If you are lucky enough to be flying into Venice, you will get an aerial view and see that this splendid city looks like a fish placed on a blue platter.If you are planning your first or your fifth trip to Venice, some Venice (Italy) travel tips may come in handy!! You can even see this shape on any street map you look at. I wanted to put together some quick tips for you to consider for a first trip to Venice. The more I was putting the information together, the more I realized, there could be volumes written on how to really experience Venice.
My best advice to you is, go to Venice with an open mind and if you are going in the high season, bring a lot of patience. You will not be visiting one of the most spectacular places in the world and be the only ones there! If I ask anyone where they dream of visiting in Italy, one of the top 3 places is always Venice-and with good reason! Pack light, plan ahead and wear very comfortable walking shoes. It doesn’t help to have a little study of the city before hand and use your maps (yes, a real map)to figure out where you are going. It is assumed everyone in Italy speaks English, and many locals do speak it. But they do love when you try to communicate with them in Italian, even if it’s just a few words, it really breaks the ice! So, here we go with some tips!
Let’s start with the basics!
Venice is made up of six sestieri
- Santa Croce
- San Polo
- San Marco
There are also some more tranquil islands around these parts to check out
- San Giorgio Maggiore
Gianni explained to us that this is the courtyard where Marco Polo lived in Venice.
Quick Venetian Vocab
- Bacaro: A wine bar where you will have a nice break after all the walking and enjoy
- Calle: The rest of Italy, the streets are called “via”. You may also see streets called: salizado, ramo and ruga (like the Ruga Rialto)and ruga means wrinkle!!!
- Campo: A square in Italy (the rest of Italy calls them “piazza”, although, there is one in Venice-Piazza San Marco)
- Cicchetto: The snacks that they have at every bacaro
- Sestiere: A central Venice neighborhood (the 6 we mention above)
- Ombra: A glass of wine you have with your chiccetti at the bacaro
Venice is referred to as La Serenissima (the most serene). It is a reference to the incredible power of this city that is the longest-lasting republic in the history of the world. It could also be a reference to the total serenity you feel when you first see this magical city built entirely on water!
As for the other types of tourists, there are lots of them from all over the world! Is it worth it to go in the summer? If you only have this one chance to go, please don’t miss it. If you can find a little hotel in town, stay the night and explore in the later evening hours or early morning hours.
There truly are no cars in Venice, so how do you get around?
- Gondola: The total obvious, but the most expensive choice! We were quoted 80 Euros for a one hour trip this past summer and we chose to skip it. It is very romantic and it does make for iconic gondola photos!!
- Traghetto: This is a cheap way to get around eight spots of the banks. It is a perfect way to to get around when you need a walking break!
- Vaporetto: These are the water buses that will take you back and forth on the Grand Canal. It is also how you can get out to the islands around Venice and it is the main public transportation. It is economical, but expect big crowds, especially in the summer. We were separated and squished into various corners of our ride. Keep an eye out for your belongings and your money in a safe spot. Think of being on a subway on a busy day, except you’re riding on the Grand Canal.
- Water taxi: Huge warning…these rides are very expensive! I would stick to a traghetto or just walk, unless you have a high transportation budget.
February-You have to be there for Carnevale!
June-November: Biennale Internazionale D’Arte
July: Il Redentore
August: Venice International Film Festival
September: Regata Storica
November: Festa Della Salute
December: Venetian Winter Festival
January: End of month usually is beginning of Carnevale
How to get to Venice by car
Autostrada A4 da Trieste and Torino
Autostrada A27 from Beeline
Autostrada A13 from Bologna
Strada Statale 14 from Trieste
Strada Statale 13 from Treviso;
Strada Statale 11 from Padova
In order to miss the maddening crowds, take a trip to Venice in the fall or even in the winter! If you are on Instagram, check out the gorgeous accounts from Venice and you will see just how magical it looks totally gloomy and even covered in fog. It truly is a hauntingly beautiful site to see!