Wednesday, 24 July 2013
Today is our last day in Florence. The plan is to take the train to Venice and stay there for another 3 days before going back to Malaysia. After breakfast, we checked out from the hotel and took a cab to Firenze Santa Maria Novella train station.
Our train, Italo Treno, arrived on time. Below are the details of our train.
- Train: Italo Treno
- Departure: Firenze Santa Maria Novella, 10:55AM
- Arrival: Venezia Santa Lucia, 1PM
- Price: EU82 per person (RM372)
I was quite impressed with the interior of the train. It’s modern and comfortable. It has a personal charging station and a shared TV screen for the entire coach.
After 2 hours, we arrived in Venezia Santa Lucia (the main station in Venice). The building looks a bit dated given it was built in 1861. Upon stepping out from the station, I was amazed to see the famous Grand Canal (photo above: bottom right). The train station is situated right beside the canal. The water bus station at the train station is called Ferrovia. We boarded the water bus at Ferrovia and headed east. Turns out our hotel is just a few stops away.
- Hotel Name: Pesaro Palace
- Hotel Website: http://www.hotelpesaropalace.it
- Duration: 3 days 2 nights (24th July to 26th July)
- Room Rate: Total €360 (RM1,635). €180 per night (RM817)
Our hotel is situated alongside the Grand Canal. We got off the water bus at Cá d’Oro Station. The hotel is just beside the water bus station. It has a nice courtyard and lobby. We were impressed at the deco of our room. Our room is an in-ward facing room, where the view is of the inner courtyard. Patrons with a bigger budget may want to consider rooms facing the Grand Canal.
After we checked-in, we went to explore the nearby areas. From our hotel, we walked along Strada Nuova, the main street in our district. Venice is not that big an island. After exploring a few blocks and comparing the distance on the map, we found out we could walk from our hotel to Piazza San Marco!
After walking for about 20 minutes, we arrived at a small square in front of Hotel Antico Doge. The hotel is located along a waterway with nice gondolas passing by.
We were quite hungry and decided to have lunch at a decent looking restaurant called Trattoria Da Rino, just beside Hotel Antico Doge. The food was good and the price somewhat reasonable.
From there, we walked south and finally reached Piazza San Marco. It was a massive square. Apparently Napoleon once described the place as “the drawing room of Europe”. I can see why!
We explored the shops, and after that made our way to Caffè Florian (website). I wanted to see the famous cafe, established in 1720, it is known as the oldest cafe in the world! We had a look at the menu, and decided it’s too much to pay for a cup of cappuccino. We later had coffee at a nearby ristorante behind Piazza San Marco.
We explored the area behind Piazza San Marco and went to see the famous Bridge of Sighs (Italian: Ponte dei Sospiri). There were a lot of people but we managed to get a photo. Built in 1602, the bridge connects the New Prison (photo: on the right) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace (photo: left side of the bridge)
For dinner, we explored the area north west of Cannaregio, the district our hotel is in. Turns out there is a lot of restaurants and shops along Strada Nuova, the main street in our district. I spotted a kebab shop and decided to give it a try. The thing about Venice at night is that only the main streets are fully lighted. The smaller streets are partially lighted, while the alleys are completed dark. That was the end of our first day in Venice!