"Much more than expected!" Top 5 Page for this destination Mestre by leics
Mestre Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 148 photos
I'd been to Venice before, so when my friend the farmer's wife decided that was where we would go in 2012 I was happy enough (she travels with me once a year, and she decides...it has to be somewhere I've already visited).
But Venice is by no means a cheap destination and, to be honest, neither of us enjoy paying over the odds for food, drink and accommodation. Nor do we enjoy places which are overly tourist-focused. So Mestre seemed a much better choice, especially as both of us wanted to visit other places by train.
I'd suggested Mestre simply as a cheaper base. I had no idea what an interesting place it would turn out to be, nor how much we would enjoy exploring it.
Mestre is a vast urban centre now, of course, with 50000+ residents (very few people live in Venice itself nowadays) and has a huge amount of surrounding industry. But I simply hadn't realised (I hadn't thought about it, to be honest) that *of course* it would have existed for centuries..it's the obvious crossing-point to Venice and would have grown up as a settlement for that reason alone.
So when we started our first evening wander in search of food, we were astonished. We walked up Via Piave and turned right (guessing that was where the centre was, from the lights and the shops and the buses) ...and discovered tiny squares linked by narrow streets, fountains and sculptures, ancient houses and...eventually...the absolutely enormous Piazza Ferretto with its bars and ristorante, its tables and chairs outside, its designer shops (not that we were interested in those) and its general 'busy-ness' (even on a chilly Monday evening).
And it was on that walk that I first began to notice the bits of Medieval architecture which told me that Mestre was much more than simply a vast urban conurbation. The Torre d'Orologio (now the clock tower, but originally just a watchtower) dates from the 1100s and there are other buildings dotted about the historical centre which give away its roots.
There was a Roman fortress here, and by the 1100s there is written evidence that there was a castle, a church and a port. Mestre was conquered by the Scaliger family from Verona in 1323 but their reign did not last long...the Venetians were back in control by 1337 and kept that control until 1797, when Mestre became its own ruler (more or less).
I'm certain there is much more to explore in Mestre than we managed in our three short evening walks (and my very early morning explorations). If I visit again I think I'll devote at least half a day to exploring its historical centre properly...at least I'll be able to take decent photos if I explore in proper daylight! :-)
- Pros:Cheaper than Venice and very convenient
- Cons:None that I came across
- In a nutshell:Not Venice but an excellent base for explorations
There are loads and loads of trains from Venice Mestre station to Venice Santa Lucia station across the... more travel advice
Although Mestre was bombed in the Second World War, and although its size has increased hugely in recent decades, it... more travel advice
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