Mestre earns its reputation as a tourist destination from its vicinity to Venice, the city that everyone wants to see. Though many visitors will only see the train station that sends many fast and cheap trains over the causeway to the legendary islands and canals, there are some things worth staying on the mainland for, and with a neighbour like that, cheaper, hassle-free accommodation is a huge bonus.

Mestre’s own attractive main square is built around a historic clock tower, a great place from which to catch a unique view of Venice over the water. In Piazza Ferretto – another major square, and a good place to flex your credit card - Duomo di San Lorenzo Martire is a beautiful historic church straight from the Roman Empire.

If Venice’s restaurants and bars are occasionally notorious for being over-priced and crowded, it’s possible to eat decently and authentically in Mestre without taking out an extra mortgage. From cutting edge cuisine in the likes of Moro, to locals’ favourite Caffe Concerto, and classic Italian pizza in Grigoris, there’s plenty of choice outside your Mestre hotel.

While Mestre’s beauty and allure are astounding, neighbouring Venice still has the power to take the breath away and awaken the romantic in the most cynical tourist.

The beauty of Venetian architecture truly matches up to the expectations of millions of photos you will have seen. The Palazzo Ducale (The Doge’s Palace – now a favourite with Assassin’s Creed fans), the Basilica di San Marco, The Grand Canal, will all be ticked off your once-in-a-lifetime list.

The art treasures on display in the city’s museums and wonderful churches are hard to beat anywhere on earth. The Galleria dell’Accademia is the top of the tree, packed with masterpieces all by local artists, including the great names of the city’s Renaissance golden age like Tintoretto and Titian, and Canaletto’s extraordinary 18th-century city scenes. The city keeps its artistic spirit alive with the Biennale contemporary art festival and an excellent modern art showcase, the Punta della Dogana.

Away from the real tourist hotspots, it is possible to escape the crowds and find delicious, good-value food and drink from one of Italy’s most interesting regional cuisines. Don’t be put off by the thought of crowds or costs, Venice is definitely worth a little sacrifice, and Mestre is a fine way to get a foothold in the water-borne city.


Hopping on from Mestre

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