18 December 2009

Travel disruption... and Italy Heaven on Twitter

The BA strike is now off (for the moment anyway) but the weather has stepped in to disrupt travel.

I'm stuck in Venice for another 24 hours after my Easyjet flight to Gatwick was cancelled due to snow (the outbound flight didn't take off). So hoping the weather is better tomorrow.

Anyone else stranded by Easyjet cancellations: you can rebook on their website by clicking 'Manage bookings'. The Easyjet 'travel disruption' links and lists of cancelled flights weren't updated or working well - the first confirmation of flight cancellation came via the Venice airport website, the second on the Gatwick website, with still no Easyjet announcement. However, in the 'manage bookings' section of www.easyjet.com my flight was already displayed as 'disrupted' and it was actually very quick and easy to change my flight (and free).

There'll be high water in Venice tomorrow morning so I'll be off to the airport early to avoid the need to drag my suitcase through floods.

The sun's shining in cold Venice, so I'll make the most of another day here.

New from Italy Heaven: trialling the use of Twitter: http://twitter.com/italyheaven - do 'follow' if you're interested in updates on Italy, new additions to the Italy Heaven website, or random reports from Venice and my travels around Italy.

8 December 2009

Christmas shopping in Venice

If you are visiting Venice in December and are looking for Christmas presents, here are some shops where you can find good gifts and stocking-fillers.

  • The Guggenheim shop (on the canalside outside the gallery) has a good range of art gifts, cool novelty items and books. I liked the souvenir Venice mugs (more stylish than you'll find in a tourist shop), a black-cat-shaped neck pillow, and groovy accessories.
  • Signor Blum - stocks brightly-coloured wooden building-block models of Venice landmarks, magnets, mobiles and other gifts for children. (in Campo San Barnaba, vaporetto stop Ca' Rezzonico).
  • Viziovirtù - good for posh chocolates; and they have a chocolate nativity scene in their window (vaporetto stop San Tomà)
  • Murano glass - on the island of Murano you can purchase some of the costly glasssware produced on the island - if you're confident about packing fragile items, a set of elegant wine glasses would make a very special present. Not all local glass products are bulky: a few years ago I bought glass beads on Murano and made necklaces for my friends.
  • 18th-20th December - a small antiques and handicrafts market in Campo San Maurizio, good for unusual or one-off gifts.
  • Gondolier calendar - available from news-stands and tourist stalls, this photographic collection of Venetian gondoliers could make a good present for a female friend.
  • Caffe Florian is Venice's most famous cafe, and -at a price - you can take a piece of it home for friends and relatives. Inside the entrance is a desk where you can buy coffees, teas, chocolates and china.

Sadly, the Christmas markets and events organised in previous years are not taking place in 2009. However, the shops above make a good starting point for Christmas presents. If you run out of space in your suitcase or forget anyone, both Venice airports (Marco Polo and Treviso) have shops selling souvenirs and a good choice of food gifts like wine, chocolates from Caffe Florian and olive oils.