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July 2011

Treviso Airport is closed until October 1

River-sile-evening-panorama-400-p1030346

ABOVE: An evening view of the River Sile in Treviso, Italy.

Treviso is a prosperous and historic Italian town that lies about 20 km or 12 miles from Venice. (See photo above). For many tourists, however, it's known primarily as the home of Treviso Canova Airport, which serves as the Venice gateway for Ryanair, Wizzair, Transavia, and several other low-cost airlines. And that brings us to an important warning:

  • Treviso Airport is closed for runway maintenance until October 1, 2011--a fact some budget airlines' Web sites fail to mention.

Fortunately, there's also good news:

  • During the maintenance work, Ryanair and other airlines that normally use Treviso Airport are flying in and out of Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) instead. This is a great convenience if Venice is your final destination, because Marco Polo Airport is only a short distance from Venice's historic center.

Here's what you need to know if you're traveling to or from Venice on a budget airline between now and the end of September:

Arriving is simple: Just get off the plane, claim your baggage, and follow the directions on our Arriving by Air page at Veniceforvisitors.com.

Departing is easy, too:

  • If you're flying on Ryanair, Wizzair, Germanwings or Air Arabia, you can check in on the ground floor of the Marco Polo Airport terminal, at desks 81-88 near door A.
  • If you're flying on Transavia, head upstairs to the main departures level and look for the Transavia check-in desks.
  • If you've already checked in online and have only carry-on luggage, go directly upstairs to the main departures level and look for your gate on the electronic departures board.

For more information about Venice's Marco Polo Airport, including detailed articles on ground transportation, see "Marco Polo Airport" at Veniceforvisitors.com. (Scroll down to the bottom of that page for links to related articles about airport taxis, Alilaguna airport boats, water taxis, etc.)

Addendum: If you're traveling to or from Treviso (as opposed to Venice), you have two ground-transportation options during the Treviso Canova Airport shutdown:

  • Ride the special ATVO coach between Marco Polo Airport and Treviso (see timetable in PDF format).

Free boat trips to Murano

Murano glassblowing demonstration5-p1030947

ABOVE AND BELOW: Photos from one of our own visits to a Murano glass factory.

If you're near the Piazza San Marco in Venice, there's a good chance that you'll be approached by someone who's offering a free boat ride to a glass factory on the island of Murano . Such trips are paid for by glass merchants who are trolling for prospective customers. We haven't taken any free boat rides to Murano ourselves (we prefer to use public transportation and avoid sales pitches), but plenty of visitors do. Here's a report from a British reader who accepted a "concessionary trip" and lived to tell the tale:

"I have just returned from a 5-day trip to Venice which was very much enhanced by your excellent website.  It shows how just a little research (well... several hours actually) before travelling enabled us to 'hit the ground running.'  The vaporetto service is possibly the best way to see Venice since it allows you to hop on and off as you wish.
 
"One piece of information you may already have knowledge of, is about a  'concessionary trip' we had to the Murano glass factory.  We were in San Marco and heard a man offering free trips to Murano.  Intrigued and sceptical, we asked about how this free trip worked.  In the event we were taken to a water taxi near the San Marco Vaporetto stop. Before the taxi left San Marco we asked the taxi driver if this was really free of charge and if so how?  He explained that the factory pay to get you there but you have to make your own way back, which may be by water taxi or by public transport.

"We were whisked off via several canals, to Murano where we were met at the factory water taxi entrance by a friendly Venetian gentleman who walked us through the factory and waited while we watched a glass-blowing demonstration (where the guy produced a  'Ferrari' prancing horse from a glob of molten glass) and then taken by another man to the shop next door.  He then took us to a roped off private viewing area. He was clearly expecting us to make a purchase (we didn't by the way - I'm a half Scottish Yorkshireman) but there was no particular hard sell.  After about a 20 minute tour and having viewed some truly beautiful contemporary and historical Morano glass-art, we left the building and went for an enjoyable walk around Murano with lunch by the canal.
 
"Clearly Murano glass rely on getting some sales and the taxi firm rely on some tourists not knowing about the public transport alternative.  With the knowledge gained from your site, it was simple enough to get a 24h Vaporetto ticket (which we used to maximum effect over the next 24 hours!).  So you really can get something for nothing - sometimes.  You just need to ask the right questions at the start."

  - Chris A., United Kingdom 

Tip: For more information on Venetian glass and glassmaking, see our Venice for Visitors article titled "Murano: The Glass Island."

Murano fornace


Birthday frittelle, Venetian style

Frittelle alla crema

ABOVE: Frittelle alla crema on a nautical-themed plate. INSET BELOW: Up close and personal with our daughter's Venetian-style pastries.

by Durant Imboden

A few days ago, our daughter, Cedar Imboden Phillips, cooked me a birthday surprise: a platter of  frittelle, the pastries that Venetians enjoy during Venice Carnival. She made the cream-filled version, with frying assistance from her sister-in-law, Erin Phillips Lauinger, and a Frittelle alla crema recipe from Cookinvenice.com. (Cook in Venice is owned by two women on the Venetian mainland who offer cooking classes as well as a "Food and Ghost Tour" in Venice.)

The frittelle were delightful, and our daughter offered a practical tip: When making frittelle alla crema, pipe the filling into the pastries immediately before eating. This way, if you aren't planning to devour the entire batch in one sitting, you can store the pastry cream in the refrigerator while keeping the unfilled frittelle at room temperature to minimize sogginess.

Note: Frittelle recipes vary quite a bit. Many pastry cooks dust frittelle with confectioners' sugar, others use granulated sugar, and some leave the pastries unadorned. Frittelle fanciers have also been known to debate ferociously about whether pine nuts should be used in filled frittelle (as opposed to frittelle veneziane, which are solid). As for me, I'll take frittelle however and whenever I can get them--even in the hot month of July.

Venetian frittelle