Well, British Airways had a seat sale and we took the plunge – a long weekend in Venice, while staying at the Hilton, just like a rock stars! The reason it was all possible? No one visits Venice in the wintertime, so we had the city to ourselves. The hotel we stayed at, the Hilton Garden Inn, was fantastic: brand new rooms, helpful concierge, and a 7 minute shuttle onto the island. At EUR75 a night in a city known for high room rates, this was one of the best hotel values I’ve had in Europe.
Venice is in Northern Italy on the Adriatic Sea. Hollywood’s Italy is usually the south – sun drenched beaches, dusty sand, olive trees. Northern Italy is a bit different; while it’s hot in the summer winters can be proper cold. Once home to a population of 200,000, tourists are slowly taking the island over; only 60,000 permanent residents remain on Venice itself. We grabbed our Rick Steves Italy book and went nuts:
The world famous Rialto bridge.
To combat rising tides, much of the island has been built up around the buildings. This makes for some low ceilings.
Tasty pastries by the canal.
The blue-green water is saltwater from the surrounding lagoon.
A gondola ride is a pricey proposition – EUR100 by day, and more by night. The cheap trick is to choose a Traghetto, which goes from one side of the Grand Cana and back. The 40 yard, 3 minute journey costs just half a Euro!
The island of Murano,home to Murano glass.
A Murano glass…glass.
These little guys were EUR5 each.
It was easy to capture Venice on our DSLR. Point, shoot, everything looked fantastic.
Super ornate column outside the Doge’s (Duke’s) Palace.
The famous Bridge of Signs, leading from the courthouse (left) into the prison (right)
Plaza San Marco – St Mark’s Square. Trading houses on the left, and the Basilica straight ahead.