Guide to Venice Streets

The "streets" in Venice - nearly all of them - are what most Americans would consider as narrow alleys, with multi-story buildings on either side.  The pavement is generally uneven cobblestones.  Many of the streets are narrow enough that two people can barely walk shoulder to shoulder.  The "wide" streets can accommodate four to six people side by side, but they will still look like a wide alley.  Streets tend to be short, so you'll quickly come to a wall or an intersection where you have to turn right or left. 

As you walk around the city, accept it for what it is -- a unique place, famous for centuries, that will offer you an experience that is unique.  As was the case with many medieval cities, the streets in Venice were designed to help defend the city in the event of an attack.  The narrow width prevented large armies from massing their forces and sweeping through the city, and they were much easier for a small group of soldiers to defend. 

As darkness falls and you find yourself walking through deserted or almost-deserted streets, you may feel uncomfortable.  As in any city, keep yourself alert for anything unusual.  We were out and about up until 11:00 or so each evening, and never felt unsafe.  The streets are reasonably well lit, and there are usually other people coming and going.  And during the day, we never felt uncomfortable in any part of the city that we visited.

You must have a good street map to negotiate this maze, but most maps will be inadequate, because they will only have part of the city's streets labeled.  Using a bad map is an easy way to get lost and frustrated.  Our favorite Venice map is printed by Rough Guides -- it's exceptionally easy to read, all of the streets in the city are listed and identified by name, and the map itself is waterproof and tearproof. 

Examples of Venice streets (click on the photos for enlarged views):




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