Lido

View of Lido's Piazzale S.M. Elisabetta

If you are staying in Venice and wish to avoid the more touristy and expensive areas, along with the accompanying noise, Lido is an under-appreciated gem. Trendier and more residential than traditional Venice, it still offers small canals, a variety of dining and impressive views of the city from across the Lagoon. At times it feels reminiscent of Palm Beach, Florida, with its upscale homes, historic architecture and its easy, island feel.

Around 5PM the atmosphere is decidedly local as professionally dressed Lido residents funnel back home from work across the lagoon. Many of the local bars and eateries have that "where everybody knows your name" family feel, lending an insider's view to life on Lido. Residents embrace, chat enthusiastically and watch each other's children.

Lido is the beach of Venice. This island shelters the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, and is famous for its Movie Festival which is held every year between the end of August and the first week of September. In 1920 it was the most important beach in Italy, due to its aristocratic atmosphere (still present today). Here Thomas Mann wrote A Death in Venice and it was shot in Visconti's 1972 movie (inspired by the book). Some of the scenes of The English Patient were shot here as well (inside The Hotel Des Bains, one of the most important buildings, erected in Liberty Style). A scene from Casino Royale (Daniel Craig, 2006) was shot here as well. The British travel writer Robin Saikia's book, The Venice Lido, gives a lively overview of the Lido's literary and social history from ancient times to the present day.

Get in

View of Venice from the Island of Lido

After arriving in Venice via the Aeroporto Marco Polo, find the Alilaguna waterbus station , a short walk after exiting the airport and turning left. Follow the signs. The boat will take you over to Lido with just a few stops, but does take at least 30 minutes to navigate the airport channels.

View of Lido from the lagoon in May of 2008

If already in Venice, take an ACTV waterbus/vaporetto , which takes about 10 minutes. Venice travel cards are valid to/from Venice, but not to/from the airport as it is run by a different company. If staying on Lido a travel card is worth the investment. Avoid "rush hour" times of day such as early morning and late afternoon when many residents and children are crowding the platform. Also, be careful to avoid local vaporetto's which are designated "for residents only."

Get around

There are three main bus lines(A,B,C) and a night bus(N). On Openstreetmap all bus stops are visible. But they are not shown in the actv timetables. Busline A goes towards south. Busline B towards north. Always coming from SME. So if you are there the first time its the best to ask the bus driver where to leave and give him the hotel name.

See

Attend the annual film festival , the oldest of its kind. Make your reservations early as the island is small and hotels fill up. Many celebrities attend this annual event, so have your camera ready.

Do

Buy

Murano glassware, jewelry and art seem to be the items of choice throughout Venice, along with the famous Venetian masks. Lots of beachware is available on Lido, so don't worry if you've forgotten your flip flops. Of course, souvenir/T-shirt shops can also be found here and there.

Eat

Gelatos from numerous vendors - try to find the infamous Maxi-Coni in the evenings.

Trattoria Andri, Via Lepanto 21, Seafood Serves local Venetian seafood delicacies such as squid in ink over polenta (not as bad as it sounds), shrimp scampi and octopus, among other more common dishes. Water is served in Murano glass vases. Inside, pictures of celebrities who've eaten here line the walls, such as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. Dine on the terrace, nice ambiance. Locals seem to prefer this place.

Drink

The Bellini is a mixture of Prosecco (local sparkling wine) and peach juice. Sweet and refreshing. Created at Harry's Bar across the lagoon but popular all over Venice, including Lido.

Sleep

Go next

Around the Venetian lagoon are other smaller islands, which have since been deserted but are worth a visit.

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