After a year in Reggio Calabria soaking up the culture of southern Italy, I had become a fan of the deep south. Nevertheless, Italy’s “beaten track” was beaten for a reason. I couldn’t possibly spend so much time in Italy and not visit Venice.
I arrived by train and spent a few days getting lost in the maze of canals and walkways, camera glued to my face much of the time. Yes, it’s pricey and you’ll find those 5 Euro (or more) espressos. But though the city is relatively small, you can still wander away from St. Mark’s, the Bridge of Sighs and such and find those local areas. Where the laundry hangs across the narrow alleyway. Where the coffee is affordable out of local necessity.
Gondola rides are not for the budget wary, I’m afraid, as they go up over 70 Euro for about 40-50 minutes. I resigned myself to the People’s Gondola, as I like to call it. The vaporetti are public boats along the Grand Canal. A one-hour ride is less than 10 Euro. A 24-hour unlimited pass is just under 20. Then you can get a night ride as well. Worth it for the day, but there are also 12-hour and multi-day passes that become even better deals if you plan to ride a lot. Very lovely.
Plus figure on heading out of Venice to island day trips to Murano (famous for blown glass) or Burano (famous for lace). If you are looking for cheap Venice hotels, check out HostelBookers. HostelBookers.com generally has pretty good rates.
See a photo of a Venice Carnival Mask over on my blog