The town of Mestre is a mainland suburb of Venice and, although much more modern, industrial and less historically significant than Venice itself, Mestre does have its own character and a history worth exploring. It also makes for a much cheaper alternative than Venice in terms of hotels and eating out. While most people would agree that Mestre doesn’t have the charm of its more famous neighbour and none of the romantic canals, it also doesn’t have the inflated price tags or the huge influx of tourists.
There is no getting away, however from the fact that people come to Mestre to visit Venice and with the excellent public transport links between the two, day trips to the Venetian capital are easy and convenient.
For those who do choose to stay in Mestre, it is worth spending at least a day exploring it in its own right. The Toree dell’Orologio and the Duomo di San Lorenzo are well worth a look, and enjoying a cappuccino in the town’s main square, Piazza Ferretto is also a pleasant experience. Here is our pick of ways to entertain yourself for an afternoon or two in Mestre.
Check out Public Art
This town is making a great effort to refine its image and welcome visitors. The infrastructure has been improved and close to Piazza Ferretto the new park that has been built is one of the biggest in Europe. There has also been a huge shift towards the promotion of public art and you can see examples all over the place. Via Piave has some weird and wonderful exhibits that stand out, while other pieces fit beautifully and subtly into the cityscape.
This is a real hidden gem in Mestre and, as you arrive at the building, it is difficult not to be impressed by the metal décor on the huge windows. The grand glass shell roof is reminiscent of the larger sister gallery in Milan. Today the building houses department stores, jewellery boutiques and art shops as well as flower stalls, which add to the colour and appeal of the place. Walk through here at night when it is lit up, look up through the glass roof and you are greeted with a really special and almost magical sight.
Although not always obvious, Mestre has featured in the history of Venice throughout the centuries. San Girolamo, the oldest church in town is testament to the long history Mestre has, despite its modern and superficial appearance. Over the years this church underwent many changes and the façade was rebuilt in the 17th century with the stunning Istria stone you see today. This church is a lovely place to visit, especially if you want a reprieve from the warm summer sunshine.
These are our suggestions for what to see in Mestre, but of course there are many more besides!
How to Get to Mestre
Venice Marco Polo airport is the main arrivals port for people visiting the area and as it is only a 16km drive to the city, transfers from Venice airport to Venice are quick and convenient. The airport is well served by flights from most European cities including London, Rome, Barcelona and Paris, among others. Mestre is also only a short drive away so if you are staying here instead of in Venice, transfers are equally practical.
For reliable and well-priced transfers from Venice airport to Venice or Mestre, we, at Shuttle Direct can offer you exactly what you need. Our drivers meet clients on arrival and take them direct to their hotel in a timely and professional manner. You can book in advance and choose private or shared options. If you arrive into the train station in Venice or Mestre, we also offer transfers from there.
Where to Stay
Hotel Delle Rose – Only a 10-minute ride on the bus to Venice, Hotel Delle Rose is our choice of budget accommodation in Mestre. Offering simple rooms with air conditioning and en suite facilities, the hotel is a lovely family run place to stay. Every day a sweet and savoury breakfast is served buffet style and during the summer months a patio is set up with chairs and tables, and drinks and snacks are also available. There is free Wi-Fi in the public areas of the hotel.
Hotel Al Vivit – Hotel Al Vivit, in the beautiful Piazza Ferretto is a stunning 18th century building that has been completely renovated. Offering a modern, comfortable and friendly setting, this hotel is in easy reach of restaurants, shops, theatres and transport links into Venice. Every room has Wi-Fi and the hotel has a bar, lounge and dry cleaning facilities. There is a buffet breakfast served on the terrace too. This is our middle of the range option for a hotel in Mestre.
NH Laguna Palace – This stylish elegant hotel is a lovely option if you want to spend a little more on your stay in Mestre. Air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi have modern furnishings and a contemporary feel. Some even have views over the hotel’s own marina where water taxis are able to dock. NH Laguna Palace is actually two buildings that have been connected by a glass roof. There is a classy restaurant at the hotel serving international and Italian fare and the lovely bar offers cocktails and an extensive selection of wines.