We very much enjoyed Venice. I would highly recommend the Hotel Locanda Sant’Anna, run by a lovely couple. It is in a quiet, residential neighborhood near the Giardini. We had a room with a canal view (the small hotel is pictured in this post, but I don’t think my iPad blog skills are good enough to label the photo). Some folks might think they want to be closer to Piazza San Marco or Ponte Rialto, the big tourist areas. We timed ourselves and our hotel was a 20 minute walk to San Marco, which evidently is enough to keep the hordes of cruise ship tour groups and other tourists away from the area near our hotel. That was fine with us. I find the crowds maddening and I can see why the Venetians are not too keen on tourists. There are just way too many here, which, in a way, made me feel bad for being one. We try to be courteous tourists and good representatives of the USA — not clogging up space with lengthy photo-taking, walking single file to let locals go by, trying to speak Italian, saying “per favore” and “grazie,” not complaining about how things are different. After all, if you want everything the same, you should just stay home. And, honestly, different is often better.
We spent the majority of our time wandering around the quieter areas, just looking at the beauty of the architecture and enjoying the car-free atmosphere. Stopping for Prosecco or Campari spritzes at tiny bars was a pleasant way to enjoy the city. One night, we split the cost of a gondola ride (100 Euros) with friends from back home. We took the ride right at dusk and it was lovely, worth the money to get a different perspective on the city. And our gondalier pointed out to us the place where George Clooney is getting married this weekend. “Hey, is that George Clooney?! I see him on the bridge!” We were bummed that our invitation must have gotten lost in the mail. At Bar Refolo last night, a man who was allegedly the concierge at the hotel where the Clooney party is staying confirmed that he had indeed arrived in town. When I joking said he might stop by the bar for a drink, another (drunker) fellow said it could happen — just like in ancient times in Venice when the rich and famous mingled with the regular people.
Ah, the magic of Venezia! Ciao!