1. Pre-departure

QuickVenice: Pets

QuickVenice: Pets

In late January, we launched a new travel-planning site called QuickVenice.com. The new site is built around the theme of "All the basics for shorter trips," and it has a mobile-friendly responsive layout for quick loading and optimum display on computers, tablets, and smartphones.

In the "Tips & warnings" section, QuickVenice has a page about pet travel in Venice. The page, which talks mostly about dogs, covers such topics as hotels, restaurants and bars, shopping, and what you need to know before taking your pet on public water buses, Alilaguna airport boats, and water taxis.

To read the page, go to QuickVenice: Pets.

Schiphol Airport's 150-euro "pet tax"

Bearded Collie in snow

ABOVE: Maggie would rather risk a blizzard in Paris than pay 150 euros to change planes in Amsterdam.

Maggie is heading back to Venice later in the week, with a change of planes at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

When we fly without her, we normally take a transatlantic flight to Amsterdam, then catch a KLM Cityhopper flight from Schiphol Airport to Venice's Marco Polo Airport. This isn't practical when we're traveling with Maggie in the winter, because KLM doesn't carry pets on the AMS-VCE route from November to March. (The baggage compartments on its Fokker Cityhopper jets aren't warm enough for animals in winter.)

At first we were disappointed that we couldn't fly with Maggie through Amsterdam, but recently we discovered that we may be better off skipping Schiphol with a dog in tow:

At Schiphol Airport, KLM charges a mandatory "animal care" fee of 150 euros, 200 U.S. dollars, or 200 Canadian dollars for pets traveling as checked baggage that lay over at Schiphol for more than two hours. This fee (which other writers have described as a "pet tax") is more than twice the price of a four-hour stay at Schiphol's Yotel for human travelers.

Schiphol Airport has always been as much about commerce as about flying (it has so many shops that it often feels like a mall with airplanes), but charging 150 euros for a plane change that runs longer than two hours strikes us as being outrageous--no matter how nice Schiphol's animal facilities might be.

Maggie's new home in the Campiello Albrizzi


ABOVE: An Austrian shell fragment from 1849 decorates a wall in the Campiello Albrizzi.


In the winter of 2010-2011, Maggie will be living in a new rental apartment in Venice (that is, if you can apply the word "new" to a flat in a palazzo that has been owned by the same family since the 18th Century).

The apartment is in the Campiello Albrizzi, near the Campo San Polo, and we booked it through Homeaway.com. The owners claim to love dogs, and Maggie is easy to love, so we anticipate a happy relationship with our landlord and landlady.


The Campiello Albrizzi is notable for an unusual landmark: a shell from the Austrian siege of Venice during the Revolution of 1848-1849, which set fire to the Palazzo Albrizzi and subsequently was mounted on a wall with an inscription by Gabriele d'Annunzio. (See top photo.)

D'Annunzio's text proclaims eternal enmity toward the Austrians, but today's Venetians--and Austrians--seem to have moved beyond their 19th Century antipathies.