Venice 2013: Day 2 and a Trip to the Lido

I woke to another glorious day of sunshine. First there was breakfast. Emerging from my room I met Walter (Sandro and Walter own the hotel). It was lovely to see him again and we had a good chat before I moved on into the breakfast room where I helped myself to juice, fresh fruit salad and yoghurt and Betty brought me a cappuccino.

Then it was time to set off for the Rialto market where I wanted to start my day. From this quiet area of Santa Croce you walk through narrow calli – alleys – and over little bridges where I want to stop and take a photo of the view each time. Venice is a paradise for photographers.

Soon I was back in the fish market that has been deserted when I passed yesterday evening.

The fabulous display of fish always makes me think I should be staying somewhere I can cook but then I can’t imagine coming to Venice now and not staying at the lovely Hotel Al Ponte Mocenigo.


And there was magnificent fruit and vegetables too, all with the glorious background of Venice behind.


Since the weather was so wonderful I decided to buy a vaporetto ticket and cross the lagoon to the Lido. I haven’t done this for ages and I fancied a walk on the beach. Vaporetto tickets are very expensive and I’ve given up buying them in recent visits here, except for short trips to Murano and Burano. In the days when the pound bought you more euros than it does now I didn’t hesitate to just buy a vaporetto pass for my entire stay but now it’s hard to justify the cost. It’s actually so easy to walk everywhere you can manage very well without one. Still, if I was going to the Lido then perhaps I’d do a little more ‘vaporetto-ing’ this holiday. They cost €18 for 12 hours, €20 for 24 hours and €25 for 36 hours. It seemed sensible to go for 36 hours as at 9.30 this morning that was going to give me effectively 2 days to use it – till 9.30 tomorrow night. Despite the cost, vaporettos are always packed. As was the one that turned up at the Rialto stop.

It was lovely to be on the water. We headed down the Grand Canal and as we passed under Accademia bridge the church of Santa Maria della Salute came into sight.

We passed some beautiful buildings.


And then came to the church itself.

We passed by the Campanile and the Doge’s Palace.

And a while later the No.1 vaporetto arrived at its final stop – Lido. All you have to do to get to the beach is cross over from the vaporetto stop and head down Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta which cuts straight across the island. What I’d forgotten was that the island is big enough for cars and buses and even though I’d been in Venice for less than 24 hours I’d already acclimatised myself to a massive pedestrian zone. Buses and cars almost seemed too much! I also realised that I hadn’t really come prepared for summer and stopped to buy some flipflops for the beach. Many parts of the beach are private but I came immediately to the entrance to the public beach. I headed down to the water, turned right and started walking!

It was so wonderful and pretty empty so I passed only the occasional person. Looking up to the right I could see what was formerly the famous hotel – Hotel Des Bains, which featured in the film Death in Venice based on Thomas Mann’s book.

Now it’s a neglected building site; the hotel closed and its development into flats halted. It seemed sad. I remembered when I stayed on the Lido in 1998 with my daughter and our hotel’s beach was near there. I also remember that I had to negotiate a fee for using a beach hut every day. We’d always spend the morning on the main part of Venice sightseeing, have lunch and then want to go down to the beach to relax for a couple of hours mid afternoon. My negotiation always began along the lines of, It’s 4 in the afternoon. I’m not paying for a whole day. And eventually the price would come down.

Putting my vaporetto ticket to good use I decided after quite a long walk along the beach that I could get back across the lagoon in time to have lunch at my favourite wine bar – where as a family we always have to go when in Venice – Pane Vino & San Daniele in Campo dell’ Angelo Raffaele. What I love about the place is not just the wonderful San Daniele ham they slice for your plate and the delicious Fantinel prosecco they serve, but the utter peace and quiet one can enjoy. I even heard birds singing today.

I sat at a table under a shade and the waiter took a wooden wedge from a bag to set under one of the table’s legs to stop it wobbling. What service!

I had a plate of San Daniele ham, buffalo mozzarella and tomato and a mixed salad to eat with a glass of prosecco.

And because I was happy sitting there and like their food, I had dessert too – a tiramisu and a coffee.

Later on back at the hotel I got all English around 4 and wanted English tea in the hotel’s courtyard and it came – with cake too.

So perhaps I’d better not have dessert this evening! The courtyard is lovely, a perfect place to sit and rest.

Well all good dessert intentions didn’t last long. After writing the first part of this post I decided to go out for a little walk before dinner. Heading to a local favourite campo – San Giocamo – I passed Gelateria San Stae which sells excellent ice cream, so I had some. Just one small scoop!

From there I walked on to the campo.

I’d intended to eat at Pizzeria Al Nono where I’ve had good pizzas in past trips but they were closed so I headed back to Muro Pizza where I ate a good meal last year when here with Annie. I had Sarde in saor con polenta – sweet and sour sardines Venetian style – to begin.

They were delicious. My Pizza Bracere with ham and artichokes was very, very good but also huge and I couldn’t finish it.

It was still quite early when I finished so I decided to walk for a while. The dark sky was so clear I could see the stars and the moon was full. I got carried away taking photos of Venice by night – so I’ll leave those to a separate photo post tomorrow.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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