Venice 2014 Guidebook
Best and worst sights, experiences and destinations:
Best: Walking tours through Venice.
Why: Especially the Scala del Bovolo
Bill Ramsey in Villages, Fl USA 11/14/2013
Best: a Viator tour of Hill Towns of the Veneto
Why: The small minivan tour with a driver/guide and 5 tourists was a prefect foil to the maddening crowds that clogged St. Mark's Square all the way to the Rialto bridge. We saw ancient walled towns, a proseco vineyard and a Palladian villa over the 8 hour adventure. A day well-spent.
Worst: Vaporetti #1 and #2 on the Grand Canal
Why: The boat staff crowded so many people on the vessel that we feared it would capsize. We ended up getting off after only a few stops for safety sake and never got to see the length of the canal.
Kathy Crown-Weber in Danville, KY USA 10/22/2013
Why: We went up the Campenile late in the day and hardly had to wait in line. Then we were up there when the bells started ringing. A really neat experience as the sun was dropping low on the horizon.
Jennifer Henry in Dallas, TX USA 06/03/2013
Best: following the signs saying "per"
Why: Easy to get lost or confused on these islands...when the Cruise ship mobs invade :)
Why: we use all of Rick's books
Chris Canning in Boca Raton, FL USA 05/27/2013
Best: Venice itself
Why: No cars, no motorcycles, no motor scooters! Something interesting around every corner.
Roy in Sonoma County, CA USA 05/07/2013
Best: walking and getting lost, Vivaldi concert
Why: We were so charmed by every laneway, corner we turned, bridge and alleyway. It was all so magical at Christmas with lots of lights and decorations.
Lisa M. in Amman, Jordan 02/24/2013
Best: Venice at night
Why: With the teaming crowds gone you can just soak it all up. Spring for that coffee in St. Mark's square and listen to music. Ride the vaporetto and admire the lights shining out of canal side palaces. It's a very different place at night.
Marie in San Diego, CA USA 10/23/2012
Best: Vetreria Artistica Colleoni glass factory in Murano
Why: Not just a shop, but a real workplace with a full factory. They not only give the standard "demonstration" (which is very cool too), but also take you behind the scenes to see all of the projects they are working on. And they have a lovely selection of handcrafted glass to purchase, at quite reasonable prices!
John and Diane Hearing in Maple Valley, WA USA 10/09/2012
Best: Pub crawl
Why: Laid back & fun. At one cafe, the waitress saw our guidebook and said "Rick Steves was hear 2 months ago taking photos for the next edition - he is a good man".
Worst: Caffe Aurora
Why: Truly disgusting restroom, with a can filled to overflowing with - how shall I put it - heavily-used toilet paper.
Lindsay in San Diego, CA United States 09/19/2012
Best: Combo ticket for Museums and Doge's Palace
Why: Skipped the lines, reasonably quiet and cool in the middle of the day. incredible ceilings and paintings. Worth the price of ticket in itself
Worst: Harry's Bar
Why: Agreed with Steve-it is not worth it
Clare Fannon in Newtown, PA USA 08/24/2012
Why: In no way did the description prepare for the delightfully brazen onslaught of colors. Though intense, they all worked together. Makes me want to design a sweater around the palate
Karen Kendrick-Hands in Madison, WI USA 07/10/2012
Best: Enjoy getting lost.
Why: Getting lost in Venice was a joy. We discovered many shops and streets we never would have seen if we hadn't just wandered.
Worst: Your recommended mask shop
Why: We were interested in learning more about the meaning behind the masks, but when we found the shop the woman there was very rude.
Rachel in Denver, CO USA 07/03/2012
Best: San Marco
Why: The Basilica is breathtaking. The walk to the top to the museum and to be with the horses (and their view) was worth every one of the 6 euros.
Worst: Not recommended, but the worst thing:
Why: iPhone gps did not work here. It is difficult to navigate Venice because of the old streets and the canals threading through the city, also the lack of street signs on many buildings. The gps would plot a route, and then not follow it, later telling us we were in the middle of a canal. (we were not)
Susan Silvera in Los Angeles, CA USA 04/15/2012
Best: The Vencie pub crawl
Why: It is an adventure to find each bar or restaurant listed on the crawl through the maze of streets. Its a litte scary at first but well worth sticking with it if you want to see the real Venice.
Chris Voigt in Fort Worth, TX USA 03/15/2012
Best: Alessandro's Cicchetti Tour
Why: He was charming, informative and enjoyable. It was like having drinks and dinner with your favorite uncle who has a great sense of humor!
Drew Garcia in Cairo, Egypt 12/31/2011
Why: Even with maps, I found it impossible to find some of the recommended restaurants. Maps were nearly useless. I probably walked to Rialto/St. Mark's a dozen times, but never the same way twice. It is a maze, and not nearly as compact or easy to navigate as your book makes it seem. Also, the area to the right of St. Mark's -- the park and surrounding area -- is a residential area for Venetians with none of the directional signs of "tourist" Venice. I recommend a stroll through this area but pay attention to where you are so you won't wander lost for an hour.
Suzanne in San Diego, CA USA 12/27/2011
Worst: Alessandro Schezzini's Bar Tour
Why: While it was fun talking with other travelers, the tour was not as described in in Rick's book. In no way were we introduced to typical Venetian cicchetti. What we were offered were frozen deep fried cheese balls or rubbery calamari reheated in a microwave. We felt completely ripped off. Save your Euros and go to the bars on your own.
Jill Irwin in Kingston, ON Canada 10/19/2011
Worst: Hotel Riva
Why: This hotel showed callous disregard when I fell down their unlit marble stairway. Owner was in a hurry to get me up and out of the way even though I was quite injured. He gave me some ice and never asked how I was doing. I had to return home for surgery on my wrist that was broken in four places. Hallways did not have sensor lighting that was working. While this place is centrally located and cheap, the rude owner (who purports to be a doctor) unkept rooms and crummy breakfast makes it a good place to skip. Stay somewhere else. It's not really up to the Rick Steves standards. Oh, I forgot to mention the rat I saw running across the lobby.
Karen Naman in San Francisci, Ca USA 10/07/2011
Best: Sections on art
Why: We are art nuts and love to check out the art museums in cities we visit. With limited time, we would probably have missed the Guggenheim, the Scuola de San Rocco, and the Scuola de San Giorgio, all of which were outstanding.
Best advice was to walk, and get lost - only way to really discover the charming little squares, corners and communities. On one of our "lost" evening walks, we stumbled on a yoga class in session in a tiny triangular cobbled space right next to a small canal.
Elizabeth Bamberger in Portland, OR USA 09/26/2011
Worst: Walking tour in Verona
Why: It was great going to verona and following the guided walk in the book. However, we had a hard time returning. No directions to go back to main square
Kenneth in Redmond, WA USA 09/18/2011
Best: Alessandro Schezzini's Bar Tour
Why: It's a personal experience, led by a local man who obviously loves his country, has a great sense of humor, and isn't shy about sharing his thoughts and feelings about Venice. He is "real Italy!" The bars you visit on the tour are welcoming and had great wines!
Stacey Baker in Goffstown, NH USA 07/13/2011
Best: Mercato Rialto
Why: The fish and produce market was outstanding! Closed on Monday and replaced with an antique market that day, the produce stands are set up Monday and Tuesday (the two days I visited).
Mike in Wheeling, IL USA 06/22/2011
Best: la scuola grande di san rocco
Why: Tintoretto's large works throughout are eye feasts extraordinaire!
Roxanne in Seattle, WA USA 06/20/2011
Worst: Murano visit
Why: The island itself is beautiful. However, as soon as we got off the ferry, we were herded by men directing us to a free glassmaking demonstration. The demo was only three to four minutes and then you were funnelled through their very expensive gift shop. It was obvious the men at the ferry were employees of this particular factory. Also, on the main canal, we found that most of the factories charged 5 euros a head to watch a demonstration. We finally found a lovely shop, off the beaten path, that allowed us to just go in the back and watch them work, no fee, no time limit. I was happy to spend money in their shop afterwards. Ask at the Glass Museum for the name of this shop. Definitely, get away from the ferry dock and you might have better luck to find a true demonstration of glass blowing. Also, we learned that if something glass is more expensive, it is probably made in Murano. If it is really cheap, it was probably made in China!!!! If you want the real deal, make sure it is made in Murano!
Allison Garth in Little Silver, NJ USA 05/24/2011
Best: avventura bellisime venice tours
Why: We did a whole day- the guided walking tour- you would never have gotten the full history and sense of Venice without it-our guide Rita was wonderful; then a gondola ride through the back canals; then a motor launch tour of the Grand Canal and more. It really gave us a real feeling for Venice and it was worth the money.
Allison Garth in Little Silver, NJ USA 05/24/2011
Best: Scrovegni Chapel - in Padua
Why: A rare chance to see truly ground-breaking art.
This may be obvious to some, but you might want to mention that Padua Cards ordered in conjunction with an on-line Chapel reservation can be picked up and activated at the Musei Civici Eremitani seven days a week.
Bill Bozo in Springfield, VA USA 04/13/2011
Best: Way too many! St. Mark's Basilica, St. Mark's Square, the Rialto, the Fish Market and the gondola ride
Why: Venice is an amazing place! It is a feast of an experience! My husband thinks that St. Mark's Basilica should be one of the next wonders of the world. With it's 1" by 1" tile mosaics EVERYWHERE! It is pretty awesome. St. Mark's Square is unparalleled at night. We wanted to do your pub crawl but couldn't pull ourselves away from the magic of the Square at night. The Rialto is unlike anything we had ever seen before and was such an experience. It's a whirlwind of vendors of all kinds, locals and people from all over the earth. The Fish Market had to be one of the coolest things we'd ever seen! A two foot shark, a man getting the dye glands out of baby squid, whole octopi, not to mention the rest of the produce! So fabulous! And then our gondola ride. We decided to go during the day because we had elected to do the traditional vows at our wedding and then read our personal vows to each other on our gondola ride - daylight therefore became very important! And to be honest, I don't think it decreased the romance at all. Our gondolier, of course, took us beneath the Rialto so we could kiss and showed us the "behind the scenes" Venice which was so quiet and magnificent. We loved everything about Venice!
Shannon Fonferko in Schaumburg, IL USA 03/20/2011