A day in Venice (parking, restaurants and tourist attractions)

Canal Grande Venetia

I did not know how was the parking in Venice and I did not have a list of tourist attractions in Venice, but I knew I wanted to visit this city, so it was automatically included in our road trip around Europe. We stayed for two nights in Padova and made a day trip to Venice, the lagoon city. We searched on the Internet a parking lot in Venice, we did some math  and it turned out that it was cheaper to come by car from Padua than by train. We left in the morning from Padova and in 30 minutes we were passing the bridge to Venice on a rainy August day.

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Venice parking

The good news is that if you come by car, you can find a car parking in Venice! There are more than one place where you can leave the car, but they are all quite expensive.

  1. ASM Piazzale Roma parking:
    Piazzale Roma, Santa Croce 496, Venice
    The Piazzale Roma parking is a white, glass building with ten stors all used for cars. At the entrance, a tonomat releases the ticket with the entrance time and a voice from the speaker tells you the floor where you are going to park. On each floor there is a guardian who guides you to the free places. When we reached the indicated floor, the guardian informed us that we should leave the key because the parking places belong to the locals, who can return to leave their car. In this case, he must have the key to move ours. We were a little surprised by the procedure, but he offered us an alternative: to go to the top floor, where the parking lots don’t have owners. When we arrived there, we saw that there were a lot of cars from Romania. The view from here was gorgeous: Venice with its crowded, brick buildings on one side, the bridge to the Santa Lucia train station in front and the Alps on the other side.Parcare in VenetiaVenice parkingWhen we returned in the evening, we paid the parking ticket on the ground floor of the building, 26 euros. From that moment on, we had 30 minutes to pass the exit barrier. Information about this parking in Venice can be found here.
  2. Parking S. Andrea
    Piazzale Roma, Venice
    Here you can find a map on which the two car parking places are marked. S. Andrea is an alternative for those who stay only 2-3 hours in Venice. Unlike the first option that charges 24 hours, even if you stay less, at S. Andrea you can pay by hour (6 euros).
    From the ASM parking and the S. Andrea parking, you can start exploring the city on foot. The other parking options are farther (so there you need to use the public transport), but cheaper.
  3. S. Giuliano parking lot
    It is located on the mainland and here you can find a map to locate it easily. Prices are much lower than those in Venice. To check them try this site.
  4. Tronchetto parking in Venice
    It is located on Isola Nuova del Tronchetto, 30135 Venice, a small island west of Venice. There is also a boating station nearby, from where you can go to the city center. Details about rates and location of the Tronchetto parking in Venice can be found here.
    We have opted for option 1, for convenience, but I think the price difference would worth the extra effort.

From 2019, tourists visiting Venice and not staying overnight will pay an access fee of up to 10 euros. If you do not want to complicate your life with finding a parking spot in the city of waters and you stay nearby, you can try an organized trip *, available from several big cities.

Restaurants in Venice

We were in San Marco square at the lunch hour and we started looking for a restaurant only when hunger reached alarming levels. Heavy mission in this city! I had a list of restaurants in Venice from the Tripadvisor, but I did not care about it then! We walked a little from the San Marco square and reached a busy street with 2-3 restaurants next to each other. We chose one of them, the one with acceptable prices, and we sat down at one of the tables. Pizza in Venice (this is what I ate) did not impress me at all, so I can not recommend the restaurant. But I can suggest you to search a place to eat in Venice further from tourist attractions if you want to eat good and not so expensive!
On the way back to the car we walked relaxed and we wanted to try a gelato in Venice. We stopped at La Mela Verde, which I recommend with all my heart (especially the selection they are known for: green ice cream, with apples in it).
Restaurante in Venetia

A day in Venice – things to see

Our first stop in Venice was at some salesmen to buy 5 euro umbrellas for the rainy day. Having the umbrellas, we started to explore the city, targeting the Rialto Bridge and then San Marco Square. I liked in Venice the feeling that we must get lost on the little streets and see where they take us. We found this way some narrow, less circulated, but charming canals. Sometimes our road intersected the route to the Rialto Bridge and the hordes of tourists (too many!) showed us the way, until we decided again to wander.
On the wider canals we found the famous gondolas. They didn’t seem romantic to me, but rather sinister! But I know many people associate Venice with a romantic gondola ride. You can book here a romantic gondola tour * with serenade included.
Gondola in Venetia Walking on various streets and gangs, following the signs when we found them and consulting the map when we felt we were lost, we finally got to the Rialto Bridge.

The Canale Grande, suffocated by the crowd of cruising boats, was admired by many tourists from Rialto Bridge. The Rialto Bridge, the most famous bridge in Venice, has two rows of shops and most of them are selling souvenirs and useless things. We have also crammed in between all the tourists gathered there to have a top image of the channel.

We continued our journey to San Marco Square and, after another labyrinth of streets, canals and bridges, we reached it. From the invasion of tourists here, some were taking pictures, some were running or feeding the pigeons, and some were looking for the line where to stay in (there were three line, each to another attraction). We decided to join the latter and gather information about the lines there. The longest line was formed at the entrance of the San Marco Basilica. The entrance is free, but you must pay to visit the museum of the basilica, Pala d’oro and the treasure. Information about the timetable and rates can be found here. If you want to skip the line of tourists, you can book a tour of the basilica with this option included*

Basilica San Marco din VenetiaWe did not intend to stand in such a long line, so we headed for the next line, the one to visit Campanella San Marco. Campanella is the high tower at the top of which is the bell of the basilica. From here the view of Venice is superb, but the entrance costs. Details about the entrance fee and visiting hours of the bell tower in San Marco can be found here.

The shortest line was the one the Doge’s Palace. The Doge’s Palace in Venice is the white building attached to the San Marco Basilica. The access to the palace is not from San Marco square, but from the lagoon side. The Doge were the political leaders of Venice, and the Doge’s Palace was the venue for the Venice trials. We paid the entrance fee (for the updated fee and the visiting hours to the Doge’s Palace you can enter here) and we also got an audio guide. The palace is not very large, but it does not look like anything I’ve seen before. We walked through huge rooms with ceilings and walls decorated with black paneling and gilded paintings, and the audio guide told us something about each one. If you do not have a special interest in painting, then the audio guide can be useless because it insists more on this side. In the palace we visited the prison crossing the Ponte dei sospiri. From the bridge we could see other tourists cluttering outside to take a picture with the famous passer-by. If you want to enjoy a guided tour of the palace and immediate entrance without waiting in the line, you can reserve it here*

From the Doge’s Palace we walked on the edge of the lagoon, for souvenir shopping, while admiring the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. To get back to piazzale Roma, we could take vaporetto from the Doge’s Palace, but we preferred to wander through the canals.

One day in Venice was enough to see the main tourist attractions, but it wasn’t enough to really “feel it”. If we would have stayed longer, we probably would have visited the other islands: the colorful Burano and the famous Murano. Venice left me with the impression of an old city with many stories, but tired of so many visitors.

See our full itinerary for a SE Europe road trip (Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia)

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