Topic Wiki

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 185727 times)

Offline steve2

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #75 on: May 09, 2010, 03:13:06 PM »
I have a hard time believing anyone makes a business decision of not charging.  I'm not doubting that's what he said, perhaps to get you to make a donation, but still there's few businesses in the world that could survive on such a model.  And then why charge on weekdays for the food? Just make that free as well....I'm sure the weekdays subsidize the shabbos meals.

Chabad Shluchim go out to timbuktu and dedicate their lives to what they feel will help will hasten the coming of moshiach.  If it's providing free shabbos meals (or if they feel bad charging $ for a shabbos meal) than that's what they'll do if they can afford to make it happen.

 Maybe you are Correct, ask him when you are there in a couple of weeks and report back. I can only tell you what he in fact told me when I asked him and he answered me

 But there are numerous Chabad places that in Fact do have a set price. Dont know if HNL gets that many walk ins but they do have a set price for eg

Offline ChikkyMonkey

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #76 on: May 09, 2010, 03:26:38 PM »
I've known Ramy personally for over 10 years... I've travelled the world and come across many shluchim... they are all very dedicated and given over... But I have yet to see someone as kind and helpful as Ramy. I personally seen him hand Israeli backpackers hundreds of dollars, because they purse was stolen and they lost everything passport included...

I've seen people come to the restaurant eat for free and complain to him, and he would just smile and do his best to help them out...

He has hosted and catered numerous of simchas free of charge, just so they could enjoy a simcha....

Believe me the shabbosim aren't covered by the donations... the majority of people 90% don't leave a penny... He has no hard feelings and is thrilled to have the zchus of hosting some many jews of different backgrounds...

They are currently in middle of a fundraising campaign, I recently made a donation and would encourage others who have benefited to do the same... here's the info: http://www.jewishvenice.org/ 

Offline steve2

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #77 on: May 09, 2010, 03:49:48 PM »
I've known Ramy personally for over 10 years... I've travelled the world and come across many shluchim... they are all very dedicated and given over... But I have yet to see someone as kind and helpful as Ramy. I personally seen him hand Israeli backpackers hundreds of dollars, because they purse was stolen and they lost everything passport included...

I've seen people come to the restaurant eat for free and complain to him, and he would just smile and do his best to help them out...

He has hosted and catered numerous of simchas free of charge, just so they could enjoy a simcha....

Believe me the shabbosim aren't covered by the donations... the majority of people 90% don't leave a penny... He has no hard feelings and is thrilled to have the zchus of hosting some many jews of different backgrounds...

They are currently in middle of a fundraising campaign, I recently made a donation and would encourage others who have benefited to do the same... here's the info: http://www.jewishvenice.org/  

 well if a person wants to run a fund raising event then say thats what you are doing. No matter the cause or reason.

 Nothing against him personally but Id rather pay whatever the other place wants and have a reg Shabbos meal and not be hungry, nor do I like a parve meal for Shabbos lunch (ok maybe they spilled some beef fat on the potatoes that made up the chulet, but there wasnt even a piece of meat or bone to be found). Maybe you just have to be a Chabadnik of which I am definitely NOT

 Why did I go there simple the other guy felt why pay when you can get something for free, alot of people on here can relate to that very well. When next back in VCE I most definitely will be eating at the other place even if I have to alone

 Kowloon had a very nice spread but I prefer the atmosphere at Kehilat Zion 1000% better (thats HKG)

Offline SuperFlyer

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #78 on: May 09, 2010, 04:45:48 PM »
I was in the summer in venice, and had shabbos together with 100's of people of which maybe maybe 15 percent would donate. I meet people from all over and it was good fun.
Was there a second time of season and only about 40 people were there, and although some of them seem to have money, they felt as if they've been sincerely invited, so I wouldn't exactly see why he would donate.

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #79 on: May 31, 2010, 03:23:11 PM »
Shabbos in Venice is a must, Chabad there, although a bit "messianic," is just amazing.
Chabad also just opened a very good pizza shop with excellent bakery goods...more about that in an upcoming trip report.

Also for SPG be sure not to stay at the Danieli for Shabbos, stick with the Cat. 5 Westin or Cat. 6 Gritti Palace.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline steve2

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #80 on: May 31, 2010, 03:53:09 PM »
Shabbos in Venice is a must, Chabad there, although a bit "messianic," ...


 Boy are U being very nice by saying "a bit" those arent the words Id use to describe most of those there

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #81 on: May 31, 2010, 04:05:49 PM »
I loved the "antipasti a la messianica"

Yummm yummm :D

Offline Dan

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #82 on: May 31, 2010, 06:29:55 PM »
Boy are U being very nice by saying "a bit" those arent the words Id use to describe most of those there
They provide an amazing service for free...how can I not be nice in return?
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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #83 on: May 31, 2010, 06:36:59 PM »
They were always very nice, was there a couple of times.

Offline steve2

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #84 on: June 01, 2010, 01:29:02 AM »
They provide an amazing service for free...how can I not be nice in return?

 what 'service' did they provide for free?? I cant believe you didnt pay(OK  make a very nice Donation to cover your Shabbos meals)

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #85 on: June 01, 2010, 03:30:23 AM »
Steve2, this is a deja vue.

I was there once on a shabbos day meal, when a group of about 80 israelis walked past.
We all said, shabat shalom, join us. They didn't want, till we told them that it is free. They didn't want to believe it, but after pushing they agreed. After the meal, they left. They were in venice for the day, so chabad/gamgam/banin didn't make a cent on them.
If you really believe that he is making more profit out of getting donations and supplying free shabes meals, vs charging for meals, then I need to take my hat of for you. It means that you think that yidden are way more generous than I thought them to be.

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #86 on: June 01, 2010, 09:48:10 AM »
what 'service' did they provide for free?? I cant believe you didnt pay(OK  make a very nice Donation to cover your Shabbos meals)
We ate at Gam Gam a few times, and bought a pie of pizza and one of every type of absolutely delicious baked good at the new Gam Gam Pizza/Treat shop.  
I also gave him my card and offered my help in the future, but no, I didn't outright pay for the shabbos meals, which as per my email conversation with Rami were free.  I do hope that all of the other meals at their restaurants covered the shabbos food, but I was never asked for a donation by Rami.
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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #87 on: June 01, 2010, 12:51:38 PM »
We ate at Gam Gam a few times, and bought a pie of pizza and one of every type of absolutely delicious baked good at the new Gam Gam Pizza/Treat shop. 
I also gave him my card and offered my help in the future, but no, I didn't outright pay for the shabbos meals, which as per my email conversation with Rami were free.  I do hope that all of the other meals at their restaurants covered the shabbos food, but I was never asked for a donation by Rami.



WOW, Im Speechless especially after what everyone has posted on this thread, and yes Surprised as well

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #88 on: June 01, 2010, 12:54:42 PM »
Steve2, this is a deja vue.

I was there once on a shabbos day meal, when a group of about 80 israelis walked past.
We all said, shabat shalom, join us. They didn't want, till we told them that it is free. They didn't want to believe it, but after pushing they agreed. After the meal, they left. They were in venice for the day, so chabad/gamgam/banin didn't make a cent on them.
If you really believe that he is making more profit out of getting donations and supplying free shabes meals, vs charging for meals, then I need to take my hat of for you. It means that you think that yidden are way more generous than I thought them to be.

 those that I know who ate there felt after being told its Free but you can always make a donation if you wish to. Ended up giving a few $100 as they felt funny not to

Maybe its a generation thing or a thing with those who are well off to those who arent

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #89 on: June 01, 2010, 01:00:06 PM »
Sorry to leave you so speechless, but I spent close to $200 at Rami's restaurants trying out many different dishes.
He seemed pleased enough with that as he even gave me extra food for the trip home double wrapped for the airplane.

Like I said, he fully expects people to eat at the restaurants to subsidize the free shabbos meals.  Obviously donations are much appreciated, but that's not the purpose of free shabbos meals!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2010, 01:13:07 PM by Dan »
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