A great pleasure to be back in Venice again – a few days either side of another cruise trip. On previous stays we’ve stumbled across the Carnival and been priced out of our favorite hotel, probably due to the Clooney wedding. This time we stumbled across the Venice Regatta and were almost priced out of our favorite hotel both due to the Regatta and the Film Festival (but we gritted our teeth and paid up).

The hotel is the Hilton Molino Stucky in a prominent position on Giudecca with a rooftop pool and a marvellous view of the main island and St Marks. The hotel operates a boat service across to Zatterre and St Mark’s square on a fairly regular basis – from early to late. It used to be free but they now make a charge of €6 per person per stay, not bad in the big scheme of things.

We didn’t find out about the Regatta until we checked in for our post-cruise stay when Reception told us that their boat service would only run to Zatterre on the Sunday as St Mark’s is the ‘start line’ for the Regatta.

Checking on-line we found that the Regatta started at 4.00 so we set off to Zatterre at 3.00 with a view to finding a good spot opposite the start line outside Punta Della Dogana. With a bit of time in hand we stumbled across a free art exhibition – easily done as there were several taking place, as our ‘fine art student’ waitress had advised us at the excellent All’Amarone restaurant the previous week.

The exhibition was by Robert Wilson, sponsored by Illy – so included lots of coffee cups. And a Panther too.

So, on to the start line. Fortunately not too busy and the area we found was, thankfully, in the shade. Ahead of the races, the event starts with an historical parade of traditional boats manned by people in period costume – reminiscent of the carnival.

With parade completed, we made our way down to the Accademia bridge, through an area of Venice we had not wandered through before. We followed the Grand Canal for the first part – strange experience to see the Grand Canal empty on such a beautiful day. Also, without the usual water buses, I realised just how few bridges there are over the Grand Canal – just 4, I think, and all a long way apart.

After crossing at the Accademia bridge we made our way (eventually) to the Venice Theatre – definitely one for our next trip to the city – followed by a short, more direct, walk back to our hotel shuttle from Zatterre back to Giudecca.

Can’t wait to go back and see what we stumble on in our next visit – but will try hard not to be priced out of our favorite hotel (even though it boosted the loyalty points enough for a UK trip when we got home!)

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