Jul 05 2008

Random Thoughts

Published by at 2:49 pm under Venice - Other

This section will include various tips and photos that are of a general nature or out of the main stream of the blog. A General Suggestion for Touring in Venice (or Italy): There is always the possibility of a strike or protest or demonstration in Italy. Many of these events are scheduled in that the time and place have been registered with governmental authorities but as a casual tourist, you may not know about them in advance.


To avoid stress on a vacation, it is strongly recommended that you do not overschedule your activities on a given day so that a seemingly spontaneous interruption of services and/or transportation does not create a huge disappointment. For example, if you have bought a ticket to see a much-loved opera at La Fenice in the evening, it would be wise to stay within central Venice that day, or at least afternoon, so that if the vaporetti or taxis are on strike, you could walk there. Similarly, taking a trip by train on a day when you have evening plans to, say, Verona, might not be a good idea if there are issues with the trains or if you make a mistake and take a train in the wrong direction (I will have to raise my hand to this one. It is hard enough to tell what a public system announcement means in English; in Italian, for me, it is impossible.)
Lunch time etiquette: The tourist oriented restaurants often serve meals throughout the day. For lunch, restaurants that serve local workers as well as residents and tourists have an understood schedule. Workers are served at noon and residents/tourists are served at one o’clock. On our last visit, this general rule seemed to be eroding, but if you are in doubt, plan to lunch at one. Also, Venetians dine at home or in restaurants. They do not picnic in public places. If you sit on a stone wall in San Marco with a slice of pizza or a sandwich, you may be told to move on by a local carabiniere.
For Donna Leon fans: Here are pictures of places that figure in her mysteries:

View from bridge by the Questura

This is the view from the bridge right outside the questura. It looks as if this is about as far as the restoration of San Lorenzo is going to get. It is somewhat curious that there is an iffy looking club in the square in front of San Lorenzo. I’ve wondered if it might be featured in a future story.

questura, 2006

The questura has moved from building to building quite a bit in the last few years. Always on the same side of the canal (which is frequently inaccurately portrayed in maps of Venice).

The Questura

I think it has been in three different buildings, which are next to each other. The constant movement could well be classified as a quintessentially Italian mystery. When I see a boat in the canal in front of the questura, I wonder if they are about to dash off to a Leon-worthy adventure.


On the left is a picture of the florist where Signorina Elettra goes to get the fabulous displays with which she decorates her office. It’s a beautiful shop but not particularly close to the Questura. (If you have been wondering what I am talking about, Donna Leon is a mystery writer whose stories take place in Venice. Several friends and I are big fans. I once found just the type of bookstore that I was looking for by thinking about where the protagonist’s wife, Paula, would go for a Henry James novel.)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Random Thoughts”

  1. noel fairon 26 Jul 2009 at 2:09 pm

    re strikes – we are taking a train from venice to rome the night before we fly home. is this risky?

  2. srcabralon 26 Jul 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Most really big strikes that would affect your train ride are rare and scheduled. Check with your concierge if there is a rail strike coming up when you arrive in Venice. I wouldn’t worry about it.

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