Friday, February 20, 2009

Venetian Valentines

The first time Giancarlo and I went to Venice, was about 3 years ago. Italy had just won the World Cup, it was my first time in Italy and Venice was a "quick" 4 hour day- trip from Fano. I thought we had it all figured out, till we got there. We went in the middle of July, on the hottest day of the year, and after a very long 4 hour (each way) train ride. When we arrived, the little city was busting at the seems with tourists, and our daytrip quickly became a dodge-the-tourist-must-find-water-and-shade trip. Needless to say, I wasn't left with the greatest impression of the city. And, since we've moved to Italy, I've been hesitant on going back.

However, Carnevale was on our must-do list for Italy. So, when our friends from New York arrived the very weekend of Carnivale and we all decided to go, I figured now was a chance for Venice and I to meet again.

Ready and waiting

The view of the alps in the distance on our way up to Venice

Right outside the train station in front of the Grand Canal

From Bologna, Venice is a two hour train right North East. Fortunately for us, we were the first stop on the party train. By the second stop, the train was packed solid with people heading to Carnivale. We were heading up to go see the Volo dell’ Angelo "The Flight of the Angel" which is the official kick off of Carnevale. Really, we wanted to go because last year Coolio was the celebrity guest and we were all secretly hoping he'd be there again. If not him, then obviously someone equally as cool.

Carnevale Mask

On the water taxi heading toward Piazza San Marco on the Grand Canal

Passing the local

As soon as we got off the train, the sun was shining and the weather was perfect. Not too hot and not too cold. The crowds were manageable and taking the water taxi down the Grand Canal is the best way to see Venice. The tickets are relatively cheap, 6.50 euros one way, and trip down the Canal to Piazza San Marco takes about 15-20 minutes. Within the first 5 minutes of arriving, Venice had won me over in a way that I had hoped it would the first time around.

He's ready to party

And so is this little one...Giancarlo has the same outfit...

We unfortunately arrived too late, this is the end of the parade

Walking through the was laundry day all around

Our goal for this trip was simple, to enjoy Carnevale and do it on a budget. Note- if you're trying to save money, don't get a coffee in Piazza San Marco. We made the mistake of being so desperate for a caffeine fix, that we went to the first place we saw. Our total for 2 cappucino's and 2 caffe normale's ended up being more than the 6 bottles of wine that were purchased the day before. Next time, we'll wander the side streets in search of a cheaper place.

8.50 for a cappuccino! And you can also get a "shakered" double espresso for the same price

Giancarlo's face after we saw the price...

More carnevale costumes...

Carnevale treats...we resisted the temptation, I promise!

Traveling around Italy, TrenItalia is a great, inexpensive way to travel. Whenever we travel, we take the Regionale or Regional train. It might take a little longer, but it costs A LOT less. Our tickets from Bologna to Venice (2 hour/Regionale) were only six euros. We packed a picnic lunch, a variety of meats, cheeses and bread, purchased a few bottles of wine from the local Coop Supermarket and presto cheap picnic in Venice.

Celebrating our Carnevale picnic with some Bologna Lambrusco

Down another canal

And another... trying not to get lost

Apperitivo hour... all you need is a dock

Our buddy next to the dock

The first weekend in Carnevale might just be the best time to go. The Carnevale runs about two weeks in late February. The weather was perfect, not too cold and not too hot. Check the weather online before you plan to go, and AVOID the months of July and August. In my opinion, it will ruin the experience and the beauty of Venice. Also, avoid eating or drinking in the piazza. They are definitely tourist prices, and if you wander away from the piazza down any canal, there are bars and restaurants that are more "local" than "tourist" and will cost you less than half the price of the piazza.

I feel in love with Venice on this trip, and seeing as it's only 2 hours from Bologna, I truly can't wait to go Fall.

Ci Vediamo

For more pictures- click here Venice 2009
and for more information- check out:
Carnevale di Venezia (official site)
New York Times articles and Carnevale slide


Megan in Liguria said...

Told you you'd like it the second time around! Great photos by the way...M:)

Giancarlo and Emily said...

you were TOTALLY right!! I can't wait to go back ;)

jessica said...

i have had a long time aversion to going to venice, and have never been. it's just all i hear turns me off, or seems the cons outweigh the pros. your photos are great and show a side of it that looks fun and not sure im ready to go there yet, i'd need more evidence, but still, great post about a place i thought i totally disliked :)

Polideuce said...

magari provate a tornare quando c'รจ meno gente, e, non ostante metta un po' di tristezza, penso valga la pena anche di essere vista d'inverno...a me era piaciuta :)

La Pistolera said...

WOW! So beautiful. One of the cities I've always wanted to visit in Italy is Venice.

Yaya and Papa said...

Your pictures remind me of mine!! and when we were there in the fall of 2005--we so want to return to Italy again someday. But, for now, I am visiting vicariously through your blog excerpts and pictures! Thanks! Love you!!


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