MARCH 2016 ;e Costco Connection 23
FOR MANY OF us, Venice remains either a myth
or a living fairy tale, a dream or a romantic notion
of gondolas (and singing gondoliers), history and
architecture, narrow canals and great food. It is one
of the most touristed destinations in the world,
which leads some to believe that the whole city
might be confused for a ride at a theme park.
Indeed, Venice can be considered a real (and
Old World) theme park. But the key to a great
Venetian experience is to throw away the guidebooks and look for the uncrowded places and experiences not in the brochures.
If you must take that almost obligatory gondola ride, then do so (but only once, please). Get
your selfie, then do what smart Venetians do:
Avoid the outrageously expensive water taxis and
instead use the vaporettos, the water buses that
come all the way from the train station and up
and down the Grand Canal. It’s the best way to
Having said that, most people think of Venice
as just a series of canals. But it might surprise you
to learn Venice also has 3,000 streets. And the best
time to see Venice? It’s not in June, July or August.
Go in September, when the weather is magical. Or
November or February, during some of the local
festivals. These are the best times to see the city
without the crowds.
Here are my special tips for Venice.
Nicola Tenderini Art Gallery. The Tenderini
family has been in Venice since the 800s, and they
were renowned as ironworkers and blacksmiths.
The current studio, or atelier, overlooks the Rialto
Bridge, with a shop on the ground floor and studio
on the second. The paintings often reflect Venetian
architecture and the ironwork of Venice, a tribute
of sorts to the family roots.
Torcello. On this day trip you’ll find Byzantine
mosaics in the seventh-century cathedral of Santa
Maria. Great medieval buildings and the ancient
Devils Bridge are also on the island, along with the
Pescheria Rialto. Venetians still enjoy going to
the market to buy their food, and it’s easy to be a
part of the ritual. The vegetable market (the erbe-
ria) and the fish market (the pescheria) are great
places to see the locals at work with the farmers and
fishermen. Be sure to arrive early, about 8 a.m., if
you want to see the market full of fresh products.
Murano glassmaker Tsuchida Yasuhiko.
Venetian glass is world-renowned, and made pri-
marily on the island of Murano. Finding the real
stuff is key. There is only one Japanese glassmaker
on the island of Murano, Tsuchida Yasuhiko, and
his artwork is stunning.
Cemetery on San Michele Island. Very few
tourists know about this special (and small) island,
located just northwest of Cannaregio. This is where
you’ll find the graves of Igor Stravinsky and
Frederick Rolfe, and even the American expatriate
Ezra Pound. Also on the island is the church of San
Michele, built in 1469, with a monastery. It is still a
functioning cemetery, so respect has to be given to
the relatives who visit their loved ones. But a visit
here is a great way to reflect on Venice.
One last tip: To find the best food in Venice,
follow the locals. Venice is famous for its fresh seafood—including one of my favorites, soft-shell
crabs—along with the delicious baked goods you’ll
find in pastry shops. C
When in Venice
Peter Greenberg is the
winning travel editor
for CBS News and host
of The Travel Detective
on public television
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Finding treasures off the beaten path
Sunrise in Venice, Italy, creates
a striking image of the city, the
water and its famous gondolas.