Welcome to the Venice Travel Blog

Cheryl Imboden with Venice map
Venice Travel Blog is an extension of our travel-planning Web site, Venice for Visitors, which PC Magazine has called "the premier visitors' site for Venice, Italy." We hope you'll visit often, and we invite you to post your comments about traveling or living in Venice. If you're fond of animals, take a look at our dog blog, Maggie in Venice: A Bearded Collie's Adventures in Italy.

Finally, if you're traveling to Venice for the first time, don't miss our "Introducing Venice" article at Veniceforvisitors.com.

- Durant and Cheryl Imboden


Take an opera cruise from Venice

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ABOVE: La Bella Vita cruises in Italy's Po River Delta between Venice and Mantua.

In 2015, European Waterways is offering two opera-themed cruises aboard La Bella Vita, a luxury hotel barge that cruises between Venice and Mantua.

Each opera package will include a pre-cruise "Night at the Opera" with premium seating in the Arena di Verona, a former Roman amphitheatre in Verona (an easy drive from Padua, where you'll spend a night before boarding the hotel barge in Venice).

The dates of the two opera-themed cruises are:

  • July 11-18, featuring Puccini's Tosca.

  • September 5-12, featuring Verdi's Nabucco.

Other opera-related activities include:

  • A visit to the Arena Museo opera museum in Verona.

  • A private performance by an opera quartet aboard La Bella Vita. (We've heard the quartet, and they put on a great show.)

  • Shore excursions to baroque theatres and opera houses such as Venice's Gran Teatro La Fenice.

imageIn addition to the opera performances and activities, you'll enjoy the experience of cruising from Venice to Mantua via the Venetian Lagoon and the Po River, with a memorable overnight stay on Venice's historic waterfront.

USD prices for the cruise, pre-cruise overnight stay in Padua, and opera performance in Verona start at $5,140 per person, double occupancy.

For more information, see the La Bella Vita - Opera Cruise itinerary and La Bella Vita Barge pages at the European Waterways Web site

We also suggest reading our illustrated La Bella Vita Barge Cruise Review at Europeforcruisers.com, which describes our own cruise from Venice to Mantua with European Waterways.

BELOW: Outside the Roman Arena in Verona, where you'll see Tosca or Nabucco during your opera-themed La Bella Vita cruise.

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A sewage boat in Venice

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ABOVE: A sewage boat arrives to collect the contents of a septic tank or a "pozzo nero" (cesspool) in a Venice storefront.

Sewage isn't the most appealing travel topic, but if you're at all interested in urban infrastructure, you might as well learn where things go when you do.

Most of Venice's sewage goes directly into the city's canals. Flush a toilet, and someone crossing a bridge or cruising up a side canal by gondola may notice a small swoosh of water emerging from an opening in a brick wall. In theory, such waste is supposed to be purified by septic tanks, but such systems are the exception, not the rule. (Septic tanks are most common in restaurants, hotels, and other structures that have been gutted and renovated in recent years.)

From time to time, septic tanks need to be emptied by a pozzo nero ("black well") boat, which hauls the muck away. Buildings that use cesspools to store untreated waste also need an occasional pumping-out. In the photos and video on this page, you can see how the process works.


BELOW: A hose runs from the boat or barge to a temporary sewer pipe on shore.

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BELOW: The sewer pipe runs across a square into a storefront where a pump draws sludge or waste from an underfloor storage tank.

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BELOW: This video shows a sewage boat pumping waste and cruising away after sucking up a tankful of muck.

 

Want to learn more? Read Venipedia's illustrated article about sewage disposal in Venice.


Looking for a gift book? Buy DREAM OF VENICE.

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We tend to be underwhelmed by gift books and coffeetable books, especially when they're about Venice. We've seen too many heavy, expensive books that consisted mostly of standard tourist photos (gondolas, Carnival masks) and seemed destined to gather dust on bookshelves.

This year, however, we received a review copy of a readable--and affordable--book that breaks the mold. It's titled Dream of Venice, with photographs by Charles Christopher and editing by JoAnn Locktov (who also has written two books about contemporary mosaics).

We recommend Dream of Venice with enthusiasm, and if you're looking for the perfect gift book--for the holidays, for Valentine's Day, for a birthday or anniversary, or for yourself--we suggest that you read our illustrated review at Veniceforvisitors.com:

Dream of Venice Book Review