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I don’t love Venice. Three trips in, I’m not sure that opinion is likely to change. Be prepared for crowds, tourism on an extreme crowd, and sub-par meals (if you don’t do your research). It’s likely possible to have a really fabulous time if you have a gigantic budget.

Hotels:

  • ***Hotel Moresco, Sestiere Dorsoduro 3499: we were very happy here. Easy walking distance from the train, in a good neighborhood with convenient access to museums and major sites, very nice big rooms, good breakfast, very accommodating staff. Lacking a view, but we didn’t really miss it.
  • Hotel Flora (Michael and Todd’s pick): Michael and i have stayed there more than once and have never been dissatisfied. Also, while in a central neighborhood, it is located down a quiet alley and is therefore a bit more private.
  • Pensione Calcina: a random find we walked by. Seemed quite charming, out of the way and quiet, great view.  
  • For an upscale stay in venice, the 5 most lavish and stalwart hotels would be:
    • The Cipriani
    • Luna Baglioni
    • The Gritti Palace
    • The Danieli (which also, in the days of yore, was a palace in its own right)
    • The Bauer

Restaurants:

  • **La Lanterna: Santa Croce 24: very friendly, good food, casual. Filled with Americans and well-lit in Italian fashion. Not a destination I’d seek out, but it was a pleasant casual meal.
  • **Tavernetta San Maurizio: good atmosphere, decent food, very fast service. Convenient spot for lunch in a central busy location.

Recommendations/Haven’t Tried:

  • http://vinidagigio.com (doesn’t take reservations) On Saturday and Sunday the restaurant makes two tours of duty. The first starts at 19.00 and ends at 21.00, the second starts at 21.30.
  • Gam Gam, Sestiere Cannaregio 1122: Roberto recommendation, kosher restaurant in the Jewish district.
  • Lunch at Harry’s Dolci is great fun.
  • Alle Testiere for dinner. (Closed for holidays)
  • For a casual but super fun and tasty lunch, Trattoria da Fiore (directly off of Campo Santo Stefano) is a local spot. one of the best kept secrets in venice.
  • Pane Vino e San Daniele is a great spot for dinner. it’s located on Campo dell’Angelo Raffaele in Venice proper.
  • Al Gondolieri, Calle S. Domenico: we just liked the look of this place, good setting. http://www.aigondolieri.it/contact/
  • http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome.com/2015/01/la-bitta-venice/

Roberto’s Favorite Wine Bars (popular for pre-dinner snacks):

  • Cannareggio: Paradiso Perduto ( Fondamenta della Misericordia, 2540 )
  • Cannareggio: Osteria al Timon (Fondamenta degli Ormesini, 2754)
  • San Marco: Bacarando (Calle dell’Orso, 5495)
  • San Polo: Bacaro all’Arco (Sestiere San Polo, 436)
  • Sestiere Castello: Osteria Al Portego (Calle della Malvasia Castello, 6014)
  • Dorsoduro: Cantinone Schiavi (Dorsoduro, 992)
  • Santa Croce: Bacareto da Lele (Campo dei Tolentini / Santa Croce, 183)

May want to check out the islands:  Murano (glass) Burano (lace) Torcello (history)


Padua

Padua is fun – the architecture is stunning, the people are friendly, it’s very collegiate, easy to explore. I visited a limited number of sites in 2005, including several churches; the majority of my afternoon was spent wandering and eating.

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