Why Visit Chioggia?:
Chioggia, sometimes called Little Venice, is a fishing port on the Venetian lagoon. At the heart of the historic center is a wide pedestrian street lined with shops and bars that's the scene of a lively evening passeggiata (passeggiata definition). The Sottomarina area, 2 km from the port, has good sand beaches.
In summer, Chioggia makes a good base for exploring Venice. Its hotels, restaurants, and bars are generally less costly than those in Venice. It can also be visited as a day trip from Venice.
Chioggia is on a small island in the southern part of the Lagoon of Venice. It's in the Veneto region on Italy's east coast, about 25 km south of Venice (50 km by road). The Laguna del Lusenzo seperates the town of Chioggia from the Sottomarina beaches on the Adriatic sea.
Travel to Chioggia:
Chioggia is on a small rail line from Rovigo, between Padova and Ferrara. The train station is a little out of town. During summer, there are several buses a day from Venice's airport to the Sottomarina beach hotels. Buses run to Chioggia from Padua and Venice.
Chioggia to Venice Transportation:
There's a summer tourist boat that runs between Chioggia and St. Mark's Square in Venice, from early June until late September. The rest of the year, it's possible to make the trip by taking a vaporetto to Pellestrina, then transfering to a bus, and finally catching the number 1 vaporetto at Lido to get to St. Mark's Square. Having done this, I wouldn't recommend it. It took nearly two hours each way and much of the time we were standing.
Other options are a bus from Chioggia to Piazzale Roma in Venice or the train, changing in Rovigo and taking over two hours.
Where to Stay in Chioggia:
We stayed at the Grande Hotel Italia (book direct), in an ideal location right by the port and Piazzetta Vigo. Caldin's Hotel (book direct) is a 1-star hotel in the historic center. Most hotels are found in the Sottomarina beach area. Find more Chioggia hotels on Venere with guest reviews and ratings.
What to See and Do in Chioggia:
- Corso del Popolo, the wide main street through the heart of the historic center, is a good place for strolling, shopping, or enjoying a drink at an outdoor table (here there's not a big price increase for sitting outside).
- Piazzetta Vigo and Bridge Piazzetta Vigo is at the end of Corso del Popolo by the port. Here you'll find a bar, ice cream, hotel, souvenir shops, and sometimes entertainment. From the square a picturesque white marble bridge crosses the Vena Canal to the Church of San Domenico. Just around the corner to the left of the piazza is the port where the vaporetto (boat bus) and tourist boat docks.
- Fish Market - Chioggia has a great fresh fish market on weekday mornings. (See fish market pictures on Wanderer's Eye Travel Photography) Many restaurants serve fantastic seafood meals for less than you'd pay in Venice.
- Clock Tower and clock musuem, on Corso del Popolo, can be visited on Sundays and holidays.
- The Duomo, or cathedral is at the opposite end of Corso del Popolo from the port. It became a cathedral in 1110 but was rebuilt in 1623. The cathedral has a marble pulpit with gold canopy and a decorated 17th century altar. There's a nice 19th century stained glass window. Next to the duomo is a 14th century bell tower.
- The Sacred Art Museum is near the duomo. It contains items from the churches and religous paintings but has limited hours.
- The Museum of the South Lagoon is in a building that was once a monastary. It houses artifacts and pictures relating to the south lagoon including models of boats, agricultural equipment, and some paintings. There's an old stone town gate near the museum.
- Sottomarina is lined with fine sand beaches and there's a walking street that runs along the sea. The town is modern and has several hotels.