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
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):