Venice DIY Trip Planning

Photo of Venice by: Ryan Darvish Venice, Italy

Planning your time: Rick Steve's has a great itinerary that flows well from place to place and shows you how much you can realistically cram into one or two days. We started here, then deleted what we weren't interested in and added a few other things based on web research. It gives you a good idea of how long to spend at certain attractions. We'll be taking his 2008 Italy guidebook with us for reference. The museum tours and walks are the best feature of his guidebooks.

Finding a hotel: What do other people think? Trip Adviser's website gets a bad rap. You of course have to be careful to choose a hotel that has a lot of really positive and recent reviews. You don't want one that has one 5 star review or one that has a ton of 5 star reviews, but recently went downhill, but still has a good average. Actually read the reviews, a lot of Americans complain about a hotel based on the size of the rooms when in reality it could be a lovely hotel that is typically European in size. I find the user photos to be particularly useful. Hotels are great about having photos on their websites which make the rooms feel larger or nicer. Seeing an actual room gives taken with somebody's 2 mega-pixel camera gives me a better idea. I take many reviews with a grain of salt, they could be competitors posting bad comments or the hotel itself self promoting with fake reviews. If a hotel interests me on Trip Advisor I look into it at least two other ways as well. For peer reviewed hotel suggestions I also look into what travel bloggers on Travel Pod have to say. It's hard to find somebody who has stayed at each place I'm interested in so this was less useful. If you're looking for lonely out of the way backpacker budget selections this is a great starting place.

I like Venere for their maps, which make it easy to find hotels by which part of Venice you want to stay in. I still book through Expedia to get my Thank You points and they are usually cheaper.
People who review hotels for a living can usually be trusted to give decent advice or word gets around and they don't sell guidebooks/newspapers/ads. I looked into NY Times, Rick Steve's Venice hotels (from his 2008 guidebook), National Geographic and Fodors.

Getting around: Guide to getting around from Lonely Planet
http://www.elmoro.com/: Practical information on how to get to Venice and move around the city.
http://www.alilaguna.com/: Waterbus (vaporetto) info between airport and Venice. www.actv.it/eng/home.php: Waterbus (vaporetto) routes throughout Venice.
Guidebook: We chose the 2008 Italy Rick Steve's for its walks and museum guides. It best meets our travel style. We like to have a general idea of what we want to do and walk most places.

The Rough Guide to Italy: Didn't have much more to offer than Rick Steves. We liked the good maps for all regions of Italy.

The Green Michelin Guide: This is useful for museums because they have very detailed descriptions of the art, but it didn't meet our needs in Italy.

Lonely Planet Venice

Other good info:

http://www.invenicetoday.com/: Events in Venice today.

savevenice.org: Venice restoration projects that are ongoing.

Venice Carnival Everything that you need to know about the Carnival...

Authentic Gondolas Learn about Gondolas and their history at the International Center for Wooden Boat Building

Wikitravel Venice

Main Attraction Websites: useful for finding up-to-date opening times, prices, and other info that might be out of date in whatever guidebook you're using. I'll add more as I find them.

Basilica dei Frari
Basilica di San Marco (39 041 2708311)
Collezione Peggy Guggenheim (39 041 2405411)
Palazzo Pisani
School of St Roch (Scuola di San Rocco)