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Monday, 19 May 2014

Italy Part 1: The Venice Experience (Venezia)

I traveled to Italy last year (2013), visiting Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome, and Trieste over the course of two weeks with my bestie, Bhavani. Overall, Florence (Firenze) was my favourite for this entire trip. Originally, the trip was meant as a sort of a “working trip” as I was invited by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste to attend the 1st International Workshop on “Low-cost 3D Printing for Science, Education and Sustainable Development”. 

For this trip, myself and Bhavani took Malaysia Airlines from Penang - Kuala Lumpur and Turkish Airlines Inc. from Kuala Lumpur - Instanbul (Ataturk) - Venice (Marco Polo). We both did extensive research before our trip, and here’s what we did for our entire 15-days journey (27 April - 11 May 2013) in Italy (Italia):   
<Venice (Venezia) - Florence (Firenze) - PISA - Rome (Roma) - Florence (Firenze) - Trieste - Venice (Venezia)>

27 Apr:
PENANG / KUALA LUMPUR Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
KUALA LUMPUR / INSTANBUL - Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to  Ataturk Airport, Instanbul via Turkish Airlines Inc. 

28 Apr
INSTANBUL / VENICE (VENEZIA) - Ataturk Airport, Instanbul to Marco Polo Airport, Venice via Turkish Airlines Inc. Upon arrival at the Marco Polo Airport, we took the ACTV bus (Linea 5 Aerobus) to Piazzale Roma (approx 20-30minutes) – Check-in Hotel Minerva & Nettuno, Venice 

29 Apr
VENICE (VENEZIA) – Piazza San Marco / St Mark Square - St Mark Basilica - Doge’s Palace Palazzo Ducale) - Museo Correr - Museo Archeologico  - Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana  - Gondola Ride at Canal Grande - Ponte di Rialto

30 Apr
VENICE (VENEZIA) / FLORENCE (FIRENZE) -  Depart from  Venezia S. Lucia (Venice) to Firenze  S.M. Novella (Florence) - Galleria dell' Accademia -  Monuments of Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Dome of Brunelleschi -  Baptistery of San Giovanni ) - Museo dell’ Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore -  Giotto’s Bell Tower  -  Archaeological site of the crypt of Santa Reparata - Cathedral of  S. Maria del Fiore - Basilica of San Lorenzo - Gallerie degli Uffizi - Piazza della Liberta

1 May:
FLORENCE (FIRENZE) - Firenze Central Market (Mercato) Basilica of Santa Croce - Piazza della Signoria & Palazzo Vecchio/ Neptune Fountain/ Loggia dei Lanzi - Ponte Vecchio (Old Bridge) - Piazzale Michelangelo & San Miniato al Monte Church -  San Lorenzo’s Market

2 May:
PISA - Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) to Pisa Centrale - The Piazza del Duomo or Campo dei Miracoli - The Leaning Tower (La Torre di Pisa)  - Cathedral of Pisa (Duomo di Pisa) - The Baptistery of St. John - Depart from PISA to Florence

3 May:
ROME (ROMA) - Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) to Rome Termini Central Station - The Colosseum + Roman Forum (at (Piazza Santa Maria Nova 53) + Palatine Hill (at Via San Gregorio No. 30) - Roman Forum - Palentine Hill - Arch of Constantine - Temple of Venus & Roma - Trevi Fountain at Trevi Square (Piazza di Trevi) - Piazza Navona - Pantheon @ Piazza della Rotonda - Piazza Navona - Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II – Depart from Rome to Florence

4 May:
FLORENCE (FIRENZE) / TRIESTE - Walk around Florence town – Depart from Firenze S. M. Novella (Florence) - Trieste Centrale (approx 4.45 hr by train)

5 May:
TRIESTE - Piazza Unità d'Italia (Town Hall) - Municipio di Trieste - Saint Anthon and the Canal Grande + James Joyce Statue - The Old Roman Theater - San Silvestro - Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore - Via del Trionfo to see Arch of Riccardo – The Roman Gateway (33 BC) - Miramare Castle/ Castello di Miramare

6 May:
TRIESTE - FREE & EASY - Stock Exchange Square - Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - San Giusto Castle/ Church -  Serbian Orthodox Church  -  Piazza Unità d'Italia

7 May:
TRIESTEFREE & EASY - Grotta Gigante - Museo Revoltella -  Civico Museo di Storia e Arte e Orto Lapidario

8 May:
TRIESTE - FREE & EASY - Tour around Piazza Unità d'Italia (Town Hall)

9 May:
TRIESTE / VENICE –Check-out from Hotel Tritone, Trieste – Depart from Trieste Centrale – St. Lucia (Venice) – Murano Glass Making – Explore Venice by Water BusCheck-in San Geremia Rooms, Venice

10 May:
VENICE / INSTABUL / KUALA LUMPUR -  FREE & EASY - Depart from Venice (Marco Polo Airport) – Instanbul  (Ataturk Airport) and Instanbul  (Ataturk Airport) – Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) via Turkish Airlines Inc.

11 May:
KUALA LUMPUR / PENANG - Depart from Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) – Penang via Malaysia Airlines (MH)

Ciao! We started exploring our 2-weeks trip from Venice, one of Europe's most romantic cities. We arrived Venice (Marco Polo Airport) on 28 April 2013 and the weather was absolutely perfect - neither cold nor hot! From there, we took the ACTV bus (Linea 5 Aerobus) to Piazzale Roma, the car terminal of the city (approx 20-30minutes). Upon arrival, we checked-in Hotel Minerva & Nettuno conveniently located near Santa Lucia main train station (approx. 5-10minutes walk) and right before Square Santi Geremia e Lucia which we booked earlier via the hostel booking website. We both were exhausted, and took a short nap for a couple of hours due to the effects of jet lag. We started exploring Venice late afternoon after our nap, hangin’ around San Geremia Square and the back street followed by sunset viewing at Rialto Bridge. 
The beauty of Venice 

Beautiful Venice architecture along the side street of Lista di Spagna
It's selling everywhere in Venice
Best view of Venice from Rialto Bridge
It's difficult not to snap a photo in Venice!
The Gondola traffic jam
To Gondola or Not to Gondola?
"One of Europe's most romantic cities" - New York Times Online
A city with water 
We walked almost everywhere, busy capturing every little detail in the lens of our cameras with no destination or map, as you’ll get lost even with your map. The only form of transport in Venice is either on water or by foot. The buildings are beautifully painted and well-decorated with flowery balconies. The influence of Venice on the development of architecture and arts is definitely undeniable. Most of the time, you’ll see a lot of people in the main squares and around the famous sites, like St. Marks Square and the Rialto Bridge.  There are no supermarkets there, so we went to Coop and Billa Convenience Store to buy our daily essentials. 
The Rialto Bridge always packed with tourist
The gondola ride
Is Venice most romantic place on earth?
The gondola rides are quite expensive (which we paid Euro 80 per gondola for a 30-40minutes ride through quiet back canals, and across the Grand Canal)  but as a tourist you kind of have to do it for once in a life time experience, after all its still a gondola ride and we had fun J. Yes, we enjoyed walking around St. Mark Square and watching people feeding the pigeons. The water “bus” system was easy and fun to use, letting us get from anywhere to almost anywhere else in Venice in the most economical way. On our last day in Venice, we managed to take the water bus to Murano, a place famous for blown glass and it was just 15 minutes boat ride away from Venice.
One for the album: No reason not to take a photo in Venice
The beautiful landmark of Venice : Bell Tower that stands 324 feet tall
The bell tower in Piazza San Marco
St. Mark Square, the meeting place and center of Venezia for tourists 
Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale) in classic Venetian version of Gothic
This reflects a remarkable tranquillity of Venice in history and style
One for the album! :)
Symbol of Venice - Bridge of Sighs.  The infamous Latin lover Casanova walked the bridge in 1755
The breathtaking architecture
This is where you'll feel the magic of Venice

 St. Mark's Square is always full of pigeons

The big square located in front of our hotel -  Campo San Geremia 
Houses in Murano, where you see locals living everyday life
Overall, the trip was an absolute blast! And yes, I must admit that I’m lucky! Lucky enough to witness the beauty of Venice, the REAL VENICE!  I hope one day I can return and travel in style with Camel, staying in hotels, taking gorgeous photos and eating in restaurants along the Grand Canal again. I’ll be back, Venezia! 

Thank you so much Bhavani for inspiring me, I am so glad we did!
Our first Gelato. Taste as good as it is
Venice - Pizzas, Pizzas Everywhere!
Air Itinerary Details: 
Penang - Kuala Lumpur  (via Malaysia Airlines MH) and  Kuala Lumpur - Instanbul (Ataturk) - Venice (Marco Polo) via Turkish Airlines Inc.  / Venice (Marco Polo) – Instanbul (Ataturk) - Kuala Lumpur via Turkish Airlines Inc.  - Kuala Lumpur – Penang (via Malaysia Airlines MH)  

Local Transportation:  
Marco Polo Airport (Venezia) - Piazzale Roma via ACTV Aerobus  
Fare Type:  9,00 Euro/pax (for 2 way)  

Venice (Venezia) - Hotel Minerva & Nettuno (€60,00 + city tax 2,00€/person/ night) 
Florence (Firenze) - Hotel Stella Mary (€81,50 + city tax 2,00€/person/ night) 
PISA – N/A (1- day-trip from Florence)
Rome (Roma) – N/A (1- day-trip from Florence)
Trieste - ICTP Galileo Guesthouse and Hotel Tritone (46,00€/ night)
Venice (Venezia) - San Geremia Rooms (80,00€ + city tax 2,00€/person/ night) 

Entrance Tickets:
- Bell Tower - Euro 8.0/pax 
- Venezia Grand Canal Gondola Ride  - Euro 80/ gondola  
- St Mark Basilica - Euro1.5 /pax

Read more about our travel experiences @ Italy (Italia): 
Italy Part 2: Land of Leonardo Da Vinci (Florence)
Italy Part 3: More than just a Leaning Tower (Pisa) 
Italy Part 4: Rome wasn't built in a day! (Roma)
Italy Part 5: Unlike any other Italian cities! (Trieste)
"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step"

Welcome to Small World! This blog allows me to share my travel experiences with others in a straightforward and far-reaching way. I often made great use of other peoples travel blogs and websites every time I plan for my travel trips as they often contained most updated information and invaluable resources from their past travel experiences. I really hope that you will find every piece of information contained within my blog 
handy and useful for your upcoming trip. Thank you very much for reading my post(s) and feel free to leave a comment/testimonial.  The writer is a passionate traveler who enjoys speaking to young keen travelers about the freedom to get cultured and to taste the fullness of life. Feel free to contact the writer if you need any travel guidance or tips or if you have any burning questions with regards to your upcoming trip/ journey 
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