Venice -- Finding the Restaurants
Which of the many city maps available do the Venetian Chowhounders recommend for someone who hasn't been there in 15 years? (Phrased this way to meet the moderators' subject-matter requirements.)
I tagged all the restaurants and bars (including address, website and phone if available) we wanted to visit in Google Earth, dumped it into a .kmz file and saved on my iphone & ipad. Worked perfectly except for Locanda Cipriani on Torcello - put it in Cannaregio.
We got back in the states yesterday after a wonderful trip. In Venice our favorites were Al Covo, Locanda Cipriani, Fiaschetteria Toscana and Bancogiro.
Enjoy your visit.
Nancy, thank you for the advice and suggestions.
There still are some of us, however, who do not have an iphone or ipad or itablet or iwhatever, and who do not even know what a .kmz file is. And as you point out, even the supposedly omnipresent Google is not infallible. So I hope there still are printed maps, by real cartographers, and that someone familiar with Venice can point me to the most reliable one.
(How did you "tag addresses," when -- as I understand it -- in Venice there are none, and the buildings are sequentially numbered with one consecutive sequence for each sestiere, with the numbers having no relation to actual location?)
For this trip, I took the Venice StreetWise (same map I've been using for 20-30 years), but never opened it. It's a great map, relatively small and laminated ~ definitely a plus when it's raining.
I still strongly suggest using Google Earth as you plan your trip and, if possible, when you are there. For most restaurants (and hotels, museums, etc) Google Earth knows where they are. You can 'drop' a pin at that location and add any info you want to that pin. If Google Earth is wrong about the location (it does happen) and you can figure it out, you can drag the pin to the correct location. If you're really unsure about the location, you can go to street view and actually see the building. This was invaluable to me for finding a hotel in Venice, a parking garage in Como and Restaurant Stendhal in Colorno. I'm over 60 and was able to figure this out, so it can't be all that hard ;)
We just got back from 16 days in Italy ~ Venice, Ravenna, Alba & Como. Google Earth made traveling very easy. Also, the suggestion by minchilli is excellent, but that does mean you usually start out from your hotel.
If you'd like my Google Earth file, I'd be happy to share. Email me at nancyitaly2014 @ gmail.com
Here's the link to the StreetWise map ~ http://www.amazon.com/Streetwise-Veni...
One thing I sometimes do in Venice is plan out each night's route ahead of time, with google maps.
While still at home I plug in the location of my hotel, and then the restaurant. You can then hit the 'walking' button and it will automatically map out your route. You can then print this page out to use that evening.
Venice is very difficult since the addresses are often numbers of the different neighborhoods, and not street addresses.
Its true that the Venice address numbering system is weird, but most restaurants and guides offer location information other than the sestiere address. Part of the fun in venice is navigating around the back streets with a map, getting lost from time to time. The trick is finding a paper or better waterproof map that actually has all the little calli canals, etc labelled and a good index. smartphones are great, but most people using them to navigate pay inadequate attention to their surroundings and never learn the geography and miss a lot of the beauties of the place.. Venice is small enough that some learning is possible if you dont rely totally on the electronics!
Michele Scibilia's great Osterie guide has pretty good maps, plus all the recommended restaurants are marked. It may still be avalable on the ground in Venice. IBS.it offers the 2010 edition. she also has an Iphone app and a more recent 2013 book covering more than food (not sure whether it has the map resource or if it is a comprehensive in food reccs as the 2010 and earlier books).
On a recent trip at the beginning of April, my girlfriend and I found our way fairly easily to Antiche Carampane despite its reputation for being difficult to locate. I used a combination of Google Maps and a paper map that I marked up.
Thanks to all who responded.
@Nancy, I will soon take you up on your kind offer. (Don't assume that what's not that hard for a mere child of "over 60" is so easy for those of us almost a full generation older than you.)
Also @Nancy -- From your visit to Como, can you recommend any particular places to eat?
@Jen -- I absolutely endorse your comments on using cellphones on the street. It's a wonder more of those users don't get knocked off by cellphone-using drivers (although I realize this is not a problem in Venice). And yes, I agree that it's best to have a fully detailed map, which is why I asked which publishers' maps are the most useful ones. I will look at the Streetwise, but does that one really have all the little calli and canali?
We had three very good meals in the Como area ~
Crotto del Sergente ~ not easy to find, but worth it. We went on a Tuesday night and the place was packed. Loved the pastas and the manzo (braised beef). Definitely make a reservation. Euro 150 for 4 people.
Ristorante Silvio in Bellagio ~ wonderful lunch overlooking the lake. This restaurant is somewhat outside the center of Bellagio. We walked along the water and thru the Villa Melzi gardens (definitely worth a visit) before climbing a steep series of steps to get up to the restaurant (if you call, they will send a car to pick you up from Bellagio center, it's about a 3 minute ride). The fish was excellent and the rolls were amazing, they used cornmeal in a yeast roll. Euro 120 for 4 people
Locanda dell'Isola Comacina ~ mixed reviews on the board, but I've been many times over the past 38 years and have always loved it. Set menu including white wine (cold, crisp Soave) is Euro 68 per person. The menu is simple and good, especially the antipasto, but what you are really paying for is the absolutely amazing ambiance of Lake Como. Go for lunch, sit outside (in the shade) and combine with a visit to Villa Balbianello. If it's raining - skip it.
In re getting around in Venice, I think the Streetwise is really all you will need unless you're spending a lot of time there or planning on visiting some really obscure sites. It's pretty easy to get around and things are very well marked. Just allow a bit more time than you think if you're walking to an appointment or trying to catch a vaporetto ~ there are wonderful distractions all along the way.
The picture is Locanda dell'Isola Comacina on May 04, 2014
I have had great success with the Knopf guides map books. The pages fold out for great readable detail.