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Welcome Back!!! Just got back from Venice and was outraged how expensive everything got...and it's not just because of the dollar. Even if they were even, I would feel ripped off. They are really trying to soak the tourists--but what about us lovers of Venice. We want to go back and stay for a while but just can't afford it anymore.
...and the amount of graffitti is distressing and the beggars and the counterfeit handbag vendors on the street... I hope I am not depressing you but I love Venice and have been there many times (much to my family's dismay)-- I hate to see what is happening.
I avoid hotels and rent cool apartments, shop for local goodies, cook at home a bunch, and as much as possible try to blend in. Midnight walks, people watching in San Zanipolo, making photos in the Piazza, so far, still has no pricetag.

Cat Bauer

I am so happy to see you blogging again! Everyone was starting to worry. Venice needs all the help she can get:) I started a new blog myself, Venetian Cat - Venice Blog over on Blogger.

And very big thank you for the blurb you wrote about me last Carnevale (I decided to sit this year's out:).

In response to the previous comment -- there ARE plenty of businesses who appreciate lovers of Venice. It's just a matter of getting everybody organized. Venetians are as fed up with what's going on around here as the visitors are.

Cat Bauer


I have my favorite places who appreciate lovers of Venice but I must say, some have disappeared since the last time I was in Venice and that was only three years ago. I envy you because you live in Venice but where are the changes coming from -- is it the local political atmosphere or is it coming from outside the city?
Are people "fed up" enough to become active in saving their city?

Cat Bauer

Ah, where are the changes coming from, indeed? My friend, try to find out the answer to that question and you will trip merrily down a Byzantine path. I try to avoid politics. I keep saying that what Venice needs is a Doge:)

There are plenty of locals who are very active in trying to save their city. Plenty. The key, I think, is to support the businesses who appreciate lovers of Venice, and to avoid those that don't.

I had a young Venetian artist create that female Lion of San Marco "Venetian Cat" logo: a woman's head on the body of a lion. Like the Sphinx:)

Since I live in a city of merchants, I am making arrangements to give visitors a discount -- not because they say they know "Cat" -- but only if they can answer a question correctly after reading the article I write (like the Sphinx:), and visiting the businesses, themselves, in person. Perhaps it will inspire a dialogue.

If I say something is real, it means I've seen it with my own eyes. Hopefully, that's worth something -- it was when I wrote for the International Herald Tribune-Italy Daily. And if the goal is to attract educated travelers, and not turn Venice into Las Vegas Venice (40% of Venice's income comes from the Casino, by the way), my efforts might make a little dent.

I've said this before, so it's no secret: When the Casino asked me to attract more English-speaking people, I wanted to create a closed-circuit TV show beamed into the hotels called, LIVE, FROM THE VENICE CASINO! and give out free tickets. If we have 20-30 million visitors a year, that is a sizable audience. It was going to be informative and entertaining, interviewing Venetians, taping part, and then doing the rest live at the Casino itself once a week. I also wanted to emphasize the history of the Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, and focus on Wagner -- it is not just an ordinary Casino. In addition, I wanted to to give simple tips about how to move in Venice, what to see, what to do -- I am a great believer that education is the key; too many people don't even know where they are, and Venice is a very strange city. I thought people would come inside the Casino to see the show, then stay, and try their luck. If we must accept the Casino -- and we must -- at least let's do it in a sophisticated, educational fashion.

I'm still waiting to hear....


Keep up the fight. I love when people tell me they are going to Venice and I can send them to great shops and restaurants they would probably not find on their own. I've been to Venice 8 times in the last 12 years, and although that is not the same as living there, I have tried to immerse myself every time I return. I hate when people say they will only be in Venice for 2 nights--it's not enough time. If I can remember back to the first time I went to Venice, I was 14 and Venice was pretty intimidating. So I try to get my friends to explore away from Piazza San Marco. The true gems of the city are there--you just have to be willing to "get lost".

Karen Starling

Great to read the blog and full of lots of information. I am going to Venice on a return trip in April with two friends. We are staying at Al Palazzo Lion Morosini near to the Rialto Bridge. While we are there we are all celebrating a birthday so would love to hear of any personally recommended restaurants in the locale (with address). We dont do tourist!! but love to eat authentic food of the region. Even writing that sounds touristy but it is true. Some restaurants just push out cheap food with no taste so we are prepared to pay more for good quality food.

------pick up a book called Chow Venice, available via Amazon.

And go to La Zucca!


I like Da Ivo-Calle de Fuseri, Fiascheteria Toscana--Campo S. Giovani Grisostomo, Al Milion--Corte de Milion...to name a few.
And there is always the famous and excellant da Fiore---make reservations as soon as you decide to go to any restuarants don't wait to get to Venice to decide.


Hi,we are visiting Venice in the beginning of May.We will be travelling with our 3 children (4,6 and 11)and stay for 3 nights(unfortunately cannot afford more..).I was thinking of cooking in the appartmnent, but perhaps we could dine once somewhere nice(concerning food and atmosphere)Would you have any suggestions?Or any other tips concernig family-3days-trip-in Venice?

Cooking in is fun, because there are so many great places to buy great ingredients. Go to the Rialto open air market early in the AM for amazing produce and fish.

My fave restaurant is La Zucca.

Marisa Allegra Williams

First off, there's another Marisa who loves Venice out there? Fantastico! Next, glad to hear that Internet cafe is no more. Right near Alberto Valese's Ebru handmade (and marbled) paper shop, right? Although, I do wonder why/how it went under. The throngs are always looking for a place to surf the net. *Shrugs* Anywho, I look forward to checking out the restaurant when I next return to Venice; which I hope will be next spring. Glad to have discovered your blog. Viva Venezia!!


Traveling with kids can be fun in Venice because it is such a novelty. If you want the best pizza--and with kids this is essential--go to Pizzeria Sansovino on Calle Zaguri--just off the Campo San Maurizio. It's amazing!!!



These places sound fantastic...

I can't wait to check them out on my next visit.




Sorry to have to disagree with you on the choice of restaurants there, but you can't GET any more touristy than "Fiaschetteria Toscana" and particularly, "Da Fiore" -if you are looking to pay upwards of US 175.00 pp without drinks at Da Fiore, well, go right ahead-one of my good friends lives just 5 feet away from that restaurant, and we always shake our heads as to why anyone would throw money away in that fashion. No Venetians go there, it is purely a "foodie" restaurant for Americans and British primarily who consider themselves foodies and can afford to show off. The reviews of the restaurant are mixed, since there are many restaurants in Venice - I'm thinking particularly of "Trattoria alla Madonna" which is charming, very local, with the freshest seafood and not too expensive that can consistently outdo "Da Fiore" in terms of the price/quality ratio.

FT is another "tourist/foodie only" restaurant-I have never seen Venetians in there. I went there once, and I thought the food was good-I ALSO think that the food is great at OTHER restaurants that are not nearly so expensive! There are lots of them in Venice! The problem with these overly expensive tourist restaurants is that you are paying an awful lot of money for a meal that might be very good or mediocre, it just depends on the fickle moods of the chef, ad personally, there are a 100 better ways to use those Euros in Venice than take a crap shoot at an overly expensive foodie restaurant!

Venice is going through a transition/upheaval period right now, politically and economically. It will pull through-if for no other reason than it is a magnet for the entire world-the most mundane events, the enacting of certain regulations, that cause barely a ripple in other cities-for example, barring the selling of grain to feed the pigeons in San Marco-causes world-wide interest, and a bitter battle with the former-grain sellers in the Piazza. (The ban against feeding pigeons in San Marco went into effect just this past week). It was a ban that is long overdue, since the pigeons are ruining the patrimony of Venice with their excrement. But any change to the status quo, however well-intentioned, seems to disturb the delicate balance of life in this city and provoke bitter protests. As Mayor Cacciari rightly said a year or so ago, "Venice is an old city" meaning that Venetians are mired in their old ways, they don't like change, they expect tax breaks-hand-outs from the government, such as the "special law," in other words, they want everything handed to them on a silver platter-life in such a unique city like Venice doesn't work that way, and Venetians need to accept the hard fact that those days of the hand-outs are over, but most Venetians are too self-absorbed to face reality.


P.S. In the last two years in Venice, I've seen at least 4 or 5 new restaurants go up, one swanky restaurant right there by Ca d'Oro, on the Strada Nova gondolier station by Ca' Gottardi-a rooftop restaurant/cocktail bar, and a couple of others in San Polo, near Campo San Giacometto, for example. So I don't think I buy into your crumbling retail gloom and doom scenario so much, I just haven't seen much evidence of that. I see evidence of more restaurants and shops moving in, wealthy people of the arts who can afford to live in the historical center have moved in, and the arts scene in Venice could not be MORE thriving. They've got a thriving theater scene over by the Fondamente Nove, for example. There will be a fantastic new contemporary art museum built in the old customs house at Punta della Dogana by Pinault, the French financier who owns Palazzo Grassi. Yes, City Hall is without money, but there are various reasons for that, no easy solutions-but it is not all gloom and doom for Venice, hey, Elton John is giving a concert July 9 in the Piazza San Marco, with tickets going around 140 Euro or so-what could be better?


Venice is expensive---period. Always was, always will be. Even a mediocre dinner can set you back. So, if your spending it anyway, why not spend a little extra for a wonderful meal. I always hear Venice has horrible restaurants and I say no. But people tend not to stray from Piazza San Marco. I, too, like alla Madonna but found the service lacking. My preference is Il Gatto Nero on Burano but if you only have a few days in Venice, visitors won't take the time needed to reach it unless they plan on seeing the outer islands. Even the "touristy" places can be great when you get to know the people who are serving you---my family always engages with the waiter and owner. The people of Venice are very friendly if you show an interest in them, their history and their city. We always try to eat in a new restaurant every time we go to Venice. Da Ivo was a place we went to in 1987 when they were "a new kid on the block", we had a wonderful experience and they have a soft place in my heart. Whenever the good word gets out, it's over--the tourists come and the prices go up, up, up.


Nice one Marisa. My next visit starts Monday and ur right about the Venetians. We have what I call good friends there. A nice restaurant on Via Garibaldi. Far enough away from the crowds but still good for people watching. They became friends when I took my 2 kids a few years ago and my attempt at Italian was described as "You speak Italian like an American" (I'm a Brit). I dont need to eat anywhere else!

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I love your blog! It`s so entertaining to read all the stories about the idiosyncracies of Venice. It could be a comedy! How lucky you are to live in Venice. It`s a totally different thing though, if you are a tourist. All cities are this way. In my city, I just look at the tourist hotspots and think, `whatever!`... They don`t do anything for me.

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