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Venice Overview
Venice is a gorgeous and romantic city that doesn't disappoint. It's a fantastic place to spend Shabbos because there are several points hotel options, a Chabad with several meal options, the ability to carry and because the biggest attraction of Venice - just simply walking the streets and bridges - is a perfect Shabbos activity which will keep you from just be sitting bored in a hotel room.

Trip Reports:
Dan, Avid Reader, MnM1130, ChAiM'l, aj26, Yosers1, jj1000, Hudi, Cbs, Eli, steve L, jmansour, VacationLover, Yehoshua, Mech, yg99, yls2011, ABC, AharonInIsrael, @Yehuda

Getting there and getting around:

How long should I go for?
There really aren't too many activities to do in Venice, so a 1-2 day trip could cover the must see/do sights, but the city is so beautiful that you won't regret a longer stay! Because the sights are mostly just walking around the streets, checking out the shops, etc. many people find spending just a Shabbos/weekend in Venice is enough to get their fill. Arrive on a Friday and leave Sunday evening and you'll get your fill. (Again, a longer stay rocks too!)

Travelling around Italy/Getting to Venice
Most often, if you're making a trip from USA to Venice, you're not just going to see Venice, but rather a few cities in Italy. When visiting Italy there are a few ways to travel around - trains, rent a car, or if you're going directly from one end of Italy (let's say Rome) to the other end (let's say Milan or Venice), it could be you'll want to fly.

Air:
If Venice is your first stop in Italy, then you'll likely be coming via air. VCE is the airport code, and the airport is not actually in Venice proper (no, the planes don't land in the canals). Rather, you'll have to take a water bus or water taxi from the airport to Venice proper. The water buses to/from the airport are run by a company called Alilaguna (buses here aren't run by the city), take around an hour to get to San Marco Square (the main points hotel location) and cost 14euro. You can buy a roundtrip in advance for 25euro. Private water taxis take around 1/2 hour, but are a lot more expensive. Because people arrive at VCE from many different locations, it's not practical to discuss the different routes you can take to get here.

Train:
If your Italy trip starts in a different city in Italy, then you may want to look into travelling via rail. There are 2 main train companies in Italy - TrenItalia and Treno Italo. Rates vary on a bunch of factors and neither site is fantastically designed, so check them out and ask for some help here if you need. The express train Rome-Venice takes about 3:45 hours and the overnight takes 5.5-6.5 hours. As opposed to the airport, St. Lucia Train Station is actually in Venice proper. Once you arrive, you can take a Vaporetto to your desired location (again, likely San Marco Square). See "Getting around Venice" below for Vaporetto prices. You can also take a private water taxi, which won't have any stops, but will cost a lot more.

Car Rental:
If your Italy trip starts in a different city in Italy, then besides for taking trains, you may find that a car rental suits your needs better, especially if you plan on hitting up several cities along the way as taking a train usually means having to get a cab or bus to/from each train station from your hotel. That time/cost plus the cost of the trains may cause you to decide on a car rental instead. Since it's Europe, expect a manual car unless you pay more for an automatic. Driving in Italy may bother you if you're not super comfortable driving, but in terms of driving in Venice, don't be concerned. You'll be coming from a highway (which is just like highway driving back home), you'll get off onto normal sized/paved roads and within a few minutes, will likely be at your car rental dropoff - outside of Venice proper. There are no cars in Venice (although there is a Hertz in Venice proper that you could actually drive to and drop your car off, but rates at that location are super expensive), so you will likely drop your car off near the Venice-Mestre Train Station - not the St. Lucia station that's actually in Venice - but a second train station that's just outside Venice proper. From Mestre station, a 10 minute, 2 euro train ride will get you into St. Lucia station and from there you can follow the options listed above to get to your hotel.

Getting around Venice
If you're staying in the Jewish Ghetto or near San Marco Square (we'll get to where to stay soon), you'll be within walking distance (max 1/2 hour) of all the main sites in Venice. Even still, many people like to take a public water bus, known as a Vaporetto, to travel down the canals. You can buy tickets at many Vaparetto stops. An individual one way ride costs 7 euro, but there are also 24/48/72 hour passes that cost 20/30/40 euro, respectively. If you're between the ages of 14-29, you can buy a 72 hour Youth Pass for just 20 euro. It's possible that you may need to first purchase a "Rolling Venice" guidebook (should be available at the ticket counter) for 4 euro before they'll let you buy the Youth pass, but you can find that out at the ticket counter and even 24 euro is a great deal. There's also a special roundtrip beach ticket to Lido that costs 10 euro. Do some math to see what kind of pass will work best for you.


Where to stay:

There are 2 main areas where people normally stay: 1) The Jewish Ghetto, which is where the Shuls/restaurants are, as well as some Kosher hotels, but no points hotels and 2) San Marco Square, about a 1/2 hour walk from the Ghetto, but where most of the points hotels are. The walk is very nice, and helps you accomplish the "activity" of seeing the streets while on the way to your destination. The 30 minute walk may hinder your desire to make it to Shul for all Tefillos. YMMV ;)

Here are some places that are discussed in this thread:

NameAreaMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Pardes RimonimJewish GhettoWebsiteKosher hotel
Carnival Place<10 minute walk to the GhettoWebsiteNicest hotel near the Ghetto
Locanda Del GhettoJewish GhettoWebsiteKosher hotel
Westin Europa and ReginaSan Marco SquareWebsiteSPG Cat. 6; 20-25K/night. Beautiful hotel with marble lobby and a luxurious feel.
Comfort Hotel DianaSan Marco SquareWebsite10K Choice/night. Definitely dated, but kinda rustic in that regard. Cheapest points hotel option in the points hotel-lacking city of Venice.
Boscolo Venezia, Autograph Collection<10 minute walk to the GhettoWebsite45K Marriott/night.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & SpaNOT able to walk to the Ghetto, But Free ShuttleWebsite40K Marriott/night.
"Get your own place"AnywhereAirBNB, VRBO, HomeAwayRenting an apartment can be a great option in Venice especially if your family is large enough that you would otherwise have to get a few hotel rooms. You can find apartments near the Ghetto, and with meals at Chabad, this can definitely be a cheaper option than a hotel.

There are 2 other SPG properties, Hotel Danieli and The Gritti Palace, but there are some downsides to them. Both are SPG Cat. 7 which means you'll be paying a premium to stay there. Danieli is in the Square, but in Dan's TR you'll see that he pointed out there's no manual door, which poses an issue on Shabbos. Dan also writes that Gritti is 10 minutes away from the Square. Both are supposedly stunning, but seemingly impractical due to cost, distance and/or Shabbos issues.


What to do:

As said a few times so far, the highlight of a trip to Venice is walking the streets/canals and checking out the boundless shops that line the streets. But, there are of course some actual activities that one can do, although it's hard to say that any are "must-do"s.

Attractions & Activities
NameMore InfoComments
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Doge's PalaceWebsiteYou can get a classic tour of the palace, or you can opt for the Secret Itineraries tour, which will take you down to the dungeons where the prison was and up to the top floors to see offices, a torture chamber, and a court room while listening to the story of Casanova's supposed escape. The Secret Itineraries tour does not cover the main rooms in the palace, but you are free to walk around afterwards on your own.
Jewish Museum/ Ghetto TourWebsiteThe Jewish Museum offers tours of the museum and Ghetto. While the tours of the Ghetto in Rome are highly recommended by DDFers (and many would say a trip to Rome without a tour is nuts), there is not too much talk on DDF about the tours of the Venice Ghetto. Take that as you will. The tour is closer to an hour and costs 10 euro. Without the tour, you can't get in to see the nice Shuls that are not open that season.
Gondola RideN/AYou'll see gondolas everywhere you look. There are a few places where can get one that will take you on a 5 minute ride just going across the width of the canal for a couple of euro (called a "Traghetto"). There are options to get a private, 45-60 minute ride that usually costs around 90 euro. And finally, there's an in between option where you'll be in your own gondola among a group of others that are in their own gondolas. Some companies offer music and a serenade. Do some Googling to see different prices. A gondola ride will give you an additional "real feel" of Venice, but passing on it to save some money isn't a crazy idea. Walking the canals yourself is quite amazing.
San Marco SquareN/AWhether your hotel is in this area or not, this is a nice stop on your walks. A huge, open square with restaurants and shops overlooked by the large church and clock tower. During the day, you'll see people feeding pigeons, and at night, you'll see plenty of street vendors trying to get you to buy a rose for DW or a light up flying saucer. You can go up the bell tower for 8 euro for a beautiful view and you can get the very interesting audio guide for an additional 4 euro.
Lido BeachN/AIf you're in Venice for a few days, perhaps you'll enjoy a quick Vaporetto ride to Lido, where a 10 minute walk will get you onto a free public beach. Warning: Remember that this is a European beach.

Luxury Launch's Venice Guide nice list of different things to do in Venice


Shuls/Shabbos:

NameMore InfoComments
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Jewish Community of VeniceWebsiteIn the Ghetto, there are 2 community Shuls - one used during the summer and the other during the winter - that are both right next to each other. There are daily Minyanim.
ChabadWebsiteIn the Ghetto, Chabad has their own Shul/Beis Medrash that acts as the Yeshiva for the Chabad students as well as a Shul during daily Minyanim. They also own a storefront that acts as the Chabad house. Chabad owns the fleishig restaurant, Gam Gam, as well as the pizza shop, Gam Gam Goodies, that are described below. On Shabbos, Chabad hosts several meal options. First of all, you could order takeout in advance and pick it up or have it delivered to your hotel. But where's the fun in that? For meals at Chabad, the options have changed as of June 1, 2015:

1) A Kiddush is offered after Davening both on Friday night and Shabbos day consisting of Kiddush, Challah & a light meal - no reservations necessary. This is likely similar to the previous "free meals" that Chabad used to offer. It doesn't seem like any DDFer has reported yet how the new system works, and it's not clear from their site where the Kiddush takes places, but it's definitely no longer in Gam Gam (although it might be on the tables outside on the canal). The old system provided the opportunity to sit at a big meal with Jews from all over the world with all different types of backgrounds, which many found to be an awesome experience. It's hard to tell whether the Kiddush system will be similar or not.

*Pre-reserved meals*
In the old system, there was only 1 way to reserve your own table, but now there are 2 ways. Meals can not be divided between the two locations and are served at any time you want after Davening. Reservations for both options can be made by emailing info@jewishvenice.org and including the calendar date of the Shabbos you will be there and the names/emails of each attendee, as well as choosing one of the below options:

2) Shabbos in the Gallery - This option existed under the old system. Three meals at a private table in a storefront near Gam Gam that normally functions as an art gallery. 75 euro per person, 37.50 euro for children under 12.

3) Luxury1 Shabbos at Gam Gam Restaurant - Three meals at your private table, with more of a luxury atmosphere & meal, including more food choices, than the Gallery. Minimum donation is 100 euro per person.


Food:

NameMore InfoComments
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Gam GamWebsiteA nice fleishig restaurant, owned by the Chabad Rabbi. Some food is better than others, the service is pretty classic, and the prices are a bit above reasonable. But hey, it's Kosher food in Venice! You can eat outside literally at the edge of the canal, which is pretty sweet unless it's cold at night. Reservations are recommended as it can get crowded.
Gam Gam GoodiesN/ALocated just a few steps from Gam Gam, this is a small storefront that serves as a pizza shop (no seating unfortunately, but you can find benches further along in the Ghetto and are welcome to sit in the Chabad house storefront to eat). You might also find other foods like falafel, chocolates, packaged deli and fresh baked goods, which can be great for breakfast (and deli and rolls can be great for a cheaper dinner or to take food with you to your next destination that might not have Kosher food). Pizza is priced fairly and is tasty.
Volpe BakeryWebsiteRight across the alley from Gam Gam Goodies is a bakery serving fresh breads and pastries. According to the link, it's under supervision from the Chief Rabbi of Venice (not the Chabad Rabbi), however, DDFers question the Kashrus here. As of July 2014, the Chazzan at the Italian Shul said he goes into the bakery to light the fire every morning and therefore you can eat there. The place is open on Shabbos, but it must be owned by a non-Jew (or else how could it get a hashgacha?) So, there are some concerns and you may want to check into the Kashrus before you go, but the locals sure make it seem like it's fine.
FrulalaWebsiteFresh fruit smoothies that the locals will tell you are Kosher as long as you get the water-based versions. There are 2 locations - a storefront and a kiosk - that are both on the main walk from San Marco Square to the Ghetto. The drinks are tasty and refreshing, while being reasonably priced. They also offer free shotglass-sized samples, which are a great way to get a quick thirst quencher while walking!
Ghimel GardenTheir FB pageFrom Hershelsdeals Gimmal Garden is a real restaurant, Gam Gam goodies doesn't even have chairs, and is officially a bakery, not a restaurant. so you can't even compare. GamGam goodies opens at 7AM and sells breakfast, Gimmal Garden only opens at 10AM and closes 10PM
Gimmal Garden also offers Shabbos meals, Friday night is meat and Shabbos day is dairy.The food at Gimmal is excellent, they have Pizza, Fish dishes, Pasta, salads, Falafel  ETC....


Author Topic: Venice Master Thread  (Read 180190 times)

Offline AsherO

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2008, 11:09:51 PM »
Great location!
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Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2008, 12:53:48 PM »
The Mori is a very nice hotel. It's on a small quiet canal. Very little traffic. It's very nicely decorated but the rooms are somewhat small (all Venice - and Europe - rooms are on the smaller side)

Just BTW there is a great boat you can take from the Airport Straight to the Jewish Ghetto without any need of walking, it's 12 Euro I believe...

Enjoy...  Why not come visit Afghanistan for your next vacation?! Hotels are far cheaper and we've got the good stuff.... if you know what I mean.

Offline Eli

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2008, 03:55:01 PM »
How do we get in touch with these boat people? When we get out of the airport, where do we go? And once we're at the Jewish Ghetto, is there another boat bus to take the the Il Mori?
-Eli

Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2008, 06:38:20 PM »
The Mori doesn't have any stop right near it, as it's a very small canal... There might be something on the lagoon... I would recommend calling the hotel and asking them what stop is the closest... From the Ghetto it would prob. take about 10-15 minutes to walk there...

To get the boat which passes by the ghetto just ask the information booth when you arrive in Marco Polo (not Treviso I hope).... The bus boat to the Ghetto is a smaller boat then the usual bus boats (otherwise known as veporettos...)

Good luck!

Offline Eli

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #19 on: June 08, 2008, 01:33:32 AM »
Chikky, is there any more info you can give that would help us on our Thursday-Monday trip to Venice?

Thanks, I appreciate it.
-Eli

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2008, 03:20:52 AM »
Anyone ever experience the overnight train from Venice to Rome? Any tips or thoughts?

Offline moish

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2008, 03:37:48 AM »
Anyone ever experience the overnight train from Venice to Rome? Any tips or thoughts?
just curious  how much does such a train cost?

Offline AsherO

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2008, 01:39:17 PM »
One thing I heard lots of times (and this goes for anywhere in Italy, not just trains) is that you should keep your belongings secure. There are lots of theives and pickpockets.
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Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #23 on: June 13, 2008, 06:00:02 PM »
trains are a great way to get around Italy (or Europe for that matter)....  I think there are some better trains for a little more (maybe Eurostar?!)....

Safety is always a concern in Italy, so if you sleep make sure your belongings are not easily accessible.... 

Re Venice, There is a nice tower in S. Marco you might want to go up and get an aerial view of the area.... Rialto bridge of course is the other famous landmark with shops along the bridge.... (not quite like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence..)

Venice is all about walking... and getting lost...

If you have any tzedokah (maser) be sure to leave something for the local Shliach who is one of the best shluchim out there... (that's aside from the free shabbos food he provides...)

levi

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2008, 01:34:01 AM »
We will be spending a night in Lido has anyone ever been there that can recommend what to do the day we have there

Offline Eli

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2008, 10:54:06 PM »
Someone please advise me on how to find out about the overnight train from Venice to Rome...Levi will kill me if I don't arrange this and I can't find any info online for it.

Thanks
-Eli

Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2008, 11:30:42 AM »
Lido is basically Venice for cheap... There isn't much there, just hop on a boat and you're in Venice..... You can rent bikes there, but why bother..?!


Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #27 on: June 18, 2008, 11:36:10 AM »
This is the train website, http://www.trenitalia.it/en/index.html but normally you can just purchase tickets upon arrival....

levi

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #28 on: June 18, 2008, 04:47:35 PM »
Thanks ChikkyMonkey, Have you ever taken one of these trains?

Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: I'm heading to Venice...
« Reply #29 on: June 24, 2008, 03:58:39 AM »
yep... but the trains do vary... overall traveling in Italy (and Europe) by train is very pleasant.... Driving can be nice but expensive (gas is more like $8 a gallon, and if you don't drive stick expect to pay an additional $40-50 a day, above the already high rates of about $100 + a day)