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Durant and Cheryl Imboden
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ABOVE: La Bella Vita cruises in Italy's Po River Delta between Venice and Mantua. In 2015, European Waterways is offering two opera-themed cruises aboard La Bella Vita, a luxury hotel barge that cruises between Venice and Mantua. Each opera package will include a pre-cruise "Night at the Opera" with premium seating in the Arena di Verona, a former Roman amphitheatre in Verona (an easy drive from Padua, where you'll spend a night before boarding the hotel barge in Venice). The dates of the two opera-themed cruises are: July 11-18, featuring Puccini's Tosca. September 5-12, featuring Verdi's Nabucco. Other opera-related activities... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: A sewage boat arrives to collect the contents of a septic tank or a "pozzo nero" (cesspool) in a Venice storefront. Sewage isn't the most appealing travel topic, but if you're at all interested in urban infrastructure, you might as well learn where things go when you do. Most of Venice's sewage goes directly into the city's canals. Flush a toilet, and someone crossing a bridge or cruising up a side canal by gondola may notice a small swoosh of water emerging from an opening in a brick wall. In theory, such waste is supposed to be purified by... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2015 at Venice Travel Blog
We tend to be underwhelmed by gift books and coffeetable books, especially when they're about Venice. We've seen too many heavy, expensive books that consisted mostly of standard tourist photos (gondolas, Carnival masks) and seemed destined to gather dust on bookshelves. This year, however, we received a review copy of a readable--and affordable--book that breaks the mold. It's titled Dream of Venice, with photographs by Charles Christopher and editing by JoAnn Locktov (who also has written two books about contemporary mosaics). We recommend Dream of Venice with enthusiasm, and if you're looking for the perfect gift book--for the holidays, for... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
Edmund Hunt: The B&B would be your most reliable source of information, but this Google Map might help:,12.333998,20z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x78f9321bd58866e7
Toggle Commented Nov 25, 2014 on A warning about water taxis at Venice Travel Blog
Acqua alta, or high water, occurs in Venice when a high tide coincides with a drop in barometric pressure, often in combination with a scirocco wind that pushes water toward the northern end of the Adriatic Sea. The sea's water level rises, and the excess water is forced into the Venetian Lagoon at high tide, flooding low-lying areas of Venice for several hours until the high tide recedes. The main acqua alta season is from October to April, and the flood tides are especially common in late fall. Today, the high water was fairly moderate--about 100 cm above the official... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: In a few weeks, The Montague's deck will be transformed into a mountain ski lodge. Red Carnation Hotels has a knack for knocking the stuffiness out of the four- and five-star hotel experience, and this winter, it's doing so again with a reprise of The Montague Ski Lodge at The Montague on the Gardens in central London. From November 19, 2014 to January 30, 2015, the hotel's outdoor deck will be "magically transformed into a mountain ski lodge for the winter season, complete with falling snow, pine trees, snowmen, reindeer, piste maps, and twinkling lights." The Ski Lodge's bar... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
ABOVE: The rotation180° Travel Away Backpack from MindShift Gear. Backpacks are handy, but you wouldn't want to use a backpack for your passport, wallet, camera, and smartphone--or would you? With the new rotation180° Travel Away Backpack from MindShift Gear, you can enjoy the storage space of a backpack and the security of a rotating hidden or front-mounted beltpack at the same time. According to MindShift, "In one swift motion, the wearer can rotate the concealed beltpack to the front for instantaneous and secure access to camera, passports, guidebooks, tablets, or other travel essentials." And when you (a.k.a. "the wearer") want... Continue reading
Posted Oct 16, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
Lucas Leenders: I don't read Dutch, but I read German well enough to *think* I know what you're asking. If your ship is leaving from Marittima (the main cruise basin), you can take the airport bus to Piazzale Roma in central Venice and catch the People Mover automated tram to the cruise port. That's the cheapest way to do it. Alternatively, you could go by taxi directly to either the Marittima or San Basilio piers. (Each taxi will cost 40-45 euros.)
Toggle Commented Oct 15, 2014 on A warning about water taxis at Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: A man and a woman model Goldon plastic boots in Venice's Piazza San Marco during acqua alta. From roughly October through April (and, increasingly, at other times of the year), low-lying neighborhoods in Venice's historic center may be flooded for several hours at a time by storm tides called "acqua alta" or "high water." Although municipal workers set out passerelle or raised wooden walkways in critical locations during acqua alta, there are times when the only way to get around is to go wading. Venetians wear rubber boots (which are available in local hardware stores and other shops), but... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
Sorry. I need to read more carefully! Unfortunately, Trasbagagli has a monopoly on luggage storage at the airport. It also runs a luggage-storage office at the Piazzale Roma in Venice (the arrival point for airport buses and land taxis), but you might run into the same problem there. Still, it won't hurt to ask. Trasbagli charges a different rate at the Piazzale Roma than at the airport (7 euro instead of 6), so who knows--maybe it has a different policy on luggage dimensions, too. You can call the Piazzale Roma office direct at +39-041-5231107. - di
ABOVE: The cover of The Gondola Maker, a new novel by Laura Morelli. We recently received an announcement from Laura Fabiani of Italy Book Tours that we wanted to share with you. It's about The Gondola Maker, a novel by Laura Morelli, who has put her background as an art historian to work in creating "a tale of artisanal tradition and family bonds set in one of the world's most magnificent settings, Renaissance Venice." Here's a description of the book: "When Luca Vianello, the heir to a renowned gondola-making enterprise, experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
I think you're out of luck at the airport, but you might be able to find a kennel on the mainland that could help you. (We haven't used any kennels in Venice, so we can't make any recommendations, unfortunately.) Alternatively, you could bring your dog to the city with you. Venice is a dog-friendly city, and you should be able to take your dog most places other than for museums and supermarkets.
ABOVE: A surfer catches a wave at MUC. For the fourth summer in a row, Munich International Airport (MUC) will wow spectators and thrill participants at its "Surf & Style" event from July 30 through August 24. Pumps will create a standing wave 10 meters (33 feet) wide and 1.5 meters (5 feet) high in an outdoor basin at Munich Airport Center, a short walk from the passenger terminals. The surfing attraction will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., and admission is free. Up to 10 people at a time will be allowed into the basin, with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
The last time we checked, the tram was due to enter service in December. (ACTV has been doing test runs, however, so you might see it operating before then if you're in the Piazzale Roma.)
ABOVE: Look for the tiny yellow Venice Luggage Deposit logo at the entrance on Calle Larga Malvasia, which is only a few minutes on foot from the Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge. (The building number is Castello 5496.) Venice has a good supply of left-luggage offices, with locations at Marco Polo airport, at the Santa Lucia and Mestre train stations, in the Piazzale Roma (the city's bus and taxi gateway), and the cruise port. Until recently, however, finding a place to dump your bags in the heart of the historic center wasn't easy, unless you were checking in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: Tourists and locals mingle amid the flowers on Tulip Island, Amsterdam. Tiny Tim would have loved Amsterdam's newest tourist attraction: "Tulip Island," on the tiny islet of Muziekkoepel opposite the Blue Teahouse in the city's Vondelpark. As you follow the late singer's exhortation to tiptoe through the tulips, you can pick your own bouquet while learning about the cultivation and history of Holland's most famous flower. As a bonus, you'll meet other harvesters, and you'll have the opportunity to sell or trade your pickings in front of the traditional auction clock. The Tulip Experience Foundation, which runs the island,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
ABOVE: From Venezia Mestre railroad station, it's only a 10- to 15-minute trip into Venice's historic We'd never advocate spending only one day in Venice (we'd suggest a week to a month), but we'll concede that one day is better than none. If you're pressed for time, this e-mail that we received from Harri Vainio of Finland may be helpful: "Because of your site we were able to squeeze in a day in Venice in our week-long visit to Garda. I know lots of folks say that Venice cannot be visited by car in a day, but with some... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: A Delta Air Lines 767flies over the Venetian Lagoon on its approach to Venice Marco Polo Airport. Not long ago, a reader e-mailed us with the question, "How can I get from Marco Polo Airport to the Venice train station?" The answer was more complicated than you might guess, because there's no road access to Venice's Santa Lucia Railroad Station. Instead, the easiest way to reach the station is to take a bus or taxi from the airport to Piazzale Roma (at the edge of Venice's historic center) and walk across a bridge to the station. Total travel time,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: In June, this dog (plus another dog, eight cats, and three tortoises) will welcome a housesitter in Ayvalik, Turkey. In a new Europe for Visitors Blog post, we describe a great travel opportunity for pet lovers with time to spare: House-sitting in Europe with The concept is simple: You take care of a house or apartment (including pets and plants) while the homeowners are out of town. In return, you get a free place to stay for anywhere from a week or two to several months. Opportunities range from London townhouses to French farmhouses to villas on the... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at Maggie in Venice
ABOVE: Have you ever wanted to spend the summer with a herd of alpacas? can match you up with an apartment and alpaca farm in Umbria, Italy. INSET BELOW: A friendly dog at a home in Ayvalik, Turkey, where the sitters will watch eight cats, two dogs, and three tortoises for two weeks in June. When we travel, we often rent apartments for a week or two, but now we've discovered something even better--at least for certain types of trips--thanks to is the brainchild of Andy Peck, who created the site four years ago. James Cave tells... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
We've just finished a major overhaul of our Venice Hotel Directions at Venice for Visitors, which provide step-by-step walking directions and location maps for more than 130 hotels, inns, and B&Bs in Venice's historic center. The biggest change is in maps on individual hotel pages: In the past, our custom mapping service limited us to 100 maps, which meant that (1) we couldn't use dedicated hotel markers, and (2) we couldn't tweak the neighborhood maps for each hotel. We recently upgraded to a more expensive map plan, which has allowed us to create 130+ new maps, with each being optimized... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
ABOVE: Maggie demonstrates her close-range DNA sniffing skills. Now that residents of Venice and the Veneto have voted unofficially to secede from Italy, regional authorities are looking for ways to identify true Venetians so that Italian loyalists from out of town won't be able to rig the results of any legally-binding referendum on secession and reinstitution of the Venetian Republic. So far, the most popular proposal has been to train volunteer "sniffer dogs" in DNA detection through nasal scanning. In the photo above, Maggie shows how the process will work: When a referendum voter attempts to enter a polling place,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2014 at Maggie in Venice
Sorry, but Cheryl didn't buy that busker's CD. She was too busy taking pictures of the dogs. :-) - Durant
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2014 on Busking with Rover at Maggie in Venice
ABOVE: The Jewish Museum in Munich opened in 2007. (The museum is on the right; the building on the left is Munich's new main synagogue.) The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has published a new e-brochure titled Germany for the Jewish Traveler. The English-language brochure contains travel tips and information about Jewish life, culture, and places of interest in 64 German cities. It also features interactive maps and Web links. According to the GNTB, Germany is home to the third-largest Jewish community in Western Europe--and the only one that is growing, not shrinking. In 2013, the GNTB reported an increase... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
In "Taking a coffin to a Venice undertaker," we showed one aspect of death in Venice. With this post, we'll show what happens after the coffin has an occupant. Below, you can see a funeral boat or water hearse on the Grand Canal. (On the left is the Ferrovia waterbus stop, next to Venice's Santa Lucia Railroad Station.) We're guessing that this funeral boat is headed for the Piazzale Roma or the Tronchetto parking island, where a four-wheeled hearse will transfer the deceased to a cemetery on the mainland. Not all dead Venetians are taken away to terraferma. Venice has... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog