Cinque Terre, La Spezia & Pisa
On this trip to Italy we head to the west coast of where we based ourselves at La Spezia. From here we an explore the Cinque Terre and Pisa, both of which we plan to visit.
Venice Italy | How to get there by ferry and what to expect
In this post we travel eastwards to the fantastic region that has Venice at its heart and we’ll offer our view on the Venetian Lagoon and the islands within. How did we get there and what to see on each of the surrounding islands of Murano, Burano, Torcello. This is a wonderful area with loads to offer.
How to get to the Venice area?
We started this Italian adventure at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza and after the race weekend we headed East to the Venetian area of Italy. Our plan was to find a place for our camper van Bob that would give us fairly easy access to Venice and the surrounding Islands. There are numerous options to get to Venice, you can fly or use the extensive rail network. For Flights click and accommodation options Here and for trains use this Link.
Where did we stay?
We found a fantastic campsite on route over from Monza. As it was towards the end of the season we took a chance that they’d have a pitch. There was a multitude of campsites all along the Jesolo coast so we were sure we’d find something.
Arriving at Camping Village Mediterraneo we knew that this was the place for us. After a jam packed weekend at the Formula One Grand Prix we wanted complete relaxation and that’s what this place offered. When we arrived there were quite a few pitches available and the one that looked over the beach was the one we chose.
- Electricity & Water hook ups on each pitch
- Good wifi in selected areas
- Variety of pools and aqua park
- Entertainment in the evening, especially for children
- Restaurant, Bar & Cafe area
- Extremely clean toilets & showers with plenty hot water
- Grocery shop with fresh bread and stocked with all the provisions you’ll need as well as having the local wine on tap. Fantastic !
- Other forms of accommodations such as mobile homes, lodges and glamping tents.
They have a variety of pitches for tents, caravans and campervan/motorhomes and all reasonably priced. The pitches that face the sea are the most expensive but worth it for the location. We’d definitely choose this campsite again.
How to get to Venice from Punta Sabbioni
We were lucky enough to to have our bikes with us and it was a pretty much straight road down from the campsite to Punta Sabbioni where we got the ferry over to the Venetian Lagoon Islands but you can also get the local bus or a taxi.
Getting to Punta Sabbioni
By Bike – Approx 15 – 20 mins from the campsite with a dedicated cycle lane and ample bike racks at the ferry terminal.
By Bus – The number 23a bus has a stop right up on the main road near the campsite. The journey is down the SP42 road and is about 20 mins. It costs around €3 and you can buy tickets from the campsite reception.
By taxi – the campsite reception can arrange a taxi for you and prices vary from €15 – €25 depending on the time of day and year.
Punta Sabbioni and the ferries
At Punta Sabbioni you will find the ferry terminal, ticket booths, a couple of cafe’s, toilet facilities, a massive parking lot for cars and busses and plenty bike racks. To get to Venice by ferry you’ll need the Line 14 ferry. This departs on a regular schedule and takes approx 20 mins. The journey is really beautiful as it takes you round the Venetian lagoon. Line 12 will get you to the other islands of Burano, Torcello & Murano.
You can buy your water bus tickets online here and at the ticket booth at Punta Sabbioni however there can be long queues if you visit at peak times. Our tip is to get there really early in the morning. We got the first ferry out and was rewarded with an almost empty St Marks Square.
Things to see and do in Venice
St Marks Square
Or Piazza San Marco is the principal piazza in Venice and is generally the first place that people head to. If you are arriving in to Vence by train the only way into the square is by water. It was first formed in around the ninth century and has been in it’s current form since the 1100’s. It is one of the lowest points of the city so is usually the first place to get flooded if the waters rise.
The Doges Palace
The Palazzo Ducale to give it it’s Italian name was founded in around the tenth century and was originally a fortified castle it has been destroyed and rebuilt since then. It has been built in different styles over the centuries and houses many important works of art. It is now open to the public and used as a museum.
The Bridge of Sighs
This enclosed bridge is made of white limestone. It connects the new prison with the interrogation rooms of the Doges Palace and it is one of the most photographed areas in Venice today. Condemned men would walk across the bridge from the courtrooms to the prison, this would be their last view of the lagoon. You can walk across the bridge yourself when visiting the Doges Palace.
Basilica de San Marco
Located at the far end of St Marks Square the Basilica originally was the chapel of the Doge and is connected to the Doges Palace but today is the principal catholic cathedral of Venice. It was built in the 800’s to house the relics of St mark which had been stolen from Alexandria. The current building dates from the 1100’s again this has been added to and altered over the years.
Ride on a Gondola
Gondolas are an iconic image of Venice and in some cases a tourist trap. On our last trip we found, down one of the back canals, a factory where they mended gondolas and it was really cool watching them working away restoring and mending these lovely boats. If you want to ride a Gondola without paying the extortionate tourist rates you can cross the Grand canal on one for just a few euros look for the crossing near the fish market.
The Grand Canal
This is the main waterway in Venice and is spanned on each side by palaces and important buildings. Crossed by four bridges is it used as a main artery for the city. You can cruise the canal like a local by using one of the water buses (Vaporetto) which ply their trade up and down the four kilometre length of the canal.
The Rialto Bridge
The Rialto is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal and very much one of the top tourist attractions of Venice today. The current bridge was finished in 1591 and was design to look like its wooden predecessors.
The Rialto Market
In almost every city we visit we head for the market. Venice was no exception and because we were there so early we managed to see the best of it. Fantastic fish from the lagoon and fruit and veg that had been brought in by boat that morning. Its a beautiful place to see the city of Venice spring to life.
Visit the other islands in the Venetian Lagoon
In Burano you’ll find the colourful fishermen’s houses where legend has it that they painted them bright & individual colours so that the fishermen could find their way home when it was foggy. They really do bring a smile to your face.
When visiting Burano don’t miss he leaning bell tower of Chiese di San Marino which has become the unofficial symbol of Burano. Its a 16th century Catholic Church and if you venture inside you’re treated with some extremely impressive paintings
Burano also has some excellent fish restaurants and cafes specialising in fish from the lagoon.
Don’t miss the lace making exhibits in the museum and if you’re lucky and have a wander round the back streets you can sometimes find ladies making lace right outside their houses
Murano is most famous for its exquisite glass making. The history of glassmaking in Venice goes back to the Roman times. A good source of information can be found here. Murano glass is very much sought after and there are various workshops you can visit as well as museums. There are loads of gift shops and jewellers all selling Murano glass in many different forms.
Murano is made up of lots of little small islands connected by bridges. Its lovely to walk down, away from the main tourist areas, up and over lots of bridges and get a real feel for the area.
Torcello is one of the smallest islands in the lagoon and the quietest but a really beautiful island with its fair share of sights to see. It was the first island in the Venetian lagoon to be inhabited Here’s a few you don’t want to miss.
The Basilica di Santa Mario Assunta & the Church of Santa Fosca has some impressive mosaics and if you climb the tower then you get views across the lagoon to Burano and beyond. It’s not known exactly when the church was built but it was there in the tenth century and its believed the original building date back to before this time.
The Museum of Torcello is split into 2 sections the archeological and the more modern medieval. Exhibits are interesting and displayed in both Italian and English The museum was established in1889 and houses some very important objects and is well worth a visit.
Tronto di Attilo is reputed to be the throne of Attila Hun but in reality it’s quite certain that he never visited this area. Having said that it is an interesting artefact dating back to the fifth century and the early settlers and you can sit on it yourself as you can see below.
Ponte del Diavilo is one of the two bridges that cross Torcello’s main canal and that connects the town with the lagoon. There is a legend that it is the site of where a young girl made a pact with the devil. It is said that the devil visit the bridge looking for the souls of the children he was promised.
If your staying in the Lido di Jesolo area this is a fantastic way to explore the lagoon. The ferries run to all the main touristed islands as well as the city itself. Give it ago you’ll soon be getting to know the lagoon like a local. Try and visit the other islands as they are really beautiful and get to Venice early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
Booking resources for your trip
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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Cinque Terre, La Spezia & Pisa
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