Italy with Gate1 Travel – Trieste
Our 15 day tour with Gate1 Travel finished in Italy. The Italy visited started with a bus ride from Bled in Slovenia to Trieste in Italy. Our time in Trieste was quite short. We started from the Piazza Unità d’Italia, which includes Pitteri Palace and the Governor’s Palace. Next we walked through the classic architecture of the pedestrian only streets past the Piazza della Borsa and the roman amphitheater to the very small Grand Canal of Trieste. At the Grand Canal we were drawn to the intricate exterior of the Saint Spyridon Church. Then it was time to head to Miramare Caste.
Italy with Gate1 Travel – Miramare Castle
The ride from the Trieste Main Square to Miramare Castle took only a few minutes. The castle looks back toward Trieste from a small point of land on the Gulf of Trieste. You could see the Dolomites in the distance. Miramare Castle was home to the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian. The rooms are filled with ornate furniture, art and knick knacks from around the world. The gardens are extensive, but not professionally maintained. After the Miramare Castle visit, we continued on to Venice.
Italy with Gate1 Travel – Venice Bauer Palladio
Our bus ride ended at the main bus terminal on the island of Venice. Our group then took a chartered water taxi through the Giudecca Canal to the Bauer Palladio Hotel on the island of Giudecca. The Bauer Palladio Hotel was recently developed in the buildings adjoining the Church of St Mary. The Bauer Palladio was a great choice. Few tourists visit Giudecca. The views and the small restaurants face St Mark’s across the Giudecca Canal. A free hotel shuttle delivers you to St Mark’s Square when you are ready to join the tourist crowds.
Venice – Grand Canal Tour
After a pleasant dinner beside the Giudecca Canal, the water taxis arrived for our Grand Canal Tour. Each boat held about 6 members of our tour group. The water taxis are called vaporettos. The ceiling in these boats are so low that your head almost hits the roof top when you are sitting. We crossed Giudecca Canal to the entrance of the Grand Canal. Then our driver had us slide the roof tops so that we all could stand in the open to enjoy the view.
The Grand Canal Tour experience was amazing. We followed the Grand Canal all the way under the Rialto Bridge and up to the main train station. Along the way were amazing views of apartments, hotels, casinos, museums and churches all hugging the edge of the Grand Canal. After the main train station, the vaporetto water taxi entered very narrow canals that felt a lot like Amsterdam. Eventually we exited the narrow canals on to the Giudecca Canal where we returned to the Bauer Palladio. Don’t miss out on the chance to do a Grand Canal Tour of Venice!
Venice – Murano Island Glass Factory
The next morning a water taxi took all 40 members of our Gate 1 Travel Group from the Bauer Palladio Hotel to Murano Island. On Murano Island, we visited one of the famous Murano Glass factories. A glass blower created a beautiful piece right before our eyes. In the display room, my good friend surprised everyone, including his wife, by purchasing an expensive decanter and wine glasses. Murano Glass is always shipped to your home by the factory. After the pleasant tour, we had a short amount of time to wander the canals on the island of Murano
Italy with Gate1 Travel – Venice on our Own
After the Murano Glass experience, the water taxi took us to St Mark’s Square. Our Gate1 Travel tour included St Mark’s and the Doge’s Palace, but we’d seen these before, so we left the organized tour to wander Venice on our own. A preloaded map on a cell phone is all you need to wander Venice without getting lost and without paying data fees to a cell phone company.
Venice Walking Tour Route
We wandered the alleyways to the Rialto Bridge where we watched the bustle of morning deliveries and commuters. Then we crossed the Rialto Bridge to the fish and vegetable markets. I noticed a traghetto gondola that was being used to ferry locals across the Grand Canal, so I planed to try it too on the way back. After that we worked our way over small bridges and extremely narrow alleys until we reached the St Stae Church. Next we worked our way to the Church of St James and over the Ponte degli Scalzi Bridge to the train station.
Venice – Traghetto for Locals
From there I thought there would be less tourists if we returned along the Grand Canal on the opposite bank. Unfortunately all the tourists seem to walk with their luggage from the train station to hotels on this side. I kept my eye open for the traghetto for locals. Eventually I found the traghetto at the Santa Sofia water transit stop on the Grand Canal. For 3 euros we then stood in the gondola and crossed the Grand Canal with the locals. It’s a wonderful way to experience a gondola ride at about 4% of the price of a private gondola ride.
Gate1 Travel – Farewell Dinner
That evening our time with Gate1 Travel came to an end at a local restaurant on Via Giuseppe Garibaldi. The Italian singer was magnificent and when our waitress sang it was even more amazing. Our group danced and sang along at the farewell dinner too.
Venice to the Airport by Boat with Alilaguna
In the morning we left the Gate1 Travel tour. We became a group of 4 as we took the Alilaguna passenger boat from near our hotel all the way to the Marco Polo International Airport. We had to use cash at the small convenience store near the dock to purchase our airport transfer tickets. The ride took almost an hour. What a unique experience to have your boat pull up directly into a docking bay at the airport. The four of us caught a flight to Prague to continue our European vacation on our own.
Want to see more pics of Venice? Check out Take That Vacation – Venice.