2022 Italy, Greece and Turkey: Venice, Italy Pre-Cruise Stay

By Suzanne Klasen
Destinations/Ports Series: 2022 Italy Greece Turkey Cruise
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It had been 33 years since I had visited Venice, yet this city hasn’t seemed to change a bit. Well, except for maybe the crowds. I had always heard that Venice is more crowded in the summer and my last two visits in 1989 were in March and November respectively. I think I would recommend visiting this city in the off season as the experience with the crowds of the summer tourist season made the city feel extremely different than on those previous visits, but still an amazing place to explore.

I’ll compare this trip to the visit in March of 1989. On that trip, my college choir was flown to Frankfurt and then transferred on to Venice via coach, to sing at the inauguration ceremonies and mass marking the opening of the Spring Hill College Study in Venice program located at the Jesuit facilities in Venice. This program started in the Spring of 1988 and continued for several years, but the grand opening ceremonies were held in March of 1989.

My arrival on that trip was much deferent than our arrival on this one. For this trip, we arrived right at the Venice airport, gathered our luggage and took a water taxi ($140 Euros) straight from the airport to our fantastic Hilton Molino Stucky Venice. Our driver assisted with our luggage on and off the boat and the hotel porter brought our luggage in while we were checking in. Back in 1989, we flew into Frankfurt, then took an all day bus to Venice. Once we arrived in Venice we took the water bus, vaporetto, to a stop near Campo de Gesuiti where we were greeted by the students studying overseas from our college and then had to walk several more blocks, hauling our luggage over several bridges until we got to our girls dormitory at the youth hostel. I think that there were at least 10 of us sharing one large room with bunk beds. By contrast our room at the Hilton was stunning on this trip, tastefully decorated in black, white and taupe, and with a view overlooking Venice.

Once we settled in to our hotel, we headed to the roof top terrace where we were met by some friends who were also traveling with us. We enjoyed the sunset views overlooking Venice, wine and a little snack charcuterie.

The next day, I got to tour around Venice. I was the “Expert” tour guide who hadn’t been to the city in 33 years, but I managed to show my husband around town. Our hotel had an included water bus system that took us to St. Mark’s Piazza and from there I led us around on foot. We took our obligatory pictures in St. Mark’s, and I even posed for one in a similar spot as 33 years ago. The first 4 pictures are ones from 2022 juxtaposed against my pictures from 1989.

Once we took our pictures there, I wanted to lead us away from the crowds to a much quieter area of Venice. When I saw the signs pointing toward Piazza Giovani E Paolo, I knew that might be a good direction to head because there was the Piazza and Church that was about 1/2 way between the youth hostel, we stayed in 33 years ago, and the Jesuit Church where we rehearsed and performed out concert. This turned out to be a great direction in which to head. We enjoyed a lovely lunch right in the Piazza without too many crowds. The two interior pictures at the bottom were taking during my 1989 visit.

After, lunch we did something that has been on my bucket list for 33 years, a gondola ride in Venice. When we were there in 1989, a group of the girls got to do this when the gondolier offered them a great price that ended up being only around $10 pp. I think that there were 5 or 6 of them that got to do this. Unfortunately, I was not with this group at the time, so I missed the opportunity. One of the girls said that it changed her whole perspective on Venice. 33 years later, I totally agree. We found a gondolier parked right on Piazza di Giovoni e Paolo, and we got him to take us for a wonderful gondola ride through the canals of Venice. It was about 45 minutes long and I think about 150 Euros but worth every bit of what we paid.

Next we took another stroll back in time to the Campo Die Gesuiti. I followed my instincts from 33 years ago. Walk along the hospital to the water front, then left and it was either two or three bridges. When we got there, the Gesuiti church was open. We paid a couple of Euros and got to go in and take pictures. I had a 35 mm camera back in 1989, but only a fixed lens, so I couldn’t get wide enough shots to really show all the beautiful artwork and craftmanship that went into make this church. I was so glad to return with my 21st Century Cell Phone camera and get some incredible shots of the amazing church.

We spent hours in the church in 1989 which I don’t think was heated and we all were in long coats, hats and scarves during rehearsal. The beautiful artwork somehow made that even enjoyable. It is an elaborate rococo church and even has several masterpieces of art including the Titian Martyrdom of St. Laurence and an elaborate fresco ceiling in the naïve by Ludovico Dorigny. Other parts of the ceiling were done by Francesco Fontebasso. The pulpit and many of the large columns and walls are decorated in an elaborate blue and white inlaid marble that resembles brocade cloth.

Finally, after our wonderful, but crowded day touring the main islands of Venice, we headed back via the hotel’s water bus to the Stucky Molino islands. Here we enjoyed a wonderful al fresco dinner looking across the channel on the main part of Venice.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to take our Covid tests to embark the cruise. We were nervous but very relieved when we tested negative. The next morning, we headed to the Tronchetto parking area via water taxi that we shared with our friends who were traveling with us. The hotel concierge arranged it for us. We waited about 1/2 hour at the sight, the Celebrity rep got us checked onto the bus and then we headed out to the new port of Ravenna since Venice has banned large cruise ships.

This entry was posted in My Cruise History
Suzanne Klasen

Suzanne Klasen is the Owner / Travel Advisor of CruiseOne Suzanne Klasen. We have combined our love of cruising with computer skills to bring you a very informative and entertaining site that follows my cruising travels and thoughts. I hope that you will let me help plan your next vacation.

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