Your home in Venice is the delightful Santa Croce Boutique Hotel, a formerly private palazzo turned hotel, in the sestiere of Santa Croce, at Campo Nazario Sauro 980. Be sure to arrive by the afternoon of Thursday, June 1st (for June 1-9 seminar) or Friday, June 9th (for June 9-17 seminar), when we’ll meet for a welcome ombra and cichetti. Check in is available from 3:00 pm, though the helpful hotel staff will do what it can to accommodate you should you arrive prior to then so long as they have sufficient advance notice. You will be enjoying its beautiful rooms, garden, and fantastic location until the morning of Friday, June 9th (for June 1-9 seminar), or Saturday, June 17th (for June 9-17 seminar); check out is by 12:00 pm.
The Santa Croce Boutique Hotel’s website has information on how to reach the hotel at How To Reach Us. Note that you can make arrangements with the hotel directly to book private transportation to and from the hotel for a fee (not included in seminar cost).
From the Airport (Marco Polo International Airport), there are three options:
- Take a taxi or the public ACTV (http://www.actv.it) bus line 5 (about 30 minutes) to the Venice bus terminal in Piazzale Roma and then take the vaporetto (water bus) line 1 for a brief ride on the Canal Grande to the Riva de Biasio stop (the second stop after you get on at Piazzale Roma). From the Riva de Biasio stop, it’s a 3-minute walk to the hotel: with your back to the Grand Canal, head right, along the Canal, then turn left into Calle del Pistor and then right into Calle dei Bari, which feeds into Campo Nazario Sauro. The hotel will be on your right. An ACTV bus + vaporetto ticket from Marco Polo costs around €17
- Take the Alilaguna (http://www.alilaguna.it) public boat company “Linea Arancio – Orange Line” to San Stae. Boats leave every half an hour from the airport. From the San State vaporetto (water rbus) stop it’s a 7-minute walk that includes two sets of stairs/bridges: head southwest on Salizada San Stae, which becomes Calle Tron, then Calle del Tentor, and then Salizada Carminati. Turn right onto Calle Colombo, then left onto Calle Larga, walk through Campo S. Giacomo da l’Orio, right onto Ruga Bella, and a slight left onto Campo Nazario Sauro. Alilaguna tickets can be bought online. A roundtrip ticket (valid for 30 days) costs €27.
- Take a private motorboat taxi to the hotel’s closest waterway, Rio Marin, and tell the taxi driver the name and address of the hotel. A private water taxi from Marco Polo to downtown Venice costs circa €100-120 (Note: water taxis can hold up to ten people).
From the Train Station (Venezia Santa Lucia Train Station), there are two options:
- Take the ACTV (http://www.actv.it) vaporetto (waterbus) line 1 to the Riva de Biasio stop (first stop after you get on at the train station). From the Riva de Biasio stop, it’s a 3-minute walk to the hotel: with your back to the Grand Canal, head right, along the Canal, then turn left into Calle del Pistor and then right into Calle dei Bari, which feeds into Campo Nazario Sauro. The hotel will be on your right. A 75 minute ticket, which will give you ample time to get to the hotel, costs €9.50.
- Take a private motorboat taxi to the hotel’s closest waterway, Rio Marin, and tell the taxi driver the name and address of the hotel. A private water taxi from Marco Polo to downtown Venice costs circa €50-60 (Note: water taxis can hold up to ten people).
WHAT TO BRING
Here’s a list of things to bring. These are just the basics:
– comfortable shoes. By far the most important thing you’ll need on this trip!! Tennis shoes and/or padded, walking-friendly sandals… and I would recommend breaking them in well before our seminar.
– a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a light-weight, folding umbrella. It can get very hot and sunny in Venice in June so we’ll want to be prepared. Conversely, we could get rain.
– mosquito repellent. Unfortunately, the mozzies can be counted as locals, too, so be prepared. Thank you, lagoon.
– a camera if you’re a happy snapper and, if you have them, a very light-weight pair of binoculars for better ceiling painting viewing 😉
– a comfortable bag in which to carry your things around town – backback or shoulder bag or purse, whichever you prefer.
– ‘nice’ T-shirts and long, light (cotton/linen) trousers, a light sweater or jacket and, if desired, skirts below the knee for women. As many of Venice’s churches have a no-shorts-no-tanktops policy, we’ll want to be dressed appropriately but also comfortably. Cotton and linen clothes are the best choice. I also find that carrying a light cotton shawl in my purse means I can throw it over my shoulders and still wear tanktops without any problems.
– a ‘nice’ change for dinners out. Italians like to look good and we wouldn’t want to disappoint!
– lastly, a photocopy of your passport (see ‘Safety and Smart Travel Practices,’ below)
Here’s my favorite site for the latest currency exchange rates: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/
How to have access to money while in Venice:
Now, what to do about bringing money, having access to it when you need it, etc.? The best system is to use the ATMs in Venice. You’ll want to make sure, therefore, that your credit card can be used in Europe and has a PIN number (the code you punch in once you’ve inserted your card into the machine) that is valid abroad. Also, ideally, your card will feature one of those embedded security chips that have been in use for a few years now in Europe and are recently becoming widespread in the U.S.,too. Bottom line is, if you haven’t already done so, you’ll want to make sure your card can be used in Europe and you’ll want an international PIN (specify that it’s going to be used in Italy, just in case) that’s connected to the credit card. Also, you might want to see which credit card companies offer the most competitive rates since some charge higher conversion commission rates than others and there are several that don’t charge foreign transaction fees. It may be worthwhile to switch companies.
DO NOT bring traveler’s checks or assume you’ll do your currency exchanging at a bank in Venice. Dealing with Italian banks is notoriously time-consuming and can result in serious headaches that will spoil your trip. Not worth it.
Tipping in Italy is NOT REQUIRED. There is no percentage for tipping in Italy as all servers are on salary. At a cafe, I usually leave the change that I get from the bill I’ve paid (50 cents to a euro or two if there were several people) and at a restaurant I usually leave a euro a head, unless I’m in a large group. As for taxis, again, a euro or two on top of the fare does the trick. Simple. No calculating necessary and definitely no 10%-20%.
SAFETY AND SMART TRAVEL PRACTICES
Take a photograph of your suitcase prior to handing it over at check-in!!!!! Bags get lost and, while in my experience they are usually delivered quite quickly, it can be a real drag if you don’t have a very specific description of the wayward luggage. On the same note, carry basics (glasses, medications, contact lens solution, etc.) with you on the plane so that, if your bag should get lost, you can get by for a few days. And definitely bring any valuables (laptops, electronics, jewelry) with you on the plane. There have been reports of thefts at the hands of baggage handlers.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport with you to Venice – the front pages suffice (where your photograph, passport number, and the date of issue, etc. are recorded). If you don’t have the photograph(s) on a smartphone, please print them and bring the hard copies which I will collect these so that if anything should happen to your passport, we can easily get a replacement.
As my mother has often said about Italy, “the great thing is that your body is always safe, though your belongings may not be.” I cannot sufficiently stress the importance of being vigilant about pickpockets in Venice. Be they young children or women in the streets or adult men or women on the bus, it is an unfortunate reality that pickpocketing is a regular occurrence. So, to avoid any unpleasant experiences…
– carry large amounts of cash on your person. It’s much safer to leave it in the safe at the hotel.
– carry your passport with you. Again, leave it at the hotel.
– put anything valuable in back pockets.
– keep your hands on your valuables when walking the streets through a crowd, visiting a site (Ducal Palace, Accademia, yes – even Saint Mark’s Basilica!), or on the water bus.
– turn backpacks and purses around (carrying them on your front) when on water buses and put your hands across the pockets where you are keeping your valuables (money, camera, etc.).
– be aware of your surroundings! If anyone should try to grab something, shout, “Via!!” (Go away!) and “Aiuto!!” (