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Visiting Venice ... in July

Visiting Venice ... in July

Old Mar 25, 19, 9:45 am
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Visiting Venice ... in July

To be clear about this from the outset, my initial reaction to what I am proposing to do is, simply, DON'T! However, mrs. iapetus' mom is excited about the prospect, as is mrs. iapetus now. So we will be visiting Venice for a week this summer (first week of July) with the iapetus jrs. (8 years old). We're locked in now. I've always wanted to return to Venice, as I only saw it briefly in the rain during a day trip there nearly 20 years ago, but July isn't exactly my first choice in when to do that.

So I am hoping that some of my fellow FTers can help me make the best of this. I'm interested first and foremost in locating a nice neighborhood in which to stay. I'd like something that feels relatively local and away from the bulk of the tourists, if that's possible in July. Closer to sights is better, but I am principally concerned with avoiding crowds in the immediate vicinity of wherever we stay as much as possible. Thoughts?


PS - I was kinda surprised that there is no 'Where to Stay in Venice?' thread.
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Old Mar 25, 19, 12:25 pm
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
To be clear about this from the outset, my initial reaction to what I am proposing to do is, simply, DON'T! However, mrs. iapetus' mom is excited about the prospect, as is mrs. iapetus now. So we will be visiting Venice for a week this summer (first week of July) with the iapetus jrs. (8 years old). We're locked in now. I've always wanted to return to Venice, as I only saw it briefly in the rain during a day trip there nearly 20 years ago, but July isn't exactly my first choice in when to do that.

So I am hoping that some of my fellow FTers can help me make the best of this. I'm interested first and foremost in locating a nice neighborhood in which to stay. I'd like something that feels relatively local and away from the bulk of the tourists, if that's possible in July. Closer to sights is better, but I am principally concerned with avoiding crowds in the immediate vicinity of wherever we stay as much as possible. Thoughts?


PS - I was kinda surprised that there is no 'Where to Stay in Venice?' thread.
In order to avoid crowds I recommend staying in the Castello or Canareggio areas. Both have nice neighborhoods and somewhat off the tourist beaten path. In Canareggio, I can recommends Hotel AI MORI D'oriente. https://www.morihotel.com The hotel is on a quiet canal and offers comfortable rooms and modern amenities, such as good air conditioning, a must in the Summertime. I have stayed there and like the hotel and area very much. My choice in Castello is Hotel Ai Cavallieri. I love this hotel and the location. It is located just off the Santa Maria Formosa square and it is a very quiet location. One will not see throngs of tourists walking by this hotel. This is where I have stayed for the past 4 years. In the interest of transparency, I now receive an upgrade due to my continuing friendship with the staff and because my husband and I return every year and will again this year. Very. convenient to great restaurants (Alle Testiere is 2 minute walk). They have suites which I am sure would accommodate your family. Modern amenities. Excellent breakfast included in rate. www.hotelaicavalieri.com
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Last edited by obscure2k; Mar 25, 19 at 12:32 pm
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Old Mar 26, 19, 10:27 pm
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
To be clear about this from the outset, my initial reaction to what I am proposing to do is, simply, DON'T! However, mrs. iapetus' mom is excited about the prospect, as is mrs. iapetus now. So we will be visiting Venice for a week this summer (first week of July) with the iapetus jrs. (8 years old). We're locked in now. I've always wanted to return to Venice, as I only saw it briefly in the rain during a day trip there nearly 20 years ago, but July isn't exactly my first choice in when to do that.

So I am hoping that some of my fellow FTers can help me make the best of this. I'm interested first and foremost in locating a nice neighborhood in which to stay. I'd like something that feels relatively local and away from the bulk of the tourists, if that's possible in July. Closer to sights is better, but I am principally concerned with avoiding crowds in the immediate vicinity of wherever we stay as much as possible. Thoughts?


PS - I was kinda surprised that there is no 'Where to Stay in Venice?' thread.
Where to stay in Venice is perhaps more seasonal than in other cites, because it's quite small. I've walked from one end to the other in a little more than half an hour. It's only about 3 miles long and two miles wide, similar to the size of Central Park in NYC.

It's doable during the 1st week of July. You just have to be strategic. I'd caution you about Canareggio. In Venice you will almost always get lost because the streets are a labyrinth, and there's nothing wrong with that, because in a city that small, you can't ever get really That lost. The problems here are that it is a large sestiere or zone of Venice, that includes some really worst places to stay in Venice. For example, the train station, probably the worst place to stay in the city, is in Cannareggio. Strada Nuova, a super touristy, quite disgusting street with cheap shops, and only a few decent, hard to find restaurants. The Rialto Bridge connects Canareggio to San Polo, and near The Rialto Bridge it's super touristy and super crowded. So you can do really badly in Canareggio. I've lived in Venice, and usually go back about 3 times per year, for stays typically of a month or so. Cannareggio is fine, and even though I go there a lot (the gym I go to is there, some of my favorite cicchetti places are there, and I can find my way anywhere around Venice, it's not unusual at night to get really lost. I mean really, really lost, as in walking in circles, Maybe about two years ago I was staying in Venice in Castello, my favorite zone, but happened to be in Canareggio fairly late at night. As I mentioned, Venice isn't very big, so I'd usually walk back to where I stay in Castello. But I was hopelessly lost. Because I was in the deep part of Cannareggio . And there are no people out to ask. And even if you find someone, the directions are too complicated to be helpful. I think it was around 11 or 12 at night and I couldn't find a way out. Finally, I decided the only solution was to get on a vaporetto, but to do that I'd have to get to the vaporetto stop, one I've been to many times, but I couldn't find it. Canareggio at night is tricky. Finally, I saw an elderly couple walking, and I told them I'm trying to find the vaporetto stop. They spoke no English. The man walked me to the vaporetto stop, which wasn't really far away, it's just that Venice was built because the people on the mainland were getting increasing invasions, so they decided to turn those offshore islands into a city, and to make it so complicated that it's hard to get around. If any invaders made it there, they' get lost. That was successful until Napolean.

Once the nice old man walked me to the vaporetto stop I had to take the vaporetto to the Lido, a strip of land that is not in Venice proper, then wait for another vaporetto to take me to Castello. I'm Ok with being lost in Venice because I've spent so much time there, but Cannaregio is so large and encompasses a lot of territory, so just choosing Cannaregio is not going to make it nice. Cannaregio is in Northern part of Venice, and there is a great street called Fondamente Nova. If your near there, you won't get too lost, and there are a few nice places to eat. The only problem is, it's a long walk to, "the sites" with an 8 year old during the time when it will be quite hot. You'll be walking a mile to get to the sites, then at night, a mile back. Not so nice with an 8 year old.

Castello is the place. Dorsoduro has its quiet places, but since the University is there, during certain places at night it can get rowdy, and even dangerous, and Venice is a city with almost no danger. I wouldn't recommend that. San Polo and Santa Croce are a matter of taste, but where Venetians actually live and traditional Venice thrives, not dependent on tourists, is Castello. I second Ai Cavalieri recommended by Obscure 2k. It's a short walk to most places you'd want to visit, but tourists haven't found it. I'm pretty sure it was last July when I was there, and it's on a large square, and there were Ferris wheels, Merry Go Rounds, food stores. It's a bit pricey.

If I'm staying for a month or so I'll rent an apartment, but if only for a week or two, my go to place is Hotel Bisanzio. It's still of decent class, and much more economical. The unusual part is that it's actually about 150 yards from Piazza San Marco, but no one , knows about it, because you can't just bump into it. But with simple directions it's easy to find, impossible to miss actually The beauty of that is that if you get up in the morning you walk down a 50 yard ally, make a right, and and in 5 minutes you're in San Marco Square, so you can go there for morning coffee, see its beauty, it will be isolated, because the cruise ships will have not yet dropped off their 36,000 day trippers who make San Marco a zombie walk of people, where people walk two feet, stop and take pictures, selfies, then you can get to walk two feet before someone else stops to take selfies. You can also get back to Piazza San Marco in the evening, after the day trippers have left, around 9 PM, and have a Spritz. Other times of the day, you don't walk to walk to the water, or to San Marco. When you exit the hotel, don't go straight ahead to the water. Just make a left and to into Castello. You will be in a part of Castello that has not changed over the centuries. It's actually where most Venetians live. Venetians have pastry for breakfast, so stop at a pastry shop. There are cicchetti stops galore. It is in this area where Al Covo, CoVino, Corte Sconta, and many other great restaurants are located. Just keep going deeper into the Castello. It will start getting dark, byzantine, and look like you are in an old movie. Don't worry. Just keep going further and further. The deeper you walk in, the more you get to see of traditional Venice as it has been over the centuries. Another plus is that if you walk out of Hotel Bisanzio and walk 50 meters straight ahead, you'll be at 3 vaporetto stops, that can take you anywhere. One other thing. They have two apartments about 2 blocks away in a really traditional part of Castello. They are not luxury apartments, but they are clean, decent, well maintained, very traditional Venetian aspect. You will be staying like a Venetian. If it is you desire to eat breakfast in Italy (I don't know why anyone would) you can walk the two blocks back to the Hotel where they have a very nice breakfast. Or, you can stay in your apartment, make your own coffee, or go downstairs for your pastry and coffee

Italy was found once again to have the people with the second longest lifespan of any country in the world, having just been edged out by Spain by a few months more of longevity. So nothing wrong with skipping the eggs and sausage at the hotel that people from the US, UK, Germany, etc want to eat, and going to the local bar and eating a traditional Italian breakfast; coffee and a croissant. If you are really hungry, have a piece of cake. The USA comes in, depending on whether it's World Health Organization statistics, is 52nd, just above Serbia, and just below Azerbaijian. If you look at the studies that the Bloomberg School of Public Health reports, USA is 52nd, just above Bulgaria. So there is nothing wrong with skipping that USA/UK/German breakfast and going out and having a piece of cake for breakfast, with your coffee (it's not called espresso). There are 4 reasons why Italians have the second longest life span, but research shows that it is due to the poor quality of health care in the USA compared to other countries, but that's another story. Ai Cavalieri and Hotel Bisanzio are both fine. depends on your budget.

Last edited by Perche; Mar 27, 19 at 10:41 pm
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Old Mar 27, 19, 5:33 am
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Cannaregio is one of the neighborhoods that first drew my attention when looking at a map of Venice. Castello was next. Both the ai Cavallieri and the Ai Mori sound nice. But what we'll probably do is go through an apartment broker for a one-week rental (it's what we always do in Rome and what we'll be doing this year). Looking at the two posts above, I'm inclined to go with Castello ... or a well placed apartment in Cannaregio. That said, Perche, your point about trying to get two eight-year-olds to do all that walking is an issue (one is OK; the other needs to constantly stop for a granita ), and I do want to be mindful of that.

If we were to select a place in Castello, how difficult would it be to get our bags (mrs. iapetus promised to scale back this year, but I'm skeptical ) from Santa Lucia into town and then back out again for a Saturday morning flight (11:00am) at Marco Polo? That might be my principal concern about staying so far from the train station.

Originally Posted by Perche View Post
You can also get back to Piazza San Marco in the evening, after the day trippers have left, around 9-9 PM, and have a Spritz.
That sounds absolutely grand!

Originally Posted by Perche View Post
So there is nothing wrong with skipping that USA/UK/German breakfast and going out and having a piece of cake for breakfast, with your coffee (it's not called espresso).
Odd, I don't think it would occur to me to ask for either; I'd request un caffč.
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Old Mar 27, 19, 2:41 pm
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I am going to respectfully disagree with some of the opinions expressed by Perche re: Cannaregio. I have stayed in that area many times, and it can be a true oasis of tranquility. Although, it may encompass areas which are commercial as well as the dreaded Strada Nova, it also encompasses a very lovely, residential area of Venice, one rarely seen by tourists. This was our experience when staying at Dei Dogi (now a Marriott), and later several times at Ai Mori. Both hotels are very close to the Madonna del Orto Church with its magnificent collection of Tintorettos. As well, Santa Maria dei Miracoli Church is also nearby. Now, having traveled to Venice with young children, I know that visiting churches would not be at the top of their agenda. They would enjoy walking along the Rio in front of Ai Mori and seeing the variety of boats passing by. A stroll along Misercordia (where our friends have a beautiful apartment )will be a ten minute walk to a restaurant which I am sure your 8 year old children will enjoy; Vino de Gigio. As well, there are other nice trattorias in the area. We also like Bea Vita, which is closer to the lagoon. Not necessary to take long walks if staying in Cannaregio. There is a vaporetto stop conveniently located well before the train station #1 Vaporetto or the #41 which stops right in front of Madonna del Orto.
The hotel where we stay, Ai Cavalieri is about 1 minute away from Campo Santa Marina which magically turns Castello in to Cannaregio . If you can find a nice apartment in the area of the Ghetto in Canareggio, you will be near markets. There is a particularly nice market at the very end of Strada Nova where you see the lagoon which sells a good selection of prepared food as well as good fresh food if you want to do some cooking. Although, the Rialto may not be where you want to dine, but if you have an apartment and want to cook, it will be paradise. The variety of seafood and produce is breathtaking. Our kids loved wandering around the market early in the morning at the time we rented an apartment.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 5:22 pm
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There are more knowledgeable people already in the thread giving good advice, so this is just my two cents: July is a busy month in Venice, but most tourists in Venice are there to stay in mostly the same areas and tour the exact same things as one another. Take advantage of that and try to rent an apartment in the far reaches. Castello is largely off the tourist path. Cannaregio well north of the train station is probably also pretty quiet. I'd probably pick Castello, but this is mostly subjective - first, it's the farthest from your fellow tourists, who will primarily arrive from the far west side of the lagoon where the train station and the cruise terminal are, second, I've seen it the least, and third, you can walk half of venice without even having to cross over the very touristy areas.
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Old Mar 30, 19, 11:59 pm
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I don't have any problem with Cannaregio at all. It's just that it is a large sestiere (section or neighborhood of Venice.) It has the largest population. Basically, it stretches from the train station tor the Rialto Bridge, two of the worst places to be. So if someone just recommends, "Cannaregio," someone can wind up staying near the train station, which is a nightmare of vendors coming up to you constantly. There are wonderful places to stay in Cannaregio, but just recommending Cannaregio is sort of like saying when visiting NYC, I recommend Manhattan. They are not the same in scale, but as in Manhattan, you can stay in wonderful places, or be in a ghetto. Cannaregio is something like that. Just going online and booking a hotel because it is in Cannaregio is risky. Castello presents much less risk. There are almost no bad neighborhoods. There are vaporetto stops everywhere. In Cannaregio if you want to go somewhere, because 8 year olds are not going to. be very happy with a lot of walking, you always have to take a vaporetto around the whole of Venice to get anywhere. I love Madonna Dell'Orto, I love the Tintorettos, but I'm not sure that will impress 8 year olds.

Castello is just more convenient. Rialto Bridge is a nightmare to visit during the day in July. However, in the evening it is an unforgettable romantic experience. But to get from there back to a hotel in the desirable places in Cannaregio means you have to go all the way around the whole of Venice, a long vaporetto ride because you'll never find your way back to your place on foot if you are not thoroughly familiar with Venice. It's a great place, but I'm thinking of what I'd recommend to someone who hasn't been to Venice 30 times, or who never lived there. It's a lot simpler to get back to Castello, rather than have to cross Venice from for example, from Piazza San Marco which is lovely in the evening, a nightmare during the day, to a hotel in Cannaregio. You are always going to get lost in Venice, but in CasteIlo it's easier to find your way there from anywhere. In Cannaregio if you are staying in one of the more isolated areas like near Madonna del Ortho, you are going to be pretty challenged to find your way back after dark because many streets are basically empty. The whole neighborhood around Madonna dell'Ortho is basically abandoned apartments. So it's a wonderful place, if you know your way around, but just saying, "Cannaregio" is not enough. It has the best and the worst of neighborhoods.
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Old Apr 2, 19, 9:19 am
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Hi Iapetus,

I was in Venice last year the exact week you are planning on going this year. It was a bit hot but still fun. One thing I noticed is that we saw a lot of families dragging suitcases a long, long way, dripping with sweat, trying to find and going to apartments/air bnbs. Some had local Italian contacts from the air/bnb followed by the family with children dragging suitcases. Some families were dragging suitcases in the heat desperately looking for their apartments. There are thousands of apartments in Venice. I'd map out your apartment with care, especially with 8 year olds. I'd map out how far from transportation and how many bridges with steps to cross with suitcases.

Originally we planned to get an apartment but Perche said be very cautious when renting apartments or even hotels in Venice. The photos are not what they seem to be. We ended up booking a hotel that had a generous breakfast (more like a German breakfast) and then at the suggestion of folks on this forum we
made reservations to have our big meal in the middle of the day. This worked out really well and due to the heat it was nice to have a break in the middle
of the day when we could sit down leisurely and get a break from the heat. In the evening we had light snacks at the suggestion of folks on the forum.

My boyfriend had never been to Venice and I told him we would be staying clear of St Marks Square and Rialto due to the crowds. There was still plenty
to see and do. We ended up walking through St Marks at about 8:00 pm one night (and things were not too bad) and walked through Rialto to get across the bridge
at one point. Rialto area was very crowded.

The biggest challenge was just staying hydrated due to the heat. I remember drinking a lot of water during our mid day restaurant meal and buying a lot of water
bottles throughout the day. I'd recommend linen skirts/dresses for the women in your party to wear as these were great for staying cool.

We had a great time!
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Old Apr 2, 19, 9:42 am
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I think the kids will really like riding around on the Vaporettos.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 1:15 pm
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What about Dorsoduro as a neighborhood? mrs. iapetus has seen at least one apartment there (near the Guggenheim) that appeals to her.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 7:53 pm
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
......If we were to select a place in Castello, how difficult would it be to get our bags (mrs. iapetus promised to scale back this year, but I'm skeptical ) from Santa Lucia into town and then back out again for a Saturday morning flight (11:00am) at Marco Polo? That might be my principal concern about staying so far from the train station.
Here's an option to consider, depending on budget. The part of Canareggio near he train station is horrible. It is full of immigrants fleeing their countries. As soon as you walk out of the door you will be mobbed by them asking if they can help you. Don't do it. They are going to demand a tip, and can get quite aggressive. There's no tipping in Italy It's just down 2-3 flights of stairs, or you can take a ramp down to the Grand Canal waterside, where there are several vaporetto and water taxi stops (motoscafi).

Depending on the day and time, the vaporetti at Santa Lucia can be packed. It's not at all pleasant when they shove you down to the lower level where you have to stand for 45 minutes to get to the nicer parts of Venice. Your kids are old enough to have to pay, and it's 7.50 euros per person, or $30 euros. The nearest vaporetto stop might not be that close to your hotel, so you might have a 10-15 minute walk, in heat, carrying luggage over 12-15 crowded bridges. It's exhausting and not pleasant. The Motoscafi, or private Motors boat like you probably at George Clooney's wedding, run from 50-70 euros, depending on day, time, other factors from Santa Lucia to your hotel, and many hotels have their own private landing so you step from the boat, straight into the lobby of hotel. Plus, a ride in a private boat up the Grand Canal is an unforgettably beautiful experience.

Coming back, with an 11 AM departure, assuming you'll want to be there by 9:30 AM, choices are to take the Alilaguna vaporetto (not to be confused with the ATV vaporetto). It's about an hour and a half ride, you are forced into a downstairs area with dirty window, so you can't see much. All 4 of you will have to pay. It's about 15 euros each, so that would be 60 euros. Private motorboat gets you there in 20 minutes from most places in Castello, It's an open thrilling ride that none of you will soon forget. It runs between, 100-140 euros, usually the latter, so you can generally get to sleep an extra hour. You have to decide if he extra sleep and thrill of flying across the lagoon is worth it to you.
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Old Apr 7, 19, 10:27 pm
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
What about Dorsoduro as a neighborhood? mrs. iapetus has seen at least one apartment there (near the Guggenheim) that appeals to her.
Dorsoduro is a lovely neighborhood. That is where we rented an apartment steps away from the Guggenheim. The kids can run on the Zattere, eat ice cream and everyone will enjoy the views. Easy walk to the Accademia bridge to get over to San Marco are or even catch the vaporetto at the Accademia to the Lido. . The Guggenheim has a great gift shop with creative games and art designed for children. It is also an easy ride via vaporetto to train station. I suggest confirming that the apartment has air conditioning. It will definitely be hot in July. If you can find a nice apartment in the area, with AC, I think that is a splendid choice.
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Old Apr 8, 19, 10:39 am
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Hi Iapetus,

Nothing is wrong with Dosiduro. In fact it is where I stayed on my three stays in Venice. I stayed at Ca Pisani Hotel in Dosiduro three different times.
I stayed one year in November, one year in December and last year the first week of July. Perhaps map out Ca Pisani and your potential apartment on Venice map. There are squares for the kids to run around in. There were a couple of very close vaporetto stops. There are a couple of little markets
that you can buy food/groceries for cooking.

You are about a 5-7 minute walk to St Marks Square (recommend go in evening after 7) You are about a 5-7 minute walk to Rialto (It will be crowded)

I would recommend computing your transit from train or airport to/from Dosiduro before booking your apartment. The only possible negative would be transit time to/from your accomodations. I've done all methods, allaguna, vaporetto, shared water taxi, and solo water taxi. Last July it was going to be about 1 hour 15 minutes on allaguna to airport so we booked water taxi
going home. If you can financially swing the private water taxi or shared water taxi it is pretty amazing. I booked shared water taxi through Viatour last spring for the July inbound trip to Dosiduro.
You still fly across the water but the prices were a lot more reasonable than solo water taxi. Going home I booked solo water taxi through
the hotel. The shared water taxi and solo water taxi were the highlights of our trip. I have done the vaporetto with luggage on prior trip (they don't like
luggage on the vaporetto) but I was a dumb American and I've done the allaguna. I believe when I checked the allaguna last year it
was going to be 50 minutes transit one way and 1 hour 15 minutes going home which is when I defaulted to shared water taxi and solo
water taxi. Kids would love the shared or solo water taxi and as Perche put it "the thrill of flying across the lagoon." Alliguna is the affordable option.

Don't book anything without AC. It will be hot.

You won't have the massive crowds in Dosiduro that you get near St Marks and Rialto. I considered other areas for last summer but then circled
back to Dosiduro because nothing really wrong with Dosiduro.

Kids can run on Zattere etc.
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Old Apr 12, 19, 11:23 am
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So, just three short weeks later, we have finally committed to an apartment in Dorsoduro. We'll be staying not far from the Universitą Ca' Foscari and close to the Campo Santa Margherita. I don't know if the location is exactly what I wanted, but the apartment is pretty nice.

Thanks for everyone's help and feedback thus far. But please don't think I'm done with the thread just 'cause we found accommodations ...
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Old Apr 12, 19, 3:56 pm
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Originally Posted by iapetus View Post
So, just three short weeks later, we have finally committed to an apartment in Dorsoduro. We'll be staying not far from the Universitą Ca' Foscari and close to the Campo Santa Margherita. I don't know if the location is exactly what I wanted, but the apartment is pretty nice.

Thanks for everyone's help and feedback thus far. But please don't think I'm done with the thread just 'cause we found accommodations ...
You are staying in a wonderful area. I promise that you and your family will not be disappointed. Just a few minutes on the Vaporetto from Academia to Rialto for early morning shopping for your evening meal. I loved cooking in Venice (more so than at home). There is also a large supermarket on the Zatterre for every day provisions. Excellent area for active children.
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