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, shlonx  dvol, @Mootkim

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. Alternatively you can use loco2.com which is an easy to use site all in English it has all the options and they donít charge anybooking fees. 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.
Grand Hotel Dei Dogi, 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. The Gritti has  undergone extensive renovations and is now fresh and on par with Aman. Many consider it worth it the distance from Chabad. There are very few base rooms, so upgrades are easy to come by.


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.
Padua                ??                 Synagogue and cemetery dating to the 1500's.

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.
ChabadWebsite


Google Doc to sign up for meals
In 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 Meal is offered after Davening both on Friday night and Shabbos day Kiddush - no reservations necessary. This is similar to the previous "free meals" that Chabad used to offer. The meal takes place in the Shul after davening. The meal provides 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. Please note that the "free meals" may be a little more limited in terms of options and quantities of food.

*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. 90 euro per person

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 126 euro per person.
Ghimmel GardensWebsite


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....

« Last edited by Mootkim on December 10, 2018, 02:59:51 PM »

Author Topic: Venice Master Thread  (Read 346987 times)

Offline ChAiM'l

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #420 on: June 24, 2011, 12:56:37 PM »
Did you call SPG to check for upgraded availability?
Meaning?

Offline ChAiM'l

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #421 on: June 25, 2011, 09:39:41 PM »
Is there any chance of the Westin opening up C&P availability for this week if I call them directly?

Offline MnM1130

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #422 on: June 28, 2011, 01:06:14 AM »
I have quite a long report... i tried to shorten it but i didnt succeed that well..
But here was our trip to venice...

We arrived in venice at about 10:30am Friday morning and were informed our stroller had been missing and we wont be receiving it until later that day, if were lucky. So being that we had 3 huge suitcases and 2 carry ons and an infant with no stroller- we actually were lucky enough to be able to take the water boat which we just ordered from the airport which cost an arm and a leg (100 euro). But im still fighting with amex and Alitalia for my money back (which I will get) but oh… if you go and you have the extra money- that was an awesome place to spend it. It was really nice and fast and it was a beautiful ride!! We arrived in the westin ( I liked the hotel a lot)- and our room was almost ready cus I requested early check in, but it had no view so I requested them to change my room. They did have one room available which had a partial view- worth waiting the extra 3 hours for.
 I wasted a whole day on the phone with amex platinum services trying to assist me in what to do next cus it was Friday afternoon and we were planning on walking to chabad at night and I was missing an important set of wheels for my lil munchkin. So I just ended getting info on a baby store from the concierge (if uve ever been to venice ull understand that there ARE NO BABY STORES!!) and we took a map and set out on a long journey. Got lost several times- but it was fun- but not that much fun with a 25 lb 1 yr old- but thank god I brought a baby leash and I let him walk when we were not near water. 
We bought a stroller there for 80 euro(!!!) and it was 10% off cus I begged the lady for a discount and it worked!!  (which btw im also makin either Alitalia or amex pay for) But it was a necessity for our shabbos. Shabbos came in at about 8:45, and we set out to walk a supposedly Ĺ hour walk. Well… it took us over 2.5 hours!!!!
We did have a few malachim over the course of our journey- that walked us from place to place- and one that actually walked us from chabad all the way home which was a much shorter walk but still about 45 mnt walk. Next time we take a bus there b4 shabbos- cus that was a walk to remember.
We made it to chabad at 11:00, exhausted, tired, and hungry . But it was WELL WORTH IT!! We had the most beautiful time there and many people were still eatin there… they were so kind and friendly and helpful. The food was good, and the atmosphere was so nice. We home later on that night (I think we got back home at 2 or 3 I cant remember) but we passed out cus we didn’t sleep in 48 hours. When we came into our room our stroller was sitting there waiting for us- but it made us a bit nervous cus we did tape up the lock and light candles in the room- but thankfully no one said anything to us, and nothing was touched. The next day we did not walk back there we were still aching. So I had brought rolls and deli to make sandwiches and chabad gave us a bottle of wine to have. And we had our own little meal in our room.
The rest of the Shabbos meals we made ourselves ( I brought more than enuf food) We even ate shalosh seudos outside with all the mosquitos on the main canal- and it was so beautiful.
M. Shabbos we went out to St marks sq- and it was fun to watch what was goin on… we walked up the canal and went just for a site seeing tour- that town never sleeps.
Sunday we bought a 24 hour pass on the main water bus(cost us 13 euro a person if I remember correctly) (I think its called atc or sumthin) and we went to morano and watched them blow glass and picked up a few nice things, it was really nice there, worth seeing. Also the scenery there is so gorgeous. Than we took the water bus to the ghetto, and went to check out the pizza store. The food was ok. I didn’t think it was amazing- but def nice to have hot kosher meals there. We than took a tour of the shuls (a last minute decision) which was interesting. And we walked around and checked our emails ;) thanks to chabad for the internet service they provide. (donations accepted.) And last but not least we ate in gam gam- and I actually had a delicious meal… I was deeply impressed. The bakery was closed so I didn’t get to check that out… but I did taste some baked things from the pizza store.
We headed home and took the water bus back to st. marks and later on that night we went on a gondola ride. We paid 100 euro for 30 mnts which was expensive cus it was almost midnight. But we said now or never. Im glad we got to go on it it was something we would never be able to do again. But our guy didn’t sing for us 
Than we headed out to the airport the next morning  with the allilaguna bus took us 1.5 hours to get there- a VERY long ride. I would say it was nice scenery at least but truth is I was out cold.
And than we were off to NY…
I really had an amazing time there and I thank e/o for helping us plan our trip.
I hope this can be of help to whoever…
But venice is an amazing place to go and see…..

Offline Bp

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #423 on: June 28, 2011, 01:16:45 AM »
Thanks, Nice report.

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #424 on: June 28, 2011, 09:37:15 AM »
Shkoiach!

Offline ChAiM'l

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #425 on: July 01, 2011, 09:59:44 AM »
Venice Trip Report 28-29 July '11

Before I start, I have to quote what Dan said:

Quote
-Venice is INCREDIBLE! Itís like no other place youíve ever been to before. There are no cars as the streets are made of water. Boats and your own two feet comprise the only modes of transportation. Itís a site that you simply MUST see in your lifetime!  And no, going to the Venetian in Vegas does not count

We arrived in VCE at about 11am Tuesday. From landing to exiting the airport took about 15 minutes, very efficient. We took a water-taxi straight to the hotel for Ä100, which is a flat-rate to anywhere in Venice, I believe. The water taxi/bus stop is about 5-10 minute walk from the terminal, as opposed to the regular bus which stops right outside the terminal. The actual taxi ride was an amazing experience. Iím not sure it was worth Ä100, but considering we would have been 4 tickets on the Alilaguna which is Ä15pp, for Ä40 more it was definitely worth it.
 
As none of the SPG hotels had award availability, we opted for the Hotel UNA which ranks #36 on Tripadvisor. It is situated in the Cannaregio district, 2 minutes from the Ca díOro vaporetto (water bus) stop, and 15 minutes from the Ghetto/Chabad. We were travelling with my 2 kids and 2 older children (family members), so we booked a Junior Suite. The suite is on two levels. Both floors have full bathrooms, TVs, mini bar etc. The first floor had a sofa which was opened for the kids to sleep on, and the second floor was the bedroom. I would highly recommend the hotel, although Shabbos might be a problem as the only entrance has an automatic door, and everything in the room works electronically.
 
As some of our food was confiscated at LGW (where they are very strict with anything that even resembles a ďpasteĒ), we made our way to the Ghetto to check out our options. The weather was beautiful (85 degrees and sunny), so we really enjoyed the walk. We stopped at GamGam Goodies where we bought pizza (there wasnít much else to buy), and on their advice, took it to the square to eat, as they donít have seating. Iím not sure why they donít put out 2 tables by the canal for their customers. It wouldíve made life much easier.
 
At the kiosk outside GamGam we bought 36-hour vaporetto passes for Ä23 + Ä3 for a one way ticket with the regular bus to the airport. We then walked to the San Marcuola stop where we took the ď1Ē to St. Markís Square. After hanging around a little there, watching the pigeons and walking the streets, we went back to the hotel to freshen up. Mincha at Chabad was 7:00, and from there we went to GamGam for supper. Their food is nothing to write home about, but good nonetheless, and definitely beats eating sandwiches or pre-packaged food.  Also although I paid cash, I saw people paying by credit card, so they mustíve added that since Dan was there.
 
Wednesday morning, we started off by walking to the Rialto Bridge to take the obligatory photos. From there, we went to the Ghetto, and took the tour of the three synagogues. The price is Ä8.50 for an adult and Ä7 for a child over 7, and includes admission to the museum. Our tour took a little longer than usual because of an obnoxious Israeli group that decided that itís ok to make a huge Chilul Hashem. The shuls are absolutely beautiful, and worth every penny. We ate lunch from the pizza store, and tried the Gelato (which comes from Belgium, NOT Italy).
 
From there we took a boat from the Guglie stop to Murano, but the glass-blowing places were all closed, so we just browsed the shops a little. After that, we took a long ride back to St. Marks square where my daughter enjoyed feeding the pigeons. We then went back to the hotel to pick up our luggage, and took a 10 minute boat ride to Piazzale Roma. From there it was a 25 minute smooth bus ride to the airport.
 
TIP: If you are going in the summer, you will need lots of water, as it gets very hot there. The average price for a small bottle of cold water is Ä1 in most places. However, in some places (usually in small non-touristy bakeries etc.) you could get a big cold 1.5l bottle for Ä1.
 
Hope I didn't leave anything out.

Jewish Ghetto


Chabad House


Gam Gam Goodies




Gam Gam






Venice









Offline MnM1130

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #426 on: July 01, 2011, 10:19:59 AM »
thanks for the pics! was funny to c them after ive just been there....
its so beautiful there

Offline moish

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #427 on: July 01, 2011, 12:16:24 PM »
i recommend the fanta orange in italy, all of europe for that matter. in america and israel i cant touch the stuff, but in europe its divine

Offline moish

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #428 on: July 01, 2011, 12:17:52 PM »
i have a question to people who take pics of their dishes in restaurants, do the other diners look at you funny? i can never gather enough courage to do it

Offline Dan

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #429 on: July 01, 2011, 12:19:58 PM »
Great report!

do the other diners look at you funny?
Nope, but I usually get better service after I start taking pictures :D
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 ChAiM'l

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #430 on: July 01, 2011, 12:31:16 PM »
i have a question to people who take pics of their dishes in restaurants, do the other diners look at you funny? i can never gather enough courage to do it

I guess it depends what kind of restaurant. In a more upscale place, I wouldn't take pictures (maybe with my phone I would), but I think that anywhere that you could bring little kids and feel comfortable, is casual enough to take pictures of the food.

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #431 on: July 03, 2011, 09:47:19 PM »
Thanks for the report and pics!

Offline AsherO

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #432 on: July 03, 2011, 09:58:52 PM »
Thanks for the report and pics!

+1

Thanks Chaim'l, great report. What camera did you use, your pics are beautiful.
PGF24BMGS

Offline steve L

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #433 on: July 03, 2011, 10:04:08 PM »
for peolle who have gone to venice is it worth to see the SECRET ITINERARIES TOUR of doge palace?

Offline moish

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Re: Venice Master Thread
« Reply #434 on: July 04, 2011, 03:23:57 AM »
i did it and found it to be interesting