Venice Carnival Photography Workshops 2018

Carnival in Venice

This year the Venice Carnival will be from the 27th January to 13th February 2018.

The Venice Carnival is the most internationally known festival celebrated in Venice, Italy, as well as being one of the oldest. This congregation of masked people, called Venice Carnival, began in the 15th century, but the tradition can be traced back to the beginning of the 14th Century! During those years one of the first laws made by the Serenissima was that masks cannot be used around the city at night. Later, Venice Carnival attracted foreigners - including princes - from all over Europe, who came to enjoy the wild festivities while spending fortunes.

 2017 Venice Carnival Atmosphere

2017 Venice Carnival Atmosphere

During the ten days of Carnival leading up to Mardi Gras, Venice is a hive of activity and entertainment, from improvised street entertainment to performances put on by the organizers. A central idea is chosen each year that is taken from various cultural or show-biz themes. Saint Mark’s Square remains the heart of Carnival, with its huge stage, although other events take place throughout the city, helping to avoid an excessive build-up of people in pedestrianized Venice.

During this period I will offer with my team a Carnival Workshop where during the first  2 hours we will take pictures of the Masks and Costumes in St Mark’s Square and then we will head after a coffee break for the Venice Tour. 4h Tour Price is €500 Max 3 people or 2 adults + 2 Teens  – Extra persons MAX 2  € 70 per person.

 

Book here and choose 4h  then specify Carnival in Notes

20 Things to do in Venice – 15/20 Acqua Alta Bookshop

As you walk in the Acqua Alta bookshop you will be greeted by Luigi and one of his cats Luigi and one of his Cats at Libreria Acqua Alta in Venice (Marco Secchi)

Walk in the labyrinth of interconnected rooms, and you will see the full-sized gondola in the middle of the shop, overflowing with books then along to bathtubs filled with books and sleeping cats you will find a doorway leading straight out onto a canal where the water level seems a precarious few centimeters away from spilling into the room. It happened to us to get there in a rainy day and the owner was moving all the books from the floor to bathtubs and shelves because of the danger of high water level!

Keep searching (for books and memorable shots) and you’ll find yourself in a tiny quiet courtyard which hosts a staircase made entirely from books. Climb up to the top for a lovely view onto the Venice canals.

You may feel literally overwhelmed by books. New and old, romance and science fiction, best sellers and b-series novels, you can find anything here if you are patient enough to search. It’s possible that you won’t be able to find any specific books given the bizarre nature of the piles, or you may don’t like the smell of humidity or second hand books, but you should include a visit to Acqua Alta into your Venice tour anyway.

Libreria Acqua Alta Calle Longa Santa Maria Formosa (Campiello Del Tintor) | 5176 - Castello, 30122 Venice, Italy

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If you are looking for unusual, rare, incredibly interesting books about Venice a REAL must is 
Libreria Editrice Franco Filippi Castello, Casselleria 5284 Venezia 30122
FRANCO IS A WONDERFUL GUY AND AN AMAZING LIBRARIAN AND EDITOR!

Venetian Carnival Masks

The Venetian Carnival is fast approaching and you are looking on a way to make a Mask Creating a Venetian papier mache mask

  • Cut newpapers into strips
  • In a pan, mix a quantity of flour in an equal quantity of water; boil
  • When the mixture is smooth, remove from the stove and let cool
  • Take a blown up balloon and cover with oil
  • Dip the newspaper strips into the mixture and put on the balloon (3 or 4 coats)
  • Put the mask aside for 24 hours
  • When the mask has dried, using a cutter, cut out openings for the eyes, nose and mouth
  • Decorate

or the best way is to get one from our friends at Ca del Sol the best hand made Papier Mache masks in Venice!

The Befana in Venice

Every child of Italian heritage has heard of La Befana, a character in Italian folklore who delivers presents to children throughout Italy. It is believed that the legend of La Befana may have originated in Rome, then spread as a tradition to the rest of Italy. Some believe her name is derived from the word Epiphany, but others say La Befana descended Roman goddess named Strina.

In folklore, Befana visits all the children of Italy on the eve of the 6th of January (the Epiphany) to fill their socks with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. Because she is a good housekeeper, she will sweep the floor before she leaves. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of wine and a plate with a few morsels of food for La Befana.She is usually portrayed as an old lady riding a broomstick through the air wearing a black shawl and is covered in soot because she enters the children's houses through the chimney. She is often smiling and carries a bag or hamper filled with candy, gifts, or both.

Christian legend has it that La Befana was approached by the magi (the biblical three kings) a few days before Christ's birth. They asked for directions to where the baby Jesus was, but she did not know. She provided them with shelter for a night, as she was considered the best housekeeper in the village with the most pleasant home. They invited her to join them on the journey to find the baby Jesus, but she declined, stating she was too busy with her housework. Later, La Befana had a change of heart, and tried to search out the astrologers and Jesus. That night she was not able to find them, so to this day, La Befana is searching for the baby Jesus. She leaves all the good children toys and candy, while the bad children get coal or bags of ashes.

Venice  Regata della Befana at Arzana..***Agreed Fee's Apply To All Image Use***.Marco Secchi /Xianpix.tel +44 (0)207 1939846.tel +39 02 400 47313. e-mail sales@xianpix.com.www.marcosecchi.com (Marco Secchi)

Another Christian legend takes a slightly darker tone. La Befana was an ordinary woman with a child whom she greatly loved. However, her child died, and her grief maddened her. Upon hearing news of Jesus' birth, she set out to see him, delusional that he was her son. She eventually met Jesus and presented him with gifts to make him happy. The infant Jesus was delighted, and he gave La Befana a gift in return; she would be the mother of every child in Italy.

Italians believe that if one sees La Befana one will receive a thump from her broomstick because she doesn't wish to be seen. This aspect of the tradition may be designed to keep children in their beds while parents are distributing candy (or coal) and sweeping the floor on Epiphany Eve.

Traditionally, all Italian children may expect to find a lump of "coal" in their stockings (actually rock candy made black with caramel coloring), as every child has been at least occasionally bad during the year.

S Martin's Cake

  The Saint Martin Celebration is an old traditional popular celebration in the North East of Italy that is rooted into the territory and has very old traditions

S. Martin xe 'ndà in sofita a trovar ea nonna Rita nona Rita no ghe gera S.Martin col cùeo par tera E col nostro sachetìn cari signori xe S.Martin

San Martin's short pastry cake

This short pastry cake is made in Venice to celebrate the feast day of Saint Martin, on 11th November every year, and it is a favourite with Venetian children who receive one from their grandparents and parents. The cake is in the shape of Saint Martin on horseback with his sword and, if you come to Venice in that period, you will see it in confectioners’ windows, decorated with sugar icing or coated with plain or milk chocolate and decorated with chocolate drops and candies

 

Oven-proof paper mould Download it here Prepare the paper mould used to cut out the cake. Cut a sheet of oven-proof paper measuring about 30x40 cm. Draw the shape of Saint Martin on horseback with his sword on the paper, cut it out and set it aside.

Alternatively, in Venice, during the period of the feast day, you can buy the cake mould in shops specialised in household goods.

Ingredients for a “Saint Martin” of 20x30 cm

For the short pastry: 250 gr flour 150 gr butter 100 gr sugar 1 egg yolk + 1 whole egg ½ sachet vanillin or vanilla flavouring

For the icing and decoration: 250 – 300 gr icing sugar 1 egg white 5 drops lemon juice 100 gr mixed sweets: chocolate Smarties, sugar sweets, candies, chocolate drops Cooking time: 15/20 minutes at 180°C

Preparation Light the oven. Prepare the pastry base by putting into a bowl, in this order, the flour, the sugar, the softened butter cut into small pieces, the yolk and the whole egg. Keep the extra egg white to one side in a bowl. Start mixing the ingredients by hand, crushing together the eggs, butter and sugar. Once they are fairly well mixed, add the flour and vanilla flavouring. Knead the mixture with your fingertips until it is homogeneous as regards both consistency and colour, working into a ball. Sprinkle some flour on a sheet of oven-proof paper and roll out the pastry into a rectangular sheep measuring about 30x40 cm and cut the outline of the cake. If you like, you can use the trimmings to make a round biscuit. Put the cake in the oven and bake till golden (it will take about 15/20 minutes). When the short pastry is ready, leave it to cool and start to prepare the icing. Put the egg white in a bowl and add the icing sugar, a teaspoonful at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the first teaspoonful has been absorbed, add the second and so on, until you have added half the sugar. At this point squeeze 5 drops of lemon juice into the icing and keep stirring and adding the icing sugar as before. At the end the mixture will be quite thick and you will have to stir it energetically for a minute until it is nice and shiny. Pour the icing into a bag with a medium star-shaped nozzle and start decorating the biscuit. Scatter the biscuit as desired with chocolate drops, sweets or candies. When you have finished decorating it, let the icing “dry” for about 12 hours at room temperature.

An extra idea If you want, you can cover Saint Martin with melted chocolate or colour the icing with food colourings, choose the sweets for decorating it with your children, or change the shape of the cake, for example making biscuits with a hole at the top that you can decorate and hang on the Christmas tree.

How to Find an Address in Venice

 

Italy's Venice is a city with many sights to see, but finding these sights can be difficult if you're not familiar with the town's address system. The city was built to make sense to those using the canals, not those on foot. You're bound to get lost at least once as you wander the streets searching for hidden gems of the city.

A map may tell you the name of alleys and squares, but a typical Venetian address is simply: San Marco 1323. Venice is split into districts called sestieri, and each building in a sestiere is numbered in one long consecutive sequence. Venice's random and informal street names are not officially part of an address, although many businesses will helpfully provide one. To pin-point a location therefore, you don't just need the brief official address, you also need a street/square name and also some helpful geographical pointer, e.g. a nearby church.

Even street names are far from straightforward. Most have evolved to describe an established location and mean descriptive things like 'Alley of the carpenters' or 'Courtyard with a well'. Consequently there are often several places with the same or similar names. If you are locating a street, you will require the name of the sestiere as well (what's more, sometimes there is more than one place with the same name in one sestiere). And even armed with official address, and street name, your task still isn't simple.

The next confusion is that sometimes one place may have more than one name. Even one name may have different versions - many streets in Venice are known both by their dialect name and by the Italianised version. Either of these may appear on maps. This is why you'll see many variations of placenames such as Fondamenta Nove (even throughout this website).

Streetsigns are not always easy to spot in narrow lanes. They may offer one or more variations on the name (o means 'or'), and they are often joined on the walls by signs identifying the parish (parocchia) and any adjacent canal (rio) or bridge (ponte).

If you're spending a long time in Venice or are just very interested in the city's structure, there is a good book called Calli, Campielli e Canali which provides extremely large scale street plans, along with property numbers. It covers Venice and the lagoon islands, and enables you to locate any address in the city, as well as providing some background information in Italian and English on landmarks and principal buildings. You can buy it in most bookshops in Venice. Sadly, it's rather too bulky to carry around as you explore.

What the names mean

Here are some of the most common titles for places in Venice: Calle - a lane or alley Campo - public open space (irregularly-shaped and less formal than a 'piazza'). Campo means field, and once these were rough-surfaced in earth or grass, and used for burials. They are still the hubs of their neighbourhoods. Campiello - a small square or courtyard. Corte - courtyard. Fondamenta - canalside walkway. Piazza - public square. There is only one in Venice, Piazza San Marco. Ponte - bridge. Piscina - filled-in pool of water. Ruga - significant lane, generally one which used to contain shops. Ramo - branch off a more important thoroughfare, whose name it takes. Rio - canal. Rio terrà or terà - filled-in canal, now a street. Salizzada - name given to the earliest streets to be paved. Sottoportego - covered passage under a building, often leading only to water.

Navigating Venice - theories, routes and landmarks

You can spend many idle moments in Venice evolving navigational theories. Landmarks are all-important, both major ones and private reminders. Routes between significant points are learned this way: e.g. ' left by the greengrocers, straight over the square with a tree in it, down the lane between the red house and the yellow house, left past the Renaissance doorway'. Even if you're the sort of person who has an excellent sense of direction, you'll still find that concentrating on a chain of landmarks is more effective in Venice than working from a mental map. If you're arriving for the first time and finding your hotel, make sure they give you simple, descriptive directions. Once you've found your base, memorise the route to the nearest major landmark or street (one that's marked on your map) - then you'll be able to find your way back. While route-finding and consulting maps, do bear in mind the Venetian rules of conduct; walk on the right and don't block streets.

There are certain through-routes in Venice - chains of lanes linking places together. At busy times of the day you'll see locals filing along these tortuous routes, striding down seeming dead-end alleys and darting around sharp corners. After a while you learn those of use to you, and create your own mental database of Venetian routes.

The only destinations signposted at all consistently are St. Mark's (San Marco), the Rialto, the railway station (Ferrovia) and the bus terminus (Piazzale Roma). Even these painted signs do sometimes falter, but generally they are reliable and can help you to head in the right direction. The ones to San Marco are the most suspect, as some signposted lanes can take you a long way round (something to do with shopkeepers wanting passing trade, perhaps?).

My Favorite Maps are here

High Tide in Venice

  Yesterday we had the first high Tide of Autumn-Winter 2012.

Today saw the first high tide of the season in Venice with water reading  the level at sea f 110 centimetres above sea level (Marco Secchi)

Generally Venice only has high water in Autumn and Winter and even then it is not every day that the streets are flooded. However when a higher than usual tide is expected in the city, sirens blare to warn the population so that they can prepare themselves. Maps as posted at the boat stops showing alternative pedestrian routes around the city that are equipped with special footbridges to avoid the high water and to reach the main parts of Venice.

level of tide and % of Venice that is flooded less than 80 cm. Normal tide at 100 cm 4% at 110 cm 12% An emergency sound alert the Venetian at 120 cm 35% at 130 cm 70% at 140 cm 90%

If you would like to check the level of your area you can check it here

The causes of the tides are the following: - astronomic: the attraction of the sun and the moon cause the regular rise and fall of the water: "6 hours rise and 6 hours fall". You therefore have two maximums and two minimums a day. - meteorological: a strong south-east wind ("scirocco") may cause the tide to increase by as much as 1 meter. - geographical: the seiche is a sort of long wave that runs through the whole of the Adriatic Sea with a period of approximately 22 hours.

20 Things to do in Venice - 14/20 Getting Lost in Venice

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that is as important when you’re visiting Venice than just wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys. If you only had 3-4 hours in the city, I’d recommend that you do this before you set foot inside a single museum or attraction – it’s that critical to enjoying your visit. By wandering (especially if you point yourself in the exact opposite of the direction where the herd is going) you can find Venice’s many charming and often-empty squares and streets, which goes a long way toward helping you appreciate the city. I’d almost say you could ignore basically everything else on this list and just stroll around without a map… But although I might not go that far (again, unless you’ve only got 4 hours or less), I do consider the sentence “get lost in Venice” an order, not a suggestion.

 

 

But really, the point of Venice – for me, anyway – is to wander its maze-like alleyways and bridges, getting thoroughly lost and then finding your way back to something familiar. It’s about accidentally finding a gondola workshop where the men are working their lathes into the groove of the boats outside in the sun. It’s about seeing a market boat (rather than a brick-and-mortar store) selling Venice’s few residents their vegetables and fish. And it’s quite a challenge to do any of that in a day-trip, or by staying close to the Piazza San Marco.

Iphone photo walk and workshop

  Today, like it or not, two most commonly used cameras on photo sharing site Flickr are the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4.

My Instagram and iPhone Pictures (Marco Secchi)

While more serious DSLRs from Canon and Nikon make up the rest of the top five cameras listed it is Apple’s iPhones that are clearly the most used cameras in the world right now—something that doesn’t look like changing any time soon. With each new iPhone release, improvements in both cameras are included as standard and over the last two years we’ve seen an amazing array of photography apps released. Along with these developments there has been an increased amount of iPhone-related questions, so I thought it might be time for a iPhone Venice Photo Walk.

The best camera is the one that you have in your pocket or your purse; the one you can pull out in a restaurant and use to photograph your lunch; the one that is readily available when you catch up with friends, when you’re walking your dog, when you’re on holidays, when you’re feeling spontaneous. And these days, if you have a phone, you have that camera. This Photo Walk will show you how to make the most of that mobility. Mobile photography, iPhoneography, or phone photography—it doesn’t matter what you call it, what matters is that it’s a real and important form of photography. The photos you take on your mobile phone are as valuable as the ones taken on your DSLR or rangefinder. They are valuable because you have captured a photo that would not otherwise exist. While mobile photography as a practice and genre certainly encompasses the range of devices available on the market, this photo walk focuses on the iPhone. The iPhone remains the most popular mobile camera device, and supports the most comprehensive photo app infrastructure. However, people using other devices will be able to benefit from the techniques and concepts described in this book. Most of you will already be taking photos on the iPhone, using your own combination of apps,processes, and filters to produce interesting images. What this short workshop will help you do is use your iPhone to create beautiful, professional looking photographs. It will equip you with the skills to take control of the iPhone, rather than rely on its auto functions. It will give you the confidence to capture the shot, wherever you are, day or night.

Once you have the shot, the book will help you gain control over the editing process, and then show you how to share your images online with your audience.

A 2 1/2 h walk around Venice taking pictures with your iphone/ipad (Androids are welcome ;-) )discovering landmarks and hidden areas of Venice. Talking about composition, apps and how to use them to get great pics from your iphone and  bring back home perfect memories of you and your loved. Special introductory offer $ 190. Max 2 people or 2 adults + 2 Teens.

[contact-form subject="Iphone Photo Walk REQUEST" to="msecchi@gmail.com"] [contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="true" /] [contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="true" /] [contact-field label="Comment" type="textarea" required="true" /] [/contact-form]

Big Cruises in Venice? NO thank you!

Protesters against large cruise ships docking in Venice are doing all that they can to stop the ships. A protest on Sunday caused several delays for cruises departing the city.  (Marco Secchi)

Seatrade Insider reports that several cruise ships left the Italian city later than planned as roughly 70 small boats operated by protesters took over the water while hundreds more protested from land. Among the ships that faced delays on Sunday was the 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa, 1,712-passenger MSC Opera and 2,536-passenger MSC Musica.

This protest, led by the No Grandi Navi (No Big Ships) organization, is part of an ongoing mission to stop cruise ships from coming into the port as locals have are afraid of potential damage.

The protestors believe that the large cruise ships, which pass within yards of Venice's Piazza San Marco, are causing environmental damage to the land. They claim that the ships are too big compared to the city and that the water churned up by them cause damage to Venice's delicate foundation. They fear that the ships may also be impacting historical treasures of the city.

Venice Photo Tour On the Steps of Canaletto

Giovanni Antonio Canal, alias Canaletto, was a painter and engraver who lived in Venice in the 18th century; he is world-famous for his wonderful views of Venice.

Topography, architecture, nature, atmosphere and lights are all mingled in his masterpieces creating realistic scenarios and authentic testimonials of the life and architecture of his time.

This itinerary propose the same places that Canaletto depicted in his works taking the participant to look at each location from the same angulation as if he/she were looking through Canaletto’s own eyes, searching for the differences between the 18th century Venetian landscape and today’s landscape as well as for what has remained unvaried since Canaletto’s time.

Le grand guide de Venise - sur les pas de Guardi et Canaletto 
Guardi, Canaletto et autres artistes du XVIIIe siècle se sont attachés à peindre toutes les facettes de leur ville. Près de trois siècles plus tard, Alain Vircondelet, un des plus grands historiens de Venise,  avec photographe Marco Secchi  s'adonne à une comparaison passionnante entre les photos de la ville d'aujourd'hui et les tableaux de celle d'hier. Douze circuits sont ainsi proposés au lecteur et commentés par l'auteur.

Un guide de Venise passionnant en pleine actualité de l'exposition dédiée à Canaletto au Musée Maillol.

The book is for sale with Amazon

Historic Regatta 2012

Every year, the first Sunday of September, the Historical Regatta comes back in Venice, the most traditional among the venetian events, which took place for the first time the 10th of January 1315 under the rule of the doge Giovanni Soranzo. Images are available for licensing in the Corbis archive

Every year, the first Sunday of September, the Historical Regatta comes back in Venice, the most traditional among the venetian events, which took place for the first time the 10th of January 1315 under the rule of the doge Giovanni Soranzo (Marco Secchi)

The most important race of the Historic Regatta are the Gondolini. Every year, the first Sunday of September, the Historical Regatta comes back in Venice, the most traditional among the venetian events, which took place for the first time the 10th of January 1315 under the rule of the doge Giovanni Soranzo (Marco Secchi)

The Doge and Queen Corner take part in 2012 Historic Regatta. Every year, the first Sunday of September, the Historical Regatta comes back in Venice, the most traditional among the venetian events, which took place for the first time the 10th of January 1315 under the rule of the doge Giovanni Soranzo (Marco Secchi)

 

Get around in Venice

How to get in and get around....

Because Venice is on a lagoon, the water plays a crucial role in transportation. Whichever way you arrive, the last part of your journey will be on foot from the nearest waterbus/watertaxi jetty. If you need to carry or wheel bags along the narrow streets, bear this in mind when choosing your hotel location and route to it.

Participants Gather For Historical Venetian Wa...

By plane

The closest commercial airport is Marco Polo Airport  (ICAO: LIPZ, IATA: VCE), on the mainland near Mestre (a more typical Italian city, without Venice's unique structure). There is a city bus and a shuttle bus from Marco Polo to Piazzale Roma. See the details in the By Bus section below.

By Boat - Turn left on leaving the terminal and walk 10 minutes along the covered walkway to the boat jetty. Alilaguna water-bus costs €15 for a leisurely 75 minute boat trip. Murano costs €8 and takes only half an hour. There are three Alilaguna routes to different areas of Venice. A direct waterbus from the airport may be be more convenient than taking the bus to the bus station and then changing to the local waterbus. Note that the waterbus services that run to the airport are operated by a different company (Alilaguna) than the other public waterbus services in Venice, so separate tickets will be required. Alternatively, from the same jetty, you can travel in style (and much faster) by hiring one of the speedy water-taxis (30 mins) for about €110. All these tickets are now buy-able online, as well as the airport waterbus route map.

The Treviso Airport  (ICAO: LIPH, IATA: TSF), located 25 km (16 mi) from Venice, is relatively smaller but becoming increasingly busy as the main destination for Ryanair, Wizzair, and Transavia budget flights. From Treviso Airport to Venice and Mestre, Barzi Bus Service [5] offers a €13 round-trip ticket price from-to Venice. Also these tickets available on their bus outside the airport for €13.

The San Nicolo Airport (ICAO: LIPV, IATA: ATC) is an airfield directly on the Lido. It handles only small aircraft, as the runway (grass) is about 1 km long, and does not have any scheduled flights, but might be of interest to private pilots (arrivals from Schengen states only) due to its convenience to the city (it is a short walk to the vaporetto landing).

By train

Trains from the mainland run through Mestre to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station on the west side of Venice; make sure you don't get confused with Venezia Mestre which is the last stop on the mainland. From the station district, water buses (vaporetti) or water taxis can take you to hotels or other locations on the islands, but walking is usually the best option. Direct trains to Venice are available from many international destinations, there are overnight trains from Munich, Paris and Vienna and also a weekly long-distance night train (four nights) from Moscow via Kiev, Budapest and Zagreb. Venice is well-connected with the domestic train network, Rome and Milano are only a few hours away. Also there are night trains from cities in southern Italy, the Bari-Venezia line having its terminus in Venice.

By car

Cars arrive on the far western edge of Venice, but remain parked at the entrance to the city (Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto - Europe's largest car park.) There are no roads past this point -- and never were, even before cars. Car parking is expensive here (26 €/12h, 30 €/24h) and the tailbacks can be quite large. An alternative is to use the car parks on the mainland (terra firma) and catch a vaporetto, train or bus into Venice. Park near the Mestre railway station, and catch a train to Venezia St.Lucia; there are many trains, it is very near (8-10 minutes) and quite cheap. (Don't bother searching for free parking near the train station - there are no free parking spots near.) Besides, Venezia St. Lucia is a good starting point to visit Venice. However drivers going to the Lido can use the car ferry from Tronchetto (vaporetto 17 - frequencies vary), right hand lane off the Ponte della Libertà into the city.

By rental car

Most of the major rental car companies have outlets at Piazzale Roma, at the edge of the city. These are on the ground floor of one of the major parking stations. When you are dropping off your car, you need to find street parking and then walk to the rental car outlet and hand in the keys. Do not park in the parking station! There is a vaporetto stop across the road from the parking station.

By bus

There is a direct bus between Marco Polo airport and the Piazzale Roma, on the west bank of Venice operated by ATVO. Starts twice an hour, takes 20 minutes and costs €5. The Piazzale Roma bus station is well served by vaporetti and water-taxis ... and of course, you can walk everywhere. From Mestre, you can take a bus to Venezia- Piazzale Roma. the ticket is €1.30 but if you buy it in the bus it will cost €2.50. You can buy bus tickets from specialized ticket kiosks and vending machines, as well as tobacconists and newsstands. All of the city is connected to Venice by bus.

By boat

Ships arrive at the Stazione Marittima which is at the west end of the main islands, it is served by vaporetti and water taxis.

Get around

Venice, the world's only pedestrian city, is easily walkable, and the absence of cars makes this a particularly pleasant experience. However, walking and standing all day can also be exhausting, so it is best to pace yourself. The Rialtine islands - the 'main' part of Venice - are small enough to walk from one end to the other in about an hour, provided you don't get lost (a common occurrence).

If you want to get around a bit more quickly, there are numerous vaporetti (water buses) and water taxis. The best and most tourist friendly Vaporetto map for me is here. The vaporetti are generally the best way to get around, even if the service route map changes frequently. If you are going to be in Venice for a few days visiting, it is a lot cheaper to use vaporetti than private water taxis. If you want to have a romantic ride along the canals, take a gondola ride, although they tend to exist for more scenic purposes, rather than getting people from point A to point B.

ACTV runs the vaporetti and other public transport services both in the lagoon and on terra ferma. Travel cards are extremely useful since the basic fare for one vaporetto journey is now 7.50 € where Travel Cards are

  • 18,00 € - 12-HOURS TRAVELCARD
  • 20,00 € - 24-HOURS TRAVELCARD
  • 25,00 € - 36-HOURS TRAVELCARD
  • 30,00 € - 48-HOURS TRAVELCARD
  • 35,00 € - 72-HOURS TRAVELCARD
  • 50,00 € - 7 DAYS TRAVELCARD

There are other versions available, including those offering discounts for youth under 29 year of age. Current rates can be found here. I have written before about the Waterbuses and also here

Since February 2009 the Venice Connected website of the Comune di Venezia makes possible to book online (at least 7 days in advance) most services controlled by the town administration (public transportation, access to the civic museums, access to public restrooms, car park tickets, entrance to the Casinò and access to the municipal WiFi network covering the entire historic centre); the online prices vary according to the projected number of visitors but are always cheaper than the current on-site prices (and cheaper than with a Venice Card).

You can also get a Venice Card, which has various options that you can choose when you buy it (public transportation, cultural attractions, toilet access, Alilaguna, etc.) There is a 'Junior' version of the Venice that is available at a slightly reduced rate for those between 5 and 29 years of age. Note, however, that a Venice Card is not recommended for those with less than 3 days in Venice, as most of the top attractions are not included in the Venice Card. If you'll be staying in Venice for a week - get the Venice Card and enjoy traveling from island to island and exploring the various museums and churches it offers access to.

Maps are available at the vaporetto stops in the ticket booths. The map is quite reliable, and is free when getting a Venice Card (€2 otherwise), or view the map here

Venice Cards can be reserved on-line for a considerable discount here. Keep in mind, though, that there are long lines when taking the Venice Card from the ticket booths. The Venezia St. Lucia ticket booth that offers Venice Cards is the one most on the right when you exit the train station.

Otherwise, take a walk! The city is not that big, and you can walk from one end to the other in a few hours (if you stick to the paths conveniently marked with arrows in the direction of major landmarks). But it would take months for a fit person to discover every path in the city. Along the way you will discover marvelous art, superb architecture and breathtaking urban landscaping. Exploring the city randomly by walking is well worth it but also be prepared to get lost easily! Signs all over the city indicate the direction to the main attractions, "Rialto" and "San Marco", as well as the way back to the train station ("ferrovia") and the bus terminal ("Piazzale Roma"). These signs make it easy to have the "get lost experience" even as a one-day tourist.

Be aware that addresses in Venice are of the form DISTRICT NUMBER (The Venetian word for district is "Sestriere"), not STREET NUMBER. To find a specific place using a map, make sure you know which district it is in. The numbers are assigned at the start of the district and increase as they move farther away from the Grand Canal.

Celebration for St Roch in Venice

 

The Confraternity of Saint Roch, founded in 1478 and immediately recognized by the Council of Ten, received the relic of Saint Roch's body in 1485.

Between 1517 and 1549, the Confraternity moved to one of the most prominent and captivating buildings in the city, one that preserves the extraordinary, original work of Tintoretto. The Confraternity of Saint Roch, which was made an "Arch brotherhood" in 1789 by Pio VI, has continued its activities without interuption to the present day.

A traditional celebration take place every year on the 16th of August

 (Marco Secchi)

Ponte della Paglia

One of the most beautiful bridges of Venice is the Ponte della Paglia (“Bridge of Straw”. This masterpiece is located behind the Palazzo Ducale close to which crosses the Rio di Palazzo. It’s a very important bridge because it links the Districts of San Marco and Castello and allows the passage from the pier on the Piazza San Marco and Riva degli Schiavoni. The view that you can have the Ponte della Paglia is really unparalleled, starting from the glimpse of the Ponte dei Sospiri (“Bridge of Sighs”). But from there you can also have an excellent and charming view of S Giorgio.  (Marco Secchi)

Also another sight that offers this historic passage, is the beautiful and romantic sunset with the sun that sets behind the Basilica della Salute.  Interesting and curious is the origin of the name “of straw”: in fact this bridge was a place of habitual mooring for boats laden with straw, and this has been known for old ordinances prohibiting this practice, probably for safety reasons related to fires.

Venice Cats Calendar 2013

I have written before about the famous Venetian cats  and decided to get  this year a self published calendar before being able with my Editors to publish a real and more affordable one for 2014  (Marco Secchi)

If you would like to see/buy one  click here

Support independent publishing: Buy this calendar on Lulu.  

Baccalà Mantecato Recipe

  baccalà mantecato is one of the signature dishes of Venetian cuisine and a staple of those wonderful hidden-away Venetian bacari, or wine bars.

The name of the dish comes from the verb mantecare, which is a culinary term meaning to 'beat' or 'whip' or simply to 'stir vigorously' so as to create a creamy consistency. It is the same word used to describe the final stage of making a risotto, when you stir the rice vigorously to incorporate grated cheese and butter, to creating that luscious creamy consistency that we all know and love. The technique serves the same purpose here, but in a wholly different context.

Baccalà Mantecato 

250gr salt cod, rehydrated. I think this involves a lot of soaking and changing of water over several days – we bought ours already soaked. A pinch of salt – the salt cod once soaked isn’t super salty 1 fat clove of garlic A handful of parsley 2 tbsp milk A squeeze of lemon juice

Oil, for emulsifying (we used vegetable as that’s what we had to hand; groundnut would also work but don’t, whatever you do, use extra virgin olive oil as it will overwhelm the cod)

Simmer the cod in water for 5 minutes, then leave to cool. While warm, break into pieces as small as possible.

In a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and parsley into a paste. Add the cod and mix vigorously. Roll back your sleeves and get pounding and smooshing as someone else dribbles the oil in, until you get a thick, smooth paste. It needs quite a bit of oil. Add just a squeeze of lemon juice, then loosen with the milk – add on tbsp at a time until it is incorporated – if you feel it’s necessary. Serve with toasted bread.

Fondaco Benetton or dei Tedeschi

Former trading house of the German merchants

If you look along the canal from the Rialto Bridge, you will see the remarkable Fondaco dei Tedeschi on the right-hand side. The trading house was built in 1228 and is one of the oldest buildings in Venice.

 (Marco Secchi)

The building in its present form dates from the 16th century and was built entirely according to the Venetian architectural tradition. Even from a distance you can see the five large gates at the canal side which allowed merchant ships to be loaded and unloaded easily. The 4-floor building contains some 160 rooms – including 80 bedrooms and numerous magazines. It is perfectly designed for its function as a trading house on the Rialto. Unfortunately, only fragments survive from the magnificent facade which was once decorated with frescoes by Giorgione and Titian. It used to house the General Post Office of Venice. Now sold (once again ) to the Benetton Family this is the proposed transformation...

Does Venice really need a new departments store...?? Does it really need such a transformation on an iconic building?

Seppie (Sepe) in Umido alla Veneziana (Black Cuttlefish Venetian Style)

I saw a video yesterday by Cesare Colonnese about the Seppie in Umido and decided to prepare them today for lunch so went to Rialto market to get fresh Cuttlefish (Seppie)

This requires fresh cuttlefish, because you will need the contents of one or two ink sacks. It makes an excellent one-course meal if served with either fresh polenta, which is the traditional Venetian accompaniment, or a simple risotto in bianco

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 pounds (1 k) medium-sized cuttlefish, with their ink sacks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup (250 ml) hot broth or bouillon
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) olive oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

Clean the cuttlefish, setting aside two ink sacks. Wash the cuttlefish well, cut the bodies into thin rings, and chop the tentacles. Set a pot on the fire and sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil, over a brisk flame. When the onion is lightly browned remove and discard the garlic, then add the cuttlefish to the pot, salt them lightly, and stir in the parsley Continue sautéing for ten minutes, stirring all the while, then add the wine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Remove the ink from the sacks to a bowl, and add it to the cuttlefish according to your taste – in other words, if you want a very dark dish add all the ink. Stir in the tomato paste as well, and continue simmering over a low flame until the cuttlefish is fork tender (45-50 minutes), adding the hot broth as need be to replace the liquid that evaporates. Check seasoning and serve, in an elegant pre-heated dish.