayon
10-23-2013, 09:11 AM
One thing to consider regarding the Chacos: while they are excellent for walking, the stone streets absorb a lot of cold and damp, and it's quite possible that even with socks you will become very chilled if you attempt to walk around all day in them. If it were summer, I'd say go for it instantly; Chacos are great footwear and believe you me, there are plenty of fugly shoes all over Italy, so you needn't worry about causing a fashion stir.

Chacos are my favourites, but one just can't wear sandals all winter around here. I bought a pair of their full-on shoes (http://www.chacos.com/CA/en-CA/Product.mvc.aspx/25519W/0/Womens/PedShed?dimensions=0) for that reason.

backpack
10-23-2013, 03:54 PM
Definitely closed good walking shoes with non slip soles.

Besides very cold feet, inadequate shoes will turn your feet into a drenched mess and you might slip on the wet cobblestone, stone, marble, etc...

Don't forget to bring layers, you are going to northern Italy, which get chilly for the next few weeks Venice is going to be from the mid 50's to the mid 60's with rain or fog some days.

Florence will be from the high 50's to the low 70's with rain, fog and thunderstorms when the temperatures are higher.

If I were you, I would plan mainly indoor activities, including shopping in Florence and Verona department stores and small shops away from tourist areas, you might score a bargain on accessories or an outfit.

jannilee
10-23-2013, 05:38 PM
Verona also has a well preserved Roman arena where they put on Opera ( the one I saw was awful) and a Roman theatre too. Near the theatre is a museum that has a wonderful collection of tiny household gods (lares et penates if i remember correctly).

I would stay in Venice (preferably in the Jewish quarter). 3749 ponte Chiodo is a lovely B&B in a quiet spot. Spend as little time as possible near San Marco and as much time as possible walking the back streets and (inevitably) getting lost! The Accademia has a whole room of the ugliest baby Jesus' you will ever see! It is my theory that the artists used the face of whichever middle aged businessman paid for the painting. Near the accademia bridge on the way to the Guggenheim there was a little place with a counter onto the street, serving delicious spinach pie. Buy some tickets for the public toilets as they are clean and there are few other options.

Check out the little delis near the campo in Siena. I had a spectacular chickpea salad in one and probably in the fall they do soups and other yummy things. We found it because of the crowd of businessmen scarfing down food from takeout containers.

I secong Badger's recommendation of the Mercato Centrale in Florence. Ooooo- i am sosososo jealous!

Badger
10-24-2013, 02:11 PM
If I were you, I would plan mainly indoor activities, including shopping in Florence and Verona department stores and small shops away from tourist areas, you might score a bargain on accessories or an outfit.

The highs are barely 40 degrees here in the Midwest so Italy temps are looking downright balmy. I was in Venice in January and found the weather very mild.

Rocks, I forgot to mention that Florence has amazing handmade paper and leather goods (though as a vegetarian perhaps you avoid them?). Crack your guidebook and see if there are suggestions for non-rip-offy places to buy. Also, take a stroll across the Ponte Vecchio at night. Most of the little jewelry kiosks remain open until quite late and prices are generally negotiable. About a quarter mile east of the Duomo is a pedestrian mall lined with pan-European boutiques, including one of the most impressive Camper shoe stores I've ever seen.

There are loads of great places in Venice to get Murano glass, as others have likely mentioned. One piece of advice: if you see something you like but don't want to buy immediately (always wise), take a picture of the shop and write down its location. You will NOT remember where you saw X awesome thing and you will be haunted years later by the memory of it. Ask me how I know.




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Rocks
10-24-2013, 02:53 PM
haha I was thinking the same thing about Italy weather. We've already had snow and freezing temps in Minnesota. I know it might be damp/chilly, but I can handle it! As for shoes, my Chacos are packed and coming with me. As well as several pairs of Smartwool socks. My Synapse 25 also made the cut. I practice packed one last time and love how light and organized it is compared to my Rambler.

I love paper and stationery. I will definitely check those out In Florence! Thanks for the tips about photographing the shops. That's a good one!

I still haven't decided to make Siena an overnight or a day trip from Florence. It would be nice to have one less hotel check-in/out, so maybe a day trip.

I got my iphone 5 unlocked and will get an Italian sim card when I arrive. Has anyone ever done that? I'm relying on my phone for maps, pictures, and reading material, so it must work!

jannilee
10-24-2013, 04:57 PM
Yes, no problem with sim cards. Check out the various providers and what they offer before you leave (in English). Verona seemed like quite a small place so don't know what the selection of providers will be like there. Venice was just getting public wifi when i was there about 4 yrs ago and coverage for that was very spotty! I think there are regular buses from florence to Siena as well as day tours if you are into that. I LOVED x 1000000000000 Florence so i would work it to maximize time there.

moriond
10-25-2013, 08:50 PM
Beware pickpockets in Venice and particularly Florence. In my opinion, you'd be wise to use a cross body bag--not a backpack as an EDC.

Have fun!


Check out notmensa's suggestions in the Locking Zippers on the Synapse thread (http://forums.tombihn.com/photos-videos/2519-locking-zippers-synapse.html). I hook split rings through my zipper heads and pass a mini-carabiner through the rings (like the second method displayed in that thread.)


Yes, no problem with sim cards. Check out the various providers and what they offer before you leave (in English). Verona seemed like quite a small place so don't know what the selection of providers will be like there. Venice was just getting public wifi when i was there about 4 yrs ago and coverage for that was very spotty! I think there are regular buses from florence to Siena as well as day tours if you are into that. I LOVED x 1000000000000 Florence so i would work it to maximize time there.

You might remember to bring the small tool included with your iPhone to pop out the Sim card. I set one of these aside, but forgot to pack it when I traveled to Sweden last month. (I did get a local phone store to pop the Sim card out for me -- they seemed to have lots of people buying iPhones with various data plans there, but it's easier if you remember to bring this along.) The Clear Organizer wallet is a good place to store this tool, along with the sim card and small cables. I also keep a set of short cables that can connect to my iPhone and other devices in the wallet, protected by the Ultrasuede dividers.

Have a great trip! It's been a while since I was last in Italy, so I don't feel like I can improve on the suggestions. we can all travel vicariously through you!

moriond

Rocks
11-10-2013, 09:48 PM
Italy was great! I got back yesterday and am still jet lagged, so I might as well start posting pics! I fell in love with Venice. I loved Verona, and loved Siena. I'd go to all those places again. Didn't love Florence as much. But the David was mind blowing. People told me he's better than you can imagine, which is the reason I decided to go to Florence, and they were right. But Venice was the star of the trip. It exceeded my expectations, wasn't too busy, and the Biennale was amazing. I'd love to go back there.
Here's the useful travel tray checking out the view in Venice. Right below was a canal, and way to the right was the campanile of St Marks. I loved that view!!
4981
canals
4982

The canal out my window. I got to know the voices of the garbage men pretty well!
4983

My Synapse 25 did great as my one bag. I sort packed it like Tetris. I packed my sandals and a strap in a packing cube shoulder bag, my clothes in a medium TriStar packing cube, and both those things were packed in a Western Flyer packing cube backpack, which surprisingly fit in the main compartment of the Synapse 25. I used the PCSB as a day bag. I love that bag! I carried my organizer wallet clipped to the O ring and never worried about pickpockets. I also carried my iPhone, which became Italian with a TIM nano sim card. Italian 3G is great! Better than what I have at home. I carried maps and such every day too, and could unload my scarf or sweater if it got warm. The PCSB handles everything!
I packed the Packing Cube backpack so I could lighten the load and check it on the way back with purchases and things I picked up.

Rocks
11-11-2013, 10:15 AM
Here's my Synapse 25 packed for 2 weeks on the vaporetto from the train station.
4985

ClaireJ
11-11-2013, 04:37 PM
My Synapse 25 did great as my one bag. I sort packed it like Tetris. I packed my sandals and a strap in a packing cube shoulder bag, my clothes in a medium TriStar packing cube, and both those things were packed in a Western Flyer packing cube backpack, which surprisingly fit in the main compartment of the Synapse 25. I used the PCSB as a day bag. I love that bag! I carried my organizer wallet clipped to the O ring and never worried about pickpockets. I also carried my iPhone, which became Italian with a TIM nano sim card. Italian 3G is great! Better than what I have at home. I carried maps and such every day too, and could unload my scarf or sweater if it got warm. The PCSB handles everything!
I packed the Packing Cube backpack so I could lighten the load and check it on the way back with purchases and things I picked up.
This is very similar to what I'm hoping to do with my Synapse 25 for an upcoming trip! I'm surprised you were able to fit both the packing cube shoulder bag and the medium TriStar packing cube inside the WF packing cube backpack though - the listed dimensions lead me to believe they wouldn't fit in there, since the medium TS PC is wider than the WF PCBP (12.8" vs. 12.25") and if you turned it, then combined with the PCSB (12.8" + 7.75" = 20.55" - actually, even not turned, it'd be 11.3" + 7.75" = 19.05"), it'd be taller than the PCBP (18"). Is it because they're flexible and weren't too stuffed?

monkeylady
11-11-2013, 10:55 PM
So glad you had a great time! How could you not?
I'm interested in your packing list, if you wouldn't mind posting it. I'm seriously considering using my S25 as my main carry for 16 days in Ecuador and Panama in February. And I know my Ipad mini, noise cancelling headphones, camera, and binoculars won't also fit in without significant impact on clothing list. Still looking for a secondary bag solution. I, too, love the PCSB and will be taking it along for a lightweight carry in some situations. Did you carry a secondary, smaller bag? And what did you carry in it, if yes?


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ClaireJ
11-12-2013, 09:30 AM
Yes, I'm interested in the packing list as well - I'm also especially curious to hear about fitting the PCSB and Tri-Star medium PC inside the PCBP, since I'd love to do something similar in my Synapse 25. Seems from the dimensions that the TS PC shouldn't fit in there.

feijai
03-25-2014, 05:06 AM
I'm leaving soon! But pizza, pasta, and gelato are all things I love!
After Venice I head to Florence for two days. I very much want to see, and might stay a night, in Siena. I fly out of Florence.
Tell me everything, fellow travelers! I've done some research, but clearly not enough!


Warning. My wife is italian, my 2-year-old kids only speak italian, but I am American.

TIME. You have not allotted enough time. Consider lengthening your trip, particularly in Tuscany. And missing Rome would be a shame.

FOOD. There is no such thing as pepperoni. There is no such thing as spaghetti and meatballs. There is no such thing as alfredo. Chicken does not go on any kind of pasta. Do NOT EAT pizza in Venice. Ever. Pizza is not part of Venetian cuisine. Do not eat pasta all'amatriciana: this is a Roman pasta and has nothing to do with Venice. It's like eating tacos in canada. You are eating food for american tourists.

In Italy the key is to eat the local cuisine. Venice has a unique cuisine different from the rest of Italy. Seek it out. You won't find it anywhere in the main tourist traps: you have to go further afield to get anything decent. Try the salted cod in Venice. Try the seafood risottos. Do not try the pizza.

Buy (1) Rick Steves and (2) Lonely Planet and read both of them completely. Both have good food suggestions, but Rick Steves has uncannily good local food recommendations, bizarre given the simplistic nature of his books. My wife is always shocked by how good his suggestions are. Also follow Steve's instructions to the letter when it comes to getting into the galleries and museums in Florence: it will save you many *many* hours of waiting in line.

WHERE TO STAY. Always do small apartments or B&B-style places in Italy. Use Cross Pollinate (Apartments and B&Bs in Rome, Florence, Venice, Paris, Barcelona, London, Lisbon & Istanbul (http://www.cross-pollinate.com/)) and thank me later. These people know what they are doing. They specialize in Florence and Venice.

In Tuscany, strongly consider staying at least once at an Agriturismo. These are farmhouse B&B apartments, usually on working farms just outside the towns. It's helpful to have a car in that case.

VENICE. Venice is an enormous, crowded tourist trap. It has been this way for hundreds of years. In Venice it's particularly important to get out of the standard tourist areas. Visit them once (Rialto, San Marco Square), and then avoid them or anything near them. For example, go to the Jewish ghetto, which is popular with the locals. Get out into the periphery of the island, where the locals live. Definitely visit Peggy Guggenheim's home. Shops in Venice do not make authentic masks, because they do not make authentic anything. Gondola rides are for tourists only. Understand and accept this about Venice: Its entire economy is based on tourism.

SIENA. Siena is wonderful and beautiful. But there really isn't all that much to do there. You will like Lucca much better. Lucca is the only italian medieval town that still has all its ramparts. Rent a bike in Lucca and thank me later.

Badger
03-25-2014, 07:26 AM
Warning: I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and have a very strong idea about what constitutes good travel advice.

Also: Rocks already went and came back.

I agree with many of your suggestions, but I'm not sure I agree at all with the idea that tourists should not do touristy things. If you've always wanted to take a gondola ride, who honestly cares if no venetians are on the gondolas? The gondolieri are an iconic part of Venetian historic culture, and there's nothing wrong with wanting to experience it. I would do it and thumb my nose because the regret of not doing it would likely outweigh the possibility that I would be shamed by being scoffed at by an expat. This is an example. In real life I find gondolas terrifying and vertigo-inducing. But let's face it. There is no way for a tourist to not look like a tourist. Locals shouldn't expect tourists to behave in the same way they do, but tourists should demonstrate an awareness that they are vacationing in someone's everyday life and to get out of the way so people can go about their business.

I also think it's important to take the realities of people's limitations into account when offering this type of advice. If the OP is only traveling via train and bus and doesn't want to spend whole days getting to day trip locations, I don't think it's helpful to say "here are these awesome things to do that are out of your reach." And honestly, I've stayed at agriturismi and they really aren't for everyone. The food is good but not everyone is into food, as much as it pains me to say that (Rocks isn't).

To reiterate: I agree with the general wisdom of your advice. But in the end I think it's most helpful to give advice based on how people are and what they state their needs to be.




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Rocks
03-25-2014, 09:00 AM
I actually do regret not going on a gondola in Venice. I imagine the perspective of the canals and foundations would've been really cool. Plus, I love any sort of boat and all water. But I'll go back for that! As for food, Italy converted me. I'm pretty sure I ate my weight in pasta, and it was all excellent. The purpose of the Venice trip was the Biennale, which included a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim museum. I liked the garden more than her collection. I left a stone on her grave. I ambled through the ghetto, too.
I loved Siena. I really got into the history of the contrades (guilds, I think) and their neighborhoods.
There was no way I'd be mistaken for anything other than a tourist (but I was proud when an Italian guy asked me what street we were on in Verona, and many took me for English). I eventually embraced that, and learned to consult maps in public unselfconsciously. Every other tourist was doing the same thing!

terayon
03-25-2014, 09:54 AM
We spent a couple of days in Venice on our honeymoon. The gondola was a highlight for me. Otherwise, we spent most of our time wandering around without much of an agenda and just absorbed the atmosphere and novelty of a city in which water is a key part of the landscape. We enjoyed it tremendously. We ate lots of gelato and pasta, and yes, pizza too.

Different strokes for different folks.

feijai
03-25-2014, 07:15 PM
Also: Rocks already went and came back.

:-(



If you've always wanted to take a gondola ride, who honestly cares if no venetians are on the gondolas?


I didn't say that you shouldn't ride a gondola: far from it. I just said that gondola rides are for tourists only, and you need to be aware of it up-front. Just like the horse-drawn carriages in Central Park: but who wouldn't want to ride one? Likewise the shops, particularly in the San Marco area, have very little that is authentic. Many of the masks aren't authentic (some are), and much of the Murano glass is actually made in China. As long as you know what to expect, you can have a lot of fun: Venice has been this way for hundreds of years. [BTW, there are obviously lots of stores which sell high-grade authentic stuff, though not much in the San Marco district: an easy way to verify is via Promovetro | Consorzio Promovetro Murano (http://www.promovetro.com/en/) ]