Again this is meant as be aware (and neither warning or danger) – some of the streets are so narrow that almost only one person does “fit” through it. It can get very much difficult to pass when oncoming foot traffic is approaching from the other side. Venezia is full with these small streets, and even when you don’t expect small streets according to the map – they are there and make getting ahead difficult. That is also one of the reasons why I recommended in the packlist to travel with a backpack (as opposed to suitcase). I did see so many poor tourists struggling with their suitcases in these narrow lanes and then traffic jams happened. Of course, the occasional Eurodisney visitor gets trapped in the small streets as well, and, according to his/her belief, can’t imagine that there are actually locals that need to use these streets to move from A to B – so it gets even more congested.
The first time we travelled to Venice from Padova by train, a young lady walked through the car and placed a small cello wrapped trinket on the seats or tables of each passanger, said nothing , then walked away.
Not aware of what was going on, I examined it, but did not open the wrapper. A few moments later, this same lady returned and collected these packages, and for those unlucky enough to have kids or were just too curious for their own good, she extracted a donation in exchange for the opened packet.
Scam, or charitable donation, who is to say. Just be aware this lady, or others like her, are not giving you a welcoming gift to Venice, you are expected to pay for it. The claim that they are impaired has been disproven countless times by authorities, but it is your call.
This has occured 'well' over a dozen times to us this past year, and to other destinations as well.
If you have young children, consider bringing a backpack type device for carrying them, as strollers are a bad idea. There are so many bridges with steps that you will soon be tired of having to lift the stroller EVERY time you come up to one. If you are traveling alone with a child in a stroller, even worse, as you won't have help lugging it up and down every bridge (there are dozens!). Not all bridges are as big as the one pictured, but you'll come to a new bridge every couple minutes or so.
It might be the only one ever, but I got lost in Venice. Really lost...
It was no problem at all to find the Piazza San Marco, since there were signs all over town.
But when I should get back to the trainstation... I thought it would be just to follow the same signs, but the problem is that these signs are everywhere, not just at the street that leads to the trainstation.
The first mistake I did was to go to Venice without a map. The second one was to not buy a map when I was at Piazza San Marco.
I was lucky enough to find a boatstation with big boats that are going around in the biggers canales, among them the one that leads to the trainstation. Lucky for me, otherwise I would still be trying to find my way out of the labyrint...
I was at a loose end in Venice, strolling about, up and down all the stairs on all the bridges, down the narrow! alleyways, watching the hordes fighting to get on and off the vaporetti.
My daughter had noticed in Rome that all the visible injuries seemed to be whiplash - so many neck braces (motor scooters?) but in Venice it was broken legs. She reckoned it was the treacherous step onto the vaporetti - but I thought the cobblestones might have had something to do with it too.
Anyway - there I was at the Barefoot Bridge - and I saw two older tourists with two huge suitcases each. They were trying to haul them up the 20 or so stairs - too afraid to leave one behind at the bottom because there were hordes of fake bag sellers eyeing them - but it was simply beyond their strength.
I had time on my hands so I stepped up to them and offered to help. They had obviously been told never to let anyone help them with their suitcases - so even though I was of an age with them - and quite respectably dressed - and speaking quite good English - they were very scared to let me help.
But they had to. They wouldn't let me help them very much - just over the bridge - I would have helped them all the way to their hotel. But they were having a luggage crisis and couldn't think straight. I think they were having a marriage crisis too. "Just exactly how many pairs of shoes did you think you would need in Venice???" Something like that.
Please think very carefully about how much luggage you bring to Venice. Wheels don't cope well with steps and cobblestones. I can imagine prams and strollers aint great either.
I noticed the local mothers had very light strollers for their kiddies. And one often met deliverymen on the bridges with those useful trolley things manoeuvering small loads of soft drink etc.
Don't bring huge amounts of luggage to Venice. You will hate yourself.
If there was high water - I don't know what you would do.
If you want to know the final price during ordering - your only choice is McDonalds!
All Restaurants charge unpredictable costs unto the bill (be prepared for being charged using knife & fork!!! "Cuperto")! You will literally pay for every single thing on your plate & table (usage of knife & fork, the bread they put on the table etc.).
So there`s no chance to calculate the bill in advance (not even in Restaurants on the outskirts of Venice!).
Our specific case (we checked the prices on the Menu outside the Restaurant!):
-We saw: Spaghetti 7,50 Euro, Calamari 9,20, Cola 2,20 Euro (2x) = 21,10 Euro
-We got a Mile-long bill with hundred Extra-Changes which resulted in = 39,20 Euro!
It happens everywhere in Venice and the food isn`t even good, Supermarkets are not easy to find so consider bringing some food from home (if you`re from Europe and don`t come by plane) or things like Pizza Slices or McDonalds.
Venice has a real shortage of 'green' areas, therefore dogs can not run as we are used to allowing them to do in North America.
You'll never find a dog roaming free, but out walking the master, sharing the same streets as visitors use. All dogs in Venice are required to be kept on a leash, and those that are agressive or larger than normal, are required to wear a muzzle, and be walked by a person with the ability to control them.
Nature calls, and is sometimes 'MISSED' by the dogs owner.
You must be cautious when walking about, enjoy the magic of Venice, but keep a careful eye occasionally cast downwards. I watch for the sideways 'hop' of the pedestrians walking in front of me. This early warning system can prevent a nasty slip and fall accident, so adjust your radar.
Enjoy the trinkets you purchase, not the 'EXTRAS' you pick up along the way. Take it from one who knows...
Poop and scoop laws are basically the same as everywhere else.
May I remind you that buying a fake Fendi or Louis Vuitton bag is illegal? Buying a bag from a street vendor doesnt look like much and you probably wont run into problems, but if you have to travel to France after your stay in Italy, you run the risk of getting fined a hefty sum if you're caught. It *does* happen from time to time as some random controls at the border are made by French authorities (France has a powerful luxury industry and it takes the matter very seriously...).
You've been warned...
Is it easy to get lost in Venice?, neah I don't think so. Venice is relatively small town and very well structured. Every street, even the smallest one, lead you to one of the squares or canal banks from where you can easily find your way to the major routes of the town. Do not panic, even if you think you're walking in the circle and everything you see look alike. There are marks everywhere on the houses and you'll find your way. Sometimes it is good to be lost because you might see even more then you have expected to.
I suppose the "flying rats" in St. Marks Square are part of the charm of the place... some people must like them 'cos the bird seed sellers seem to make good business. We only got swooped a couple of times, and nothing too serious landed on my head.
My main gripe about this city is reserved for another animal...the dogs.
Venetians must own more per head than any other city... certainly I can't see many tourists bringing their dogs with them.
Anyway, very few owners seem bothered when their pets crap and piddle all over the pavement. (I know you can't really do much about the latter, so just watch out for any yellow pavement lagoons). However, throw crowds of people and narrow alleyways into the equation, and you've got a recipe for lots of brown footsteps...
So, by all means look at the great buildings, but keep one eye where you're stepping too.
P.S. before I'm accused of hating animals, can I just say I love all of Gods creatures... especially covered in mustard, between two toasted halves of a sesame seed bun.
Remember, exploring the town of Venice isn't a 100 meters race, you need at least a couple of days to see all the major sights only. To visit all the museums and galleries, add couple of days more.
In case you're visiting Venice in the summer season, don't rush around, take your time and enjoy in every minute you spend here. The summer heat might caused you a lot of problems, especially if you're not used on it, walk slowly and take a rest from time to time. The most important thing is, DRINK A LOT OF WATER, in order to prevent the sun-stroke which might provoke you a serious problems! Take a good advice because I am very experienced about, you body need to take at least 5-6 litres of water during the day if outside temperature over 30 C degrees.
A warning tip ... the weigh :))) pizzas and ice creams ... will be the basic food :) ... I was walking all the time and at lunch time I use to be looking something ... and when I was hungry it was always to late for eating at a restaurant so I used to buy some pizza slide and as it was hot ... and I do love ice creams ... after the pizza ... an ice cream :)))
Venice is very crowded and humid in the summer. And too much English is spoken. I didn't get a chance to try out my Berlitz learned Italian.
After coming from Slovenia, which was not crowded, not humid, and you heard more Slovenian (or German) than English, Venice took some getting used to.
When going to Venice for the first time please be sure to have all the information of the hotel that you can get. Write down the exact location, phone numbers, website and e-mail. If possible print out the map that they give you. When I was in Venice I walked for four horrible hours to find my hotel. Why did that happen, because I didnt know that Venice doesnt have any street names so its very hard to find it!
Criminality in Venice appears to be the lowest of Italy.
When I visited the prison the reason became clear; no bad boy is willing to take the risk being imprisoned in Venice.
The roof cells of the Piombi (lead) where Casanova was emprisonned until he escaped through the roof can only be visited with the "secret itinerary" guided tour.
The Gritti Palace hotel in venice was built in 1525 as the residence of the Doge of Venice, Andrea...more
Thanks to the hotel tip from fellow-VT'r "Herkbert's" Venice page, we chose the Hotel Antiche Figura...more
My sisters and I stayed 2 nights at this hotel and our time there was priceless. Matteo and his...more