Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To Venice and beyond

What connects regatta with movies? It’s Venice in early September. If you happen to be in Venice in the first days of September you might find yourself among the most famous Hollywood stars. Venice Film Festival is an international annual event with lots of famous people coming to the city. I’m not so much in the movies but I’d watch Pierce Brosnan in Sussane Bier’s comic romance Love is All You Need; they say it’s the festival’s sunniest surprise.

Then you might feel like in a time machine because Regata storica (Historical regatta) turns you centuries back. On every first Sunday of the month you see teams of gondoliers racing a course along the Grand Canal. It’s been done like that for thousands of years. 16 century-styled colourful boats with gondoliers in appropriate for the period costumes carry the Doge, his wife and all the highest ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal. If you are really in the mood to see all that glory from the first row, you might want to buy a thicket and join the others on the floating platform. We didn’t do that, we chose to get lost in the tiny streets of the city, where we could escape from the thousands of tourists.


Venice has striking contrasts – glorious palaces on Grand Canal, homes of the richest men of its time, and abandoned houses in its tiny streets. But it is a place that must be seen. We will be back one day for sure, but it will be better planned and definitely not in high season.

This time our trip to Venice happened unexpectedly. We were planning a vacation in Rome and Southern Italy, and Venice was not on the list at all. But driving straight from Sofia to Rome is not very wise when you go on vacation and sleeping somewhere in the middle seamed better.  I found this gorgeous 16th century villa in a small village called Mogliano Veneto and fell in love with it right away. The village is just 19 km away from Venice and has excellent train connections to the city (20-30 mins by train, several times per hour). If you prefer, you can drive to Venice and leave your car in the huge parking there but taking the train is hassles free and much cheaper. Once on the train, you need to get off at Santa Lucia Station. You get out of the busy station and find yourself in a beautiful square right in front of Grand Canal. Venice is connected with all the main Italian cities. For further information check:

You can find more about the villa here: Hotel Villa Marcello Giustinian

The villa had a beautiful green yard with statues and small ponds. Totally relaxing!

If you decide to take the plane instead, book well in advance and you will get really cheap thickets ( The nearest budget airport is Treviso, not far from the city either, and a good point to spend the nights as well. It is well-connected to Venice by train (same trains pass through Mogliano Veneto).   

One of the most busy European airports is Marco Polo. It is situated some 12 km away from the city and has various road and canal connections to it. 

But if you decide to go wild and choose the comfort of your own car, be prepared for the busy highways and sometimes unpredictable drivers in Italy. Overall we didn’t have any traffic or parking problems. Every now and then you see a gas station with a nice food corner. Well, food corner is not what you call the separate building, entirely dedicated to food and rest. The size of the gas station doesn’t matter, the food area is always bigger. That is why we like the country so much.

See you in Roma! 


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