Travel Tips for Venice, Italy
One of the most unique cities in the world,
Venice is both captivating and frustrating. Some of the most beautiful Old
World views can be found here, and the city is a photographer's paradise.
At the same time, it's physically difficult to get to Venice, and once you are
there, the street layouts are confusing. Most visitors get lost at least
once during their visit, and Venice is easily the most controversial city we have
visited. Some of our friends who had been there commented that we would
hate it, that it was smelly and always flooded, and that we needed to have
alternate plans for activities beginning on day number two in Venice, when we
would certainly realize what a mistake we had made. On the other hand,
others told us how much they had enjoyed it, and several people had been to
Venice more than once.
The bottom line -- we loved it. It deserves
every bit of acclaim and praise that has been heaped upon it, and probably very
little of the criticism. Venice is
more than a "city." It's an experience, and a very powerful one.
We'll help you prepare for your visit to Venice so you can fully enjoy it.
First off, 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
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. 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 use, all of the streets in the city are
listed and identified by name, and the map itself is waterproof and tearproof.
If it was just a city of picturesque alleys,
Venice would have very little notoriety. The real story of Venice, of
course is the canals. And they are everywhere. Venice is actually
comprised of 118 islands, and the water that divides all of the islands is the
canals. There are very wide canals, such as the Grand Canal, which
resemble a busy street (with boats replacing cars and trucks), and there are
quiet, narrow canals that just sort of lay alongside the Old World buildings.
Do they smell? No. We were in Venice during a hot part of the
summer, and there was no discernable odor from any of the canals.
Handicap access -- in a word, terrible.
The bridges that connect the 118 islands are not handicap-friendly.
Each bridge has 6 or 8 steps up, then a flat landing, followed by 6 or 8
steps down. Streets are generally uneven cobblestones.
Wheelchairs and walkers are impossible to use, and individuals with limited
mobility will have a difficult time in Venice.
Find and book Venice tours and activities on Viator.com.
Book ahead to save time and money!