Venice Biennale Suggestions & Tips
June 2, 2011 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Venice Biennale Filter: So, we are going in a couple weeks Looking for general recommendations and insider tips on places to stay, eat, and see in both Venice and Rome - late June and Early July. 10 days total.

And then overall recommendations, to-dos, and to-sees at the Biennale. Sounds like there is a lot of great art and people watching so far.
posted by specialk420 to Travel & Transportation around Venice, Italy (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I went 2 yr ago and it was great. Definitely go to some of the fringe gallery exhibitions in addition to the main art space in the Giardini Pubblici where each country has its "house." Some of the best stuff we saw was in a garden behind Arsenale. The Arsenale was also cool.

Don't stay near St. Marks. Remember that Venice is teeny tiny so you don't have to be in the middle of things to be close to great places.
Don't eat in the restaurants on St. Marks square but do go there at night for an overpriced drink and listen to music.

We are NY walkers so we stayed in the San Polo region which was totally central and an easy walk to pretty much any other part of Venice. Plus when we walked to the Biennale or that side of town, we walked over the Rialto bridge each time which was fun.

Don't take gondolas or private water taxis; they are a rip-off. Do take the public ones (vaporetto) when you have luggage, they don't cost much and you can hop off wherever you want pretty much.

When you walk around, carry a good map because there are tons of little turns and all the cute plazas and gelaterias look pretty much the same when you are trying to navigate back home at night.
posted by rmless at 1:02 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh also, go to the old Jewish ghetto and take a tour- it's the first one and where the word "ghetto" comes from. The temples there are incredible and old but you need to be on a tour to see them.
posted by rmless at 1:03 PM on June 2, 2011

Response by poster: fantastic. great start to the thread. thanks rmless
posted by specialk420 at 1:28 PM on June 2, 2011

I was in Venice about six weeks ago (how time flies...). My first piece of advice, though I don't know how this will be what with the biennale going on, is to A) stay in Venice itself if you possibly can, and B) definitely check out the quieter Sestiere away from the tourist hordes.

My absolute favorite thing that happened in Venice was when my friend and I took the long way back to our hostel from the Accademia and happened upon the neighborhood around the local art and architecture school, in Santa Croce. We'd been walking a long way, and it was aperitivo time, so we stopped in at a little cafe for a spritz (which BTW you must try when you're there). It was hopping with students, who we struck up lots of good conversations with. Unfortunately I forget the name of that specific cafe. But honestly just walk, get lost, and when you see an interesting place to eat or drink, stop and check it out.

A more specific food recommendation - hidden in a teensy courtyard somewhere in the labyrinth just behind the Rialto bridge on the San Marco/Cannaregio side there is a tiny Osteria called Ai Rustigheri. You want to go to there.

The Jewish ghetto is also cool - I wish I'd taken a tour, myself.

Re maps - I downloaded Lonely Planet's Venice app before I went, which was super helpful. It's basically a wikified guidebook including a google-esque map of Venice. Which made hunting down different places much easier.
posted by Sara C. at 1:39 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

A tourist travel card is worth it if you're going to be in Venice for more than a couple of days. (A single ticket for the vaporetto is €6.50.)
posted by Francolin at 3:17 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oooh, Francolin's suggesting reminds me that, if you're going to be in Rome for more than a couple of days, you should check out their version as well. In addition to all the perks mentioned on the site, you also get to bypass the line at a lot of the major sites affiliated with the pass. Which makes places like the Colosseum much less insane.
posted by Sara C. at 3:24 PM on June 2, 2011

In Venice with the spritz you should also taste the local finger food, kind of like tapas - the 'cicchetti' - just walk around you'll find many little bars that serve them, try the ones where you see the locals assembling around aperitivo time (from 5/6pm) or even lunchtime (this one is where local friends took me last time I was there, it's small and there's not much room inside but lots of people sit on the wall by the canal outside). The Venetian 'tramezzini' (small sandwiches made with very soft bread and delicious fillings - quite different from tramezzini from other parts of Italy) are another cheap and tasty specialty. You'll find those everywhere too. I lived on cicchetti and tramezzini when I was walking around the installations at the Biennale a few years ago. Oh and for coffee and cake or even just to buy some fine confectionery to bring back home, this pasticceria is also another place friends took me to, in that location, though they do have more across Venice, in San Marco as well, since it's one of the oldest traditional pasticcerie.
posted by bitteschoen at 4:56 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

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