Venice is definitely a city to explore. It has an incredible number of canals and walkways, and each time we would start our exploration from St Marks square.
Everyone I have spoken to about exploring Venice has told me how easy it is to get lost. It has not happened to me, but with the infinite number of ways you can go, I guess it is possible.
We started our exploration of Venice in St Marks square, where, on one side there was the Museo di Palazzo Ducale and, next door, the Basilica di San Marco. Early morning and/or at high tide, water can be seen bubbling up from under the square, partially flooding it. I have seen this happen several times. Each morning as we walked from the hotel (the time we stayed in the Savoia and Jolanda) we passed the Bridge of Sighs.
Around the other three sides of the square are archways and shops. We have bought both confectionary and souvenirs from some of these stores, albeit relatively expensive. Prices are cheaper in stores that are away from the square and we found some of these when we walked from St Marks square to the Railway station, through many walkways, and crossing many bridges, and passing through a number of small piazzas. That day, after the trek, we caught the waterbus back to San Marco, and then went on the tour of the Museo di Palazzo Du which included the dungeons and the Bridge of Sighs from the inside. It took a few hours, longer than I’d anticipated because there was so much to see.
The next day, we caught the waterbus from San Marco to the Ponte di Rialto bridge. Just upstream from the wharf there was a very large passenger ship, and I noticed there were a number of passengers from the ship on the waterbus, one of whom spoke to us about visiting Venice. I didn’t realize we looked like professional tourists who knew where we were going. After a pleasant conversation, and taking in the views up and down the Grand Canal, we disembarked and headed for the bridge, looking at the shops, mostly selling upmarket and expensive gifts, and eventually crossing to the other side where there was a lot of small market type stalls selling souvenirs as well as clothes, and most importantly, it being a hot day, cold Limonata. This was my first taste of Limonata and I was hooked.
Continuing on from there was a wide street at the end and a number of restaurants where we had lunch. We had a map of Venice and I was going to plot a course back to the hotel, taking what would be a large circular route that would come out at the Accademia Bridge, and further on to the Terminal Fusina Venezia where there was another church to explore, the Santa Maria del Rosario.
It was useful knowledge for the second time we visited Venice because the waterbus from the Hilton hotel made its first stop, before San Marco, there. We also discovered on that second visit a number of restaurants on the way from the terminal and church to the Accademia Bridge.
Items to note:
Restaurants off the beaten track were much cheaper and the food a lot different to that in the middle of the tourist areas.
There are a lot of churches, big and small, tucked away in interesting spots where there are small piazza’s. You can look in all of them, though some asked for a small fee.
Souvenirs, coffee, and confectionary are very expensive in St Marks square.