Venice, Italy | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Venice, Italy

Venice (Italian: Venezia) is one of the most interesting and lovely places in the world.
This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Venice has decayed since its heyday and is heavily touristed, but the romantic charm remains.

This place may not seem huge, but it is and is made up of different boroughs.
The most famous is the area comprising the 118 islands in the main districts that are called "Sestieri": Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, and San Marco, where the main monuments and sights are located. Other main districts are Isola Della Giudecca and Lido di Venezia. Some of the more important islands in the lagoon include Murano, Torcello, San Francesco del Deserto, and Burano.


The worst times to visit may be during the carnival and when it's raining; Venice... Read more

Venice, Italy

Venice (Italian: Venezia) is one of the most interesting and lovely places in the world.
This sanctuary on a lagoon is virtually the same as it was six hundred years ago, which adds to the fascinating character. Venice has decayed since its heyday and is heavily touristed, but the romantic charm remains.

This place may not seem huge, but it is and is made up of different boroughs.
The most famous is the area comprising the 118 islands in the main districts that are called "Sestieri": Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Polo, Santa Croce, and San Marco, where the main monuments and sights are located. Other main districts are Isola Della Giudecca and Lido di Venezia. Some of the more important islands in the lagoon include Murano, Torcello, San Francesco del Deserto, and Burano.


The worst times to visit may be during the carnival and when it's raining; Venice can get very dark and rainy. Depending on when you visit, you might even have to buy waterproof shoes, which are sold on the streets. When it's raining there are mosquitoes and occasional infestations of flies. Spring and fall are probably best, a compromise between temperature (expect 5-15°C in March) and the tourist load. Between November and January, you may manage to feel you have Venice all to yourself, an interesting and quiet experience. Beware of the weather during the winter months: it can be quite cold, windy, and damp. Fog is an additional hazard if you are driving in or out, doubly so in the unlikely chance that you will pilot a boat. That said, if you've never been to Venice, it's better to go in summer than not to go. You won't regret it. Many cities are far worse in summer, and Venice has no cars, hence no smog.

Acqua alta (high water) has become a fact of life in Venice. The lagoon water level occasionally rises above the level of the squares and streets, flooding them. This can happen several times a year, at irregular intervals, usually in the colder months. Acqua alta usually lasts a few hours and coincides with high tide. You'll see raised walkways in side alleys ready to be pulled out when acqua alta hits. When the city begins to flood, sirens will sound to warn residents and businesses. If you speak fluent Italian, tune into news programs since their predictions of the times the flood begins and ends are usually on the spot. Normally, the tide rises and falls in six-hour cycles.

You can get an acqua alta map at the tourist offices either at the railway station or St Marks. This will show you the higher, dry routes and the ones with walkways set up during the various flood alerts. There is a tide measuring station at the Rialto vaporetto piers and a noticeboard at the base of the Campanile in the Piazza San Marco that shows a live tide reading and predictions for the next few days.


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Venice, Italy: Port Information

Cruise ships and smaller boats arrive at the Stazione Marittima which is at the west end of the main islands. The cruise and ferry terminals can be reached from Piazzale Roma by:
  • People Mover (3 minutes trip). This public transportation system, an automated land funicular operating from 7 AM to 11 PM Mon-Sat (check website for Sun/holidays) every 8 minutes, allows you to reach Piazzale Roma in less than 3 minutes. A shuttle bus service is available to connect the various terminals with the People Mover stop at Marittima.
  • Taxi cab (about 2 minutes trip).
The cruise port is also served by vaporetti and water taxis.

Turn left on leaving the terminal and walk 10 minutes along the covered walkway to the boat jetty. There are three Alilaguna routes to different areas of Venice. A direct waterbus from the airport may be more convenient than taking the bus to the bus station and then changing to the local waterbus. The waterbus services that run to the airport are operated by a different company (Alilaguna) than the other public waterbus services in Venice, so separate tickets will be required. Also note that the water-buses are of limited capacity, so you might end up waiting an additional 30 minutes for the next boat. Alternatively, from the same jetty, you can travel in style (and much faster) by hiring one of the speedy water-taxis (30min).

Get around Venice, Italy


Venice, the world's only pedestrian city, is easily walkable, and the absence of cars makes this a particularly pleasant experience. However, walking and standing all day can also be exhausting, so it is best to pace yourself. The Rialtine islands - the 'main' part of Venice - are small enough to walk from one end to the other in about an hour, provided you don't get lost (a common occurrence).
The area is -apart from going up and down the bridges - very level. Wheeled objects will not start moving on their own. Wind, however, might be a different thing.
All transport involves either walking or boats.
Bear in mind that most canals do not have any sort of railing and that tourist crowds might make progress very tedious at times.

By car

Apart from the Lido (the island separating the lagoon from the Adriatic sea) and Sant'Erasmo, there are no roads after Piazzale Roma.
There are regular ferry services to the Lido to get your vehicle across (which is time-consuming, so consider this carefully). Best check with your hosts, to evaluate this option.

By bicycle

You cannot ride bicycles in Venice (same as cars).
Exception: you will find rental bikes on Lido.

By boat

If you want to get around a bit more quickly, there are numerous vaporetti (water buses, sing.: vaporetto) serving the Canal Grande, the larger canals through Venice and the surrounding islands (Lido, La Guidecca, Murano, Burano, and so on).
The vaporetti are generally the best way to get around for longer trips or for crossing the Canal Grande away from the bridges. Lines 1 and 2 go all the way along the Canal Grande and offer an easy sightseeing trip.
Some routes may change by the season and depend on weather and tide conditions.
ACTV runs the vaporetti and other public transport services both in the lagoon and on terra firma. Travel cards are extremely useful. There are other versions available, including those offering discounts for youths under 29. The vaporetti uses an honor system, meaning you are expected to validate your ticket at the stop before boarding.
Since 2009 the Venice Connected website of the Comune di Venezia makes possible to book online (at least 7 days in advance) most services controlled by the town administration (public transportation, access to the civic museums, access to public restrooms, car park tickets, entrance to the Casinò and access to the municipal Wi-Fi network covering the entire historic centre); the online prices vary according to the projected number of visitors but are always cheaper than the current on-site prices (and cheaper than with a Venice Card).
You can also get a Venice Card, which has various options that you can choose when you buy it (public transportation, cultural attractions, toilet access, Alilaguna, etc.) There is a 'Junior' version of the Venice that is available at a slightly reduced rate for those between 5 and 29 years of age. Note, however, that a Venice Card is not recommended for those with less than 3 days in Venice, as most of the top attractions are not included in the Venice Card. If you'll be staying in Venice for a week - get the Venice Card and enjoy traveling from island to island and exploring the various museums and churches it offers access to.
Maps are available at the vaporetto stops in the ticket booths. The map is quite reliable and is free when getting a Venice Card.
Venice Cards can be reserved online for a considerable discount. Keep in mind, though, that there are long lines when taking the Venice Card from the ticket booths. The Venezia St. Lucia ticket booth that offers Venice Cards is the one most on the right when you exit the train station.
Polite custom
Vaporettos can be crowded at times, so space is at a premium.
Also, getting on and off involves staff handling the mooring lines and operating the gates.
So please
  • keep the exits clear
  • take off your bulky backpack as it consumes extra space and might end up in somebody's face when you excitedly turn around for some sight.
  • place your luggage out of the way of doors. Use the luggage space provided.
  • be considerate of people needing assistance
  • observe the separate entry and exit lanes at stops
  • always let people get off first and wait for staff to signal for boarding

By water taxi

Water taxis are the most flexible and most expensive travel option in Venice. They operate at all times and offer the closest access from/to your destination.

Prices inside Venice depend on distance and time of day.
Boats hold up to ten persons including luggage (with a surcharge from the 7th person).
They can also be hired for special trips, such as individual sightseeing.
  • not all canals are navigable by water taxis (if in doubt, check with your hosts beforehand)
  • depending on the kind of landing and tides, you might have to negotiate (up- or down-) differences in levels between the landing and boat of 30cm / 1 foot or more or uneven and often slippery steps
  • the boat will be wobbly, unaccustomed persons or those with limited abilities will need a hand
  • boat captains must remain on their craft at all times, so they cannot give you a hand with luggage outside their boat

By gondola

These days, gondolas are mostly used for scenic purposes instead of actual transport from point A to point B.
There are many stops dotted around the areas frequented by tourists and they are readily obvious, even when the gondolieri dress in something warmer then straw boaters and striped tops.
Special arrangements can be made to serve your interests (special routes, photo shoots, etc.).

By traghetto

The traghetto is the cheapest way to cross the Grand Canal without using the bridges. These are public shared gondolas operated by two gondolieri and are a lot cheaper. You can then say you went in a gondola, even if it was only for a couple of minutes! There are 7 piers for traghetti along the canal. Simply look for straight lines across the canal in the map, or follow the "traghetto" signs. Bear in mind that you are expected to stand, especially when it's crowded and that luggage is usually not taken on.

On foot

This is definitely the best way to experience Venice.
Venice itself is not a large city. Most destinations across the city can be reached within 20 minutes of walking, if you know your way and can stay clear of tourist congestions.
This beats most transport by boats.
Unless you are pressed for time, just start walking and let yourself get lost in the maze of alleys that is Venice. In time, you will always come across a familiar landmark or to a vaporetto stop to regain your bearings.
Along the way, you will discover marvelous art, superb architecture and breathtaking urban landscaping as well as bars, cafes, and restaurants to soak up the local atmosphere and rest your weary feet.
Major destinations, like Piazza San Marco, Rialto, Ferrovia (train station) or Piazzale Roma (bus terminal) are marked by arrows put up on the walls.
Be aware that addresses in Venice are of the form DISTRICT number (The Venetian word for district is "Sestriere"), not STREET number. To find a specific place using a map, make sure you know which district it is in. The numbers are assigned at the start of the district and increase as they move farther away from the Grand Canal. If possible, get detailed descriptions for your accommodation in advance, as doubling back across bridges with luggage in tow is quite bothersome.

What to see in Venice, Italy

  • Doge's Palace

    (Palazzo Ducale), (San Marco Square). From April 1st to October 31st: 8.30 am – 7 pm (last admission 6 pm); from November 1st to March 31st: 8.30 am – 5.30 pm (last admission 4.30 pm). Closed on December 25th and January 1st. If the ticket line is long, you can buy regular tickets across the square at the Museo Correr. Don't miss the guided tour named Secret Itinerary, which will let you discover the part of the palace where the city's administration worked, as well as Casanova's jail and the wonderful five hundred-year-old roof structure. Regular ticket is valid for the Doge’s Palace and the Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale, and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana
  • Bell tower of St. Mark (Campanile di San Marco), (San Marco Square). Closes at 9 pm. The current tower dates from 1912; an exact replica of the previous tower which collapsed in 1902. The top of the tower offers great views of Venice and the lagoon.
  • Clock tower (Torre dell'Orologio), (San Marco Square). — Having been closed for restoration for many years, the restored astronomical clock is now visible. The fascinating tour of the clock mechanism (and rooftop bell) can only be visited on a guided tour, which has to be booked in advance.
  • Scuola grande di San Rocco. A masterpiece of Tintoretto, this guild house is an exquisite example of Manierist art in its best. In order to allow a comfortable admiration of the detailed ceiling mirrors are offered to the visitors.
  • Jewish Ghetto of Venice. While racial and ethnic neighborhoods had existed prior to the Venetian Ghetto, Venice's ghetto was the first "ghetto" (coming from a Venetian word for the Iron Foundry that was on the site previously) and "ghetto" eventually came to mean any neighborhood that was made up of a single ethnic/racial group. Today, Jewish life is still very active in the ghetto, and elsewhere in Venice, and is home to five synagogues. Visiting on Saturdays or late Fridays (the Jewish Sabbath) will prove very fruitless because all shops, restaurants, and other Jewish places will be closed. If you wish to sense the unique Venetian atmosphere coming from the East you can take part in an itinerary covering the Jewish Ghetto and the Rialto area to discover the crucible of races, cultures, and religions that have co-existed for centuries in Venice and admire a different side of this city.
Outdoor sights, piazzas, bridges, canals
  • Don't miss the Rialto market and the

    Rialto Bridge

    (Italian: Ponte di Rialto) on San Polo, the smallest sestiere. The Rialto market is for shoppers. To the east is a neighborhood of small shops and restaurants; to the west is the Rialto farmers' market. Shopping is slightly less expensive than in the tourist-filled

    Piazza San Marco

    . The bridge has become one of Venice's most recognizable icons and has a history that spans over 800 years. Today's Rialto Bridge was completed in 1591 and was used to replace a wooden bridge that collapsed in 1524.
  • Zattere. It's a long and sunny walk along the Giudecca canal, protected during winter time from cold northerly winds for being exposed to the south and shielded by buildings. You might find interesting to see how a gondola is made, stopping by the Squero (Venetian for small shipyard) across the canal near San Trovaso Church. It's one of the few still in business in town. With some luck, you'll see some gondole through various manufacturing steps (note that gondole are not straight to counter-balance the gondoliere push).
Although the Basilica di San Marco is free, other famous churches charge an entry fee. If you plan to visit three churches or more, you are better off buying the churches pass. There is also a combined pass for museums, churches, and transportation only available at the tourist information office but it is relatively expensive.
  • Saint Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco), Piazza San Marco (Water lines # 1, 52, and 82 will take you from Santa Lucia (the train station) or Piazzale Roma to Piazza San Lucia. Walking is another option but will require a map and lots of time and energy.), +39 041 5225205 (procuratorial phone number). 1st October to 31st March: 9:45 AM-4:45 PM; 1st April to 30 September: 9:45 AM-5 PM. Saint Mark's Basilica is on the Piazza San Marco and is one of the highlights of a visit to Venice. As with most churches in Italy, you must be dressed appropriately to be allowed in; this means no short skirts or bare shoulders. You are not allowed to carry large bags or rucksacks inside. You must deposit them just round the corner from the main entrance. Filming and photography is forbidden so be prepared in advance. The visit within the basilica lasts ten minutes. Waiting for entry into the basilica can last up to five or so hours and it may be wise to buy a ticket from the official site. Once you have a reservation you can take the group entrance on the left, where you give in the printout of your reservation. These reservations are only available 7 months out of the year, 1 Apr-31 Oct. The symbol of St. Mark’s Basilica is a masterpiece of the Greek Hellenistic sculpture: the famous gilded bronze horses. A visit to St Mark’s Basilica is a must! It is renowned worldwide for its priceless treasures and fascinating secret places. Some of them, such as the Baptistery and the Zen Chapel, are usually closed to the public. Admission to the basilica is free.
  • San Giacomo di Rialto. This church is possibly the oldest church in Venice built around 421. It is most recognized for its 15th-century clock above the entrance of the church. It is also recognized for the red pillars and beautiful gold accents around the church itself.
  • San Giovanni e Paolo (San Zanipolo in Venetian dialect). A fine, huge Dominican church with the tombs of many Doges. It shares its piazza with the fine Renaissance facade of the Scuola San Marco and an equestrian statue of the mercenary (condottiere) captain Colleone. Look out for the testicles (coglioni in Italian - it's a lousy pun) on his coat of arms!
  • Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. The big friary church, with fine monuments and paintings, among which the famous 'Assunta' by Titian.
  • Santa Maria dei Miracoli. A perfect jewel box church, simple in form but ornamented with fine exterior marble facings.
  • San Simeone Piccolo. The last church built in Venice. It is located across from the Grand Canal in front of Santa Lucia Train station. One of the things that it is recognized for is the fact that they celebrate Tridentine Mass on Sundays. It is also recognized for its dome because it is used to make the church look taller than it is and the dome itself is entirely covered with lead sheet.
  • Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta in Torcello is situated in the charming Torcello island, and it is an enchanting example of Venetian- Byzantine architecture. The cathedral is renowned for its important mosaics, which are a real masterpiece of the Byzantine-Ravennate school, including that in the counter-façade representing the Last Judgment. Discover, among its historical and artistic treasures, some exclusive areas which have remained inaccessible for centuries: the crypt and the sacristy. The crypt is situated under the altar and, being frequently reached by the water, is equipped with a wooden bridge in order to make visits always available. The other mysterious location that has been covered for centuries is the sacristy. Following a hidden passageway, you can reach a Roman sarcophagus, which is supposed to have been the tomb of Mark the Evangelist for a period of time, when the Basilica in Venice wasn’t built yet.
The Museums of St. Mark's Square are covered by one admission ticket, including Doge's Palace and the Correr Museum, valid for 3 months, for a single entry per museum. On the other hand, the Museum Pass covers seven more museums including those on Murano and Burano; these passes are valid for 6 months, for a single entry per museum.
  • Correr Museum, San Marco 52 (on San Marco Square). Very interesting collection of globes, starting from the 16th century. There is also an only library hall, an archeological museum of Roman antiques and an important picture gallery. At the end of your visit, don't miss the museum art cafe, with their tables on the San Marco Square.
  • La Fenice Theater (Teatro La Fenice), (300 m west of San Marco square). Visit this historic theater with an audioguide (good explanations in several languages). The theater is an identical reconstruction (rebuilt in 2003) of the previous theater building that burned down in 1996.
  • The Jewish Museum (Museo Ebraico), Cannaregio 2902/b, +39 041 715 359 (, fax: +39 041 72 3007). Hours:1 June - 30 September: 10 AM-7 PM 1 October- 31: 10 AM-6 PM The Museum is closed on Saturday (Shabbat), during Jewish festivities, on December 25th, on 1st January, and on 1 May.
  • Mocenigo Palace (Palazzo Mocenigo), Santa Croce 1992 (vaporetto San Stae), +39 041721798. Closed on Mondays. A collection of clothes dating from the 18th century.
  • The Peggy Guggenheim Museum, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni (Located on the Dorsoduro region of Venice, to the east of the Accademia bridge, on the southern side of the Grand Canal), +39.041.2405.411 (, fax: +39.041.5206.885). Hours: W-M: 10 AM-6 PM. Closed on Tuesdays and on 25 December. Open on national holidays (including Tuesdays). The Peggy Guggenheim Museum offers a personal collection of modern art collected by Peggy Guggenheim. Peggy was an American married to modern artist Max Ernst and funded a number of his contemporaries. The gallery includes a sculpture garden and works by Picasso, Kandinsky, Tanguy, Duchamp, Pollock, Dali, and Mondrian.
  • Ca' Pesaro. Beautiful palace housing the gallery of modern art focusing on Italian art in the 19th Century as well as the Marco Pollo Museum, a rich collection mainly of Asian exhibits.
  • Ca' Rezzonico. Museum of the 18th Century in Venice - attempts to revive the domestic atmosphere of Venetian nobilities.
  • Galleria dell'Accademia di Venezia, Campo della Carità Dorsoduro n. 1050 – 30100 Venezia, +39 041 5200345 ( M: 8:15 am-2 pm, T-S: 8:15 am-7:15 pm. The ticket office closes 45 minutes before. Closed on Monday afternoon, December 25th and January 1st. Venice's most significant art museum which is also one of Italy's best.
  • Palazzo Grassi, Campo San Samuele. Temporary exhibitions from François Pinault's Collection.
  • Punta della Dogana, Dorsoduro (on the tip between Grand Canal and Giudecca Canal). Former customs house, center for contemporary art, permanent exhibition of works from the François Pinault Collection. Renovation by world renown architect Tadao Ando.
Other museums include:
  • Glass Museum (Museo del Vetro), Murano. Closed on 25 December, 1 January. Working hours: 10 - 17 (winter), 10 - 18 (summer). On Murano, the island so typical of its glasswork.
  • Carlo Goldoni's House (Casa di Carlo Goldoni). House of Venice' most famous playwright.
  • Lace Museum (Museo del Merletto), Burano.
  • Museo Fortuny.
  • Museum of Greek Icons.
  • Museo di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum), Santa Croce 1730, +39 041 2750206 (, fax: +39 041 721000), [14]. From June 1st to October 31st: 10:00 – 18:00 (ticket office 10:00 - 17:00); From November 1st to May 31st: Tue - Fri: 9:00 - 17:00 (ticket office 9:00 - 16:00) Sat and Sun: 10:00 - 18:00 (ticket office 10:00 - 17:00). Closed on Mondays, December 25th, January 1st, May 1st.
  • Naval History Museum (Museo Storico Navale).
  • Scala Contarini del Bovolo

What to do in Venice, Italy

Romantic Dinner Cruise. Venice has always been (and will always be) one of the most romantic cities in the world, so a romantic activity is a must-do if you're here with your loved one. One popular idea is a dinner cruise in Venice like the Galleon Dinner Cruise in Venice on board the Venetian Galleon. 
  • Voga Longa, the yearly equivalent of a marathon run on water. Voga Longa competitors must row 32 kilometers under 3.5 hours to receive a certificate of attendance at the finish line, but everybody with a human-powered vessel is welcome to participate (some foreigner teams take up to 10 hours to complete the journey just for the fun of it).
The official purpose of the Voga Longa was to protest the sharply increasing use of powerboats in Venice, but the event has gradually grown into a festival since 1974, with up to 5500 racers in 1500 vessels attending by the early 2000s. The racetrack visits different parts of Venice as well as some of the nearby islands. Locals and tourists lining up alongside rios and canals cheer the racers.
Visitors wishing to participate should have serious experience in rowing or sculling and practice duely, as the journey is physically demanding (even seasoned oarsmen develop calluses by the finish line). The event is mainly for teams, completing Voga Longa on a single oar is considered a major achievement. Extreme participation (scuba frogmen and surface swimmers) sometimes occurs, but it is not recommended due to water contamination issues.
  • Regata 'Storica (Historic fleet event) is held on the first Sunday of every September. Celebrating a historic event from 1489, the regatta displays almost a hundred varieties of Venetian boats from the city's rich past. Large oarships, replicating ancient Roman and medieval vessels, are rowed along the Canal Grande, followed by many smaller boats. There are several races, including a master championship for solo sculling in streamlined gondolini, painted in unusual white, pink, etc. colors. There are many excellent photo opportunities for this event.
  • La Biennale di Venezia is one of the most well-known cultural institutions. Two events organized by Biennale are the Art and Architecture International Exhibitions happening alternately (Architecture Biennale in even years, Art Biennale in odd) but other fields are also covered - contemporary theatre, dance, music, cinema
  • Venice International Film Festival - 71st edition, from 27th August to 6th September 2014, will take place as usual in the island of Lido di Venezia. This is the oldest film festival of the world. Screenings will take place at Palazzo del Cinema on Lungomare Marconi and other nearby places such as the Venice Casino.
  • Carnival of Venice is one of the most popular carnival of the world. First organized in 1926, this carnival is particularly appreciated because of the masks that are exhibited by its participants. During the carnival period, the inhabitants of Venice are allowed to carry out unusual behaviors.
  • Festa del Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer) is held on the third Sunday of July. It commemorates the end of the plague in Venice in 1577. The feast is mostly known for the fireworks display which begins on Saturday night at 10 pm which is admired by thousands of Venetians from their boats in St. Mark basin or from their terraces. After the display, which lasts about 40 minutes, the young people of Venice head to the Lido to wait for dawn. Three regattas are held on Sunday. Religious celebrations are held in the Church of the Holy Redeemr on Saturday at 7:30 pm and on Sunday at 12:30 am and 8 am.
Ride a Vaporetto (Water Bus) down the Grand Canal right before sunset. The Vaporettos are not cheap, but the sights are priceless: amazing architecture, soft seaside sunlight, and a fascinating parade of Venetian watercraft.
Take a Gondola if you can afford it: it's expensive, but the Gondoliere may decrease the price if you ask (but they can also decrease the time...). Make sure you reach an agreement on price and time before you start! A good tip with the Gondolieres is to bargain the price down as low as you can, then say that it's still too much and walk away. Two or three of them will chase after you, one after the other, each offering a lower price than the last. 
Some guidebooks discourage tourists from asking for gondola price reductions. The oarsmen have an informal habit of cutting the most interesting and little-known parts from the journey path for "discount" customers. Reduced rate riders get much less marvel in exchange for a moderate price drop, which may not be worth it.
Gondolier-for-hire business licenses are officially limited to just 430 to 455 rowers in Venice, making the market artificially scarce and inflating prices. Gondola rides are always costly, often in a princely way and that expense should be planned in advance of the visit. If you go as a group it might be cheaper, though the number of people who can be accommodated on a gondola varies, usually up to a maximum of six seated passengers. The "traghetti" holds more, mostly standing, as a pair of gondoliers rows short distances for canal crossing purposes at a number of points along the Grand Canal.
Venetians and especially the gondoliers among them have highly conservative ideas about society: by 900 years of tradition, all gondoliers must be male and most are born locals. There are only a few Germans in the business and a single lady, Alexandra Hai, who couldn't manage a for-hire license even after 10 years. She is officially allowed to carry guests of her contract hotel only.
If a gondola seems a little pricey, the alternative is to cross the Grand Canal by traghetto. These are largely gondolas that have seen better days. They are stripped down and used as municipal ferries. In the 1950s, there were as many as thirty, but now there are seven points to find them. However, some only operate when people are going to and from work. The length of any crossing is just a few minutes. Many visitors enjoy visiting the open air markets near the Rialto Bridge and there is a traghetto station there, at the Pescheria (fish market) joining the Santa Sophia church along the Strada Nova. You will notice that traghetti passengers tend to stand up, but if you are not comfortable doing so, sitting is possible, if you are careful. The more adventurous can try the Venetian style of rowing through Row Venice or one of the many rowing clubs
If you are looking for something to do, you can always shop. Venice is packed full of little stores in every corner and crevice. The commonest local specialties are Carnival masks, glass, and marbled paper. Price can vary wildly, so it's a good idea to hold off buying until you have a fair idea about the relative value of things. As is the case with most tourist cities, a LOT of the "original " and "made in Venice" items are actually made in China. Murano is an island famous for its glass making. Almost in every shop, you will find "original Murano glass" items. If it was really made in Murano, it would be prohibitively expensive, with prices routinely running into thousands of euros. So if you are looking for cheap souvenirs, real Murano glass is not the thing to buy! You can also see glass making demonstrations in Murano, but be sure to check that there is a demonstration scheduled for that day. And it is normally not done in winter either.
Spend a day on the islands, mainly Murano, Burano, and Torcello. There are boat services to all these islands at scheduled times, including between the islands themselves. Be prepared for long lines and long waits for the boats between islands.
The Glass Museum in Murano and the Lace Museum in Burano are certainly worth a visit. In Burano, you will find some of the most picturesque streets and houses, with each house sporting a different pastel shade. It's really beautiful. Though there is not much to see in Torcello except for the old church and the supposed "Throne of Atilla". However, the peace and tranquility of the island are not to be found anywhere else in Venice! Torcello is also home to a very expensive Cipriani restaurant. But just walking around on these islands is a nice enough experience. If you've had enough of the hype and the other tourists, hop off the vaporetto at 'Cimitero', Venice's graveyard for a peaceful walk. There are many famous tombs, and the section dedicated to deceased children is particularly haunting. There is also a free toilet there.
While going through Venice, make sure you take in the beauty of it all. Walk through the alleyways, and take the water taxi to different parts of the island, sometimes at night, you can just go sit in an open area and watch locals and tourists passing by. It is wonderful. There are many museums and churches that are around the city that allow tourists to go on a visit. They are many great sights to keep you busy throughout your visit.
The “Secret Itineraries in Doge's Palace” worth a visit, take the visitor into the most secret and fascinating rooms in the Palace. It’s better to book in advance.
Because Venice is now pretty much only inhabited by tourists and people serving the trade, it gets very quiet by 9.00 and there is very little to do in the evening (outside of eating). There are a few exceptions, like some classical music concerts, which most probably only play Vivaldi.
If you would like to have a guide to show up the highlights of Venice, you can choose between many offers. There are walking or boat tours focused on shopping or history or for art lovers, and many itineraries.
If you are interested in exploring all things related to Italian food you have to visit the freshly open "i Tre Mercanti" (campo della guerra 2 mins from S.Marco square) an amazing food gallery where you can find typical Italian specialties, a wide range of the best wines and the usual classics like Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, Limoncello along with hundreds of regional specialties (including 97 pasta sauces!). Classy and friendly the staff speak many languages and is open every day. If you don't feel like shopping you can always browse the shop and ask cooking tips and the history of products to the helpful manager.
Send a Postcard or even better, an entire mail dedicated to an important one (the old "snail mail" one, not the electronic variety)! Venice has a long, celebrated tradition in postal services, paper and written communication in general (including one of the earliest medieval book printing houses). Avoid using the globepostalservice (GPS) stamps. These are stamps sold by a privately owned company through the tobacco shops using black mailboxes (the public ones are red) which charges more than normal and there have been lots of complaints of delayed delivery and sometimes failure of delivery. Ask instead for the normal stamps.
Venice it's also Riviera del Brenta old canals. The Riviera del Brenta is famous for its extraordinary Palladian villas along the Brenta river, its museums and historical buildings and it is located only 25 miles from Venice. This Riviera and its mainland include 7 small cities: Stra, Fiesso d’Artico, Dolo, Fossò, Mira, Oriago and Malcontenta. These places are indicated for cycling excursions and to see antique Palladian Villas built on the Brenta river. In Stra village the famous gardens of Villa Pisani and the museum of the shoes in Villa Foscarini Rossi. In this last museum, you can admire 1500 models of made in Italy shoes created from local factories for major brands included Fendi, Genny, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Ungaro, Anne Kleyn, Richard Tyles, Vera Wang and much more. In Dolo village, you can visit the square, old watermill (XI century) and big open air market.

What to eat and drink in Venice, Italy


Venice has some wonderful restaurants, featuring the cuisine of the Veneto. However, it is widely regarded that the restaurants in Venice serve food of a quality and in quantities much lower than anywhere else in Italy. The pizza in Venice is well known as being the worst in Italy (It is a more southern Italian specialty). For Americans, you can find a place called Quanto Basta pizza that serves an American-style pizza with pepperoni and french fries. Specialties include polenta, made of cornmeal; risotto with cuttlefish ink sauce. Diners should, however, be aware that for every genuinely wonderful restaurant or trattoria, there's another serving rubbish food at inflated prices, especially in the most touristed streets around San Marco. Rule of thumb: if there's a waiter outside pimping for business, it's probably best avoided.
Near the Rialto bridge, there's a row of restaurants with tables by the canal, where you can have the quintessential Venice experience of dining by the canal lights. Although they do have waiters outside bugging you, some have pretty acceptable quality for the price, which is almost always expensive anyway.
In Venice, as in many other Italian cities, people meet before dinner for the ritual of happy hour at a so-called ‘bacari’, that is characteristic osterias or wine bars where you can find a lively and genuine atmosphere. Here you can drink some typical aperitifs such as the famous ‘spritz’ (a cocktail made of Prosecco wine and Aperol or Campari) or taste the ‘cicchetti’ (tasty snacks, such as small croutons, meat cooked on a spit, savory pastries and typical Venetian dishes, both hot and cold, fried and not).
One of Venice's trademark foods is cuttlefish and its ink. This intense black ink serves as a sauce and ingredient for polenta (corn meal), risotto (rice), and pasta. These dishes are normally indicated by the Italian words "nella seppia" (in cuttlefish), "alla seppia" (in the style of cuttlefish), or "nero di seppia," (black of the cuttlefish). For example, Polenta Nella Seppia is fried cornmeal with the black ink of a cuttlefish. Despite the intensity in color, the ink has a surprisingly mild taste.
Be careful when the prices are on a weight basis (typically by the "etto", abbreviated "/hg". or 100 g). One dish can easily contain 400g of fish or meat (almost a pound) - coming to 4 times the indicated base price!
Restaurants might offer low prices for food on their menus that they advertise outside the entrance, but they will sometimes compensate this by charging high prices for drinks (which is naturally *not* advertised). Le Bauta, an eatery on Fond del Gaffaro, is a good example. Also, please make sure that you get your change back after payment as sometimes it may be 'forgotten' by the waiters.
For fresh fruit (including chilled coconut) watch for the street market stalls. There is always a boat parked in the canal on campo San Barnaba selling fruit and vegetables into the late hours.
To save money at lunch, eat standing up - that's what Venetians themselves do. Every cafe, trattoria, osteria, enoteca or whatever it chooses to call itself is stocked at lunchtime with cicchetti - Venetian tapas, including tramezzini (triangular sandwiches on white bread), bite-sized rolls with various cold cuts, polpette (fried balls of minced fish or meat) and assorted antipasti. Order by pointing at what you want on the glass shelves, and wash the whole thing down with a glass of wine (un' ombra) or a spritz (made with, in order of bitterness and alcohol content, Aperol, Campari or Select). Bear in mind that as soon as you allow yourself to sit at the table and be waited on, instead of ordering and consuming your food at the counter, the prices for the same items go up - you can end up paying double. If you look at the (government-mandated) chart of prices stapled to the wall near the bar, you'll see 2 columns of numbers, accommodating this arrangement. However, sitting is worth it if you plan on staying a while. Some places will also serve bread and water for seated patrons, but then there is usually also a small charge for "pane e coperto" (bread and cover charge).
If self-catering, the Rialto food markets are an absolute must for fruit, vegetables, and cheese, but most of all for the huge range of seafood, much of it fresh out of the lagoon and still moving! There are a variety of small stores around the city that sell fruits and vegetables, but tourists will be hard-pressed to find them. Anything else you will find in the one of the few supermarkets in the city.
Head to the Dorsoduro area of Venice if you want to save a few euros. It is located on the south side of the city. It has the highest concentration of places where locals, especially students, go to eat. Generally staying away from the main squares will be the cheapest option. If you're willing and able to walk around the town, some back streets offer the best food for the lowest price. Seeing the city from this vantage point is a lot of fun too!
  • There are a few supermarkets in the city, so if you are in the need to save some money, these are an option as they serve a wide array of prepared and semi-prepared food. On the main street from the station to the Rialto bridge, there is a Coop and a Billa supermarket.
  • "Pizzeria ae Oche" is a local establishment with several locations in the city. The food is plentiful and the prices reasonable. On Calle del Tintor south of Campo San Giacomo dell'Orio, In Santa Croce.
  • "I Tre Mercanti" For your dessert head here, they offer some amazing Tiramisù. The place is also a classy gourmet shop but doesn't feel intimidated, the staff is super friendly and the products even if they are all top quality are ranged for all kind of budgets. They are on Ponte della Guerra just behind Saint Mark's square (see links and details in the shopping area).
  • "Pizza al volo" sells superb pizza. It is by the fresh fish stall under a green awning.
  • "Cip ciap", on Calle del Mondo Novo, by Campo Santa Maria Formosa, also sells delicious takeaway pizza by the slice (or slab) at similar prices. They also serve very tasty mini pizzas per kilogram.
  • The "Brek" is a cafeteria style restaurant. There is one close to the train station and another at the Marco Polo airport.
  • "Dal Moro's - Fresh Pasta To Go" sells amazing takeaway homemade pasta. Located on Calle De La Casseleria 5324, a narrow sidestreet between Campo Santa Maria Formosa and Basilica di San Marco. The narrow street usually gets crowded with tourists queuing up to buy pasta in peak season.
  • Venetian snacks (cicchetti) can be brilliantly inventive, in small "tapas-style" serving sizes. Look for places (especially wine bars) popular with non-tourists, the prices are very reasonable.
  • There are still many small bakery shops and "biavaroli" where you can buy bread, cheese, etc., particularly near the Rialto market area. If you want to buy water (Venice has excellent free tap water easily accessible at the numerous fountains located outside throughout the city) it is usually cheapest to get it at the supermarkets: there are Billa or Co-op stores located throughout the city, though supermarkets are often "disguised" in nondescript buildings in Venice for space limitations.
  • La Bitta, Dorsoduro 2753A, calle lunga, san Barnaba, +39 041 523-0531. This busy but friendly restaurant is in the more studenty area of Dorsoduro, and attracts a mixture of locals and tourists. They have some excellent Italian dishes, which are reflected in the prices, plus they have a great selection of wines. Meals served 18:30-23:00, closed in August.
  • Osteria Al Cravatte, Santa Croce 36/37 (500m east from Piazzale Roma). This little restaurant is frequented by the professors of the nearby university. Warm welcome and a good eat. Try their raw artichoke salad or their fish of the day. 
  • Do Farai, Dorsoduro 3278 (100m west of Cà Foscari), +39 041 277-0369. Very fresh shell fish. Taste their spaghetti al dente with razor shells.
  • Osteria Enoteca Ai Artisti, Dorsoduro 1169A, +39 041523-8944. An excellent restaurant, small but comfortable with a few tables alongside a tiny canal. Food is fresh and delicious, not too expensive. Large selection of wines. Menu changing daily.
  • Gianni, Zattere 918. +39 041 523-7210. This is a very friendly family restaurant overlooking the Guidecca Canal. The wine selection is good with many available in a choice of 250mL, 375mL and 750mL bottles. The interior is almost art deco and surprisingly light. It is used by a lot of regulars, both local and returning tourists. They are closed on Wednesdays and between Christmas and Festival.
  • Osteria Mocenigo, Salizada San Stae (near the Mocenigo museum), +39 041 523-1703. Tu-Su. Little restaurant frequented by locals. Be sure to try their antipasti. Excellent desserts too.
  • Pane Vino e San Daniele, Campo dell'Angelo Raffaele, Dorsoduro 1722. A short walk from the Vaporetto stop at San Basilio on the Dorsoduro. Delightful trattoria with cozy Alpine interior and piazza seating in good weather, featuring a menu of Puglian, Sardinian and Venetian specialties. No fish, excellent wines and a highly trained dessert chef, with gluten-free, dairy-free and diabetic options available on request. Good English, Spanish, French, and German are spoken by the friendly owners.
  • Timon (eno - ostaria), Fondamenta degli Ormesini (south-east of the Jewish Ghetto). Warm and local atmosphere in this little osteria where they serve great Italian vintages by the glass. If you're adventurous, try their tasty tripe. Good music inside, some table by the canal in the summer.
  • Trattoria Dai Fioi (Trattoria Dai Fioi), Via Miranese 9\A, Venice Mestre (Follow Via Piave from the railway station), +39 041 983395 ( 7 days a week. Small trattoria offering dishes with products sourced from the local area of Venice, Italy.
  • Al Vecio Canton, Castello 4738. Just 8 minutes from Piazza San Marco (200m NE), this small and atmospheric restaurant/pizzeria will absolutely enchant you. Famous for its traditional style pizza and seafood pasta, you will not only get it all at affordable prices, but you're also served by a most friendly and hearty staff. They top it off with a free homemade digestivo (mostly vodka and lemon) at the end of your meal, just to make 100% sure you'll be coming back for more.
  • Trattoria Veneziana, Sestiere Santa Croce, 285 (200m SE of Piazzale Roma), +39 041 710749. Warm welcome, good cooking (try their mixed grilled fishes), frequented by locals and tourists.
  • Antico Dolo, San Polo 778. An old seafood restaurant close to Rialto bridge: food comes from the adjacent Rialto Market daily.
  • Al Giardinetto, Castello 4928. Just behind the Piazza San Marco, this restaurant has a large private courtyard welcoming guests during good season. Seafood courses and Venitian specialties are served by Severino family.
  • Vino Vino, (between La Fenice Opera House and via XXII Marzo), offers typical Venetian cuisine and snacks at medium prices. The largest selection of top-quality Italian and imported wines (over 350) available by the glass or by the bottle.Close to St. Mark's Square, it is a unique place that can exist only in Venice, where backpackers chat with baronessas, gondoliers with golfers, and where Venetians discover new vistas. Open non-stop from 11.30 to 23.30. +39 041 241-7688.
  • Il Refolo, S. Croce, 1459, 041.5240016. Nice restaurant at a small piazza. Very good pizza.
  • Al Poggio, Ponte delle Guglie Cannaregio 1305, 041 716157. Italian cuisine with gluten-free menu. 
  • Al Teatro Goldoni, S. Marco Ponte del Lovo 4747, 041 5222446. Restaurant with tavola calda (prepared hot dishes sold by weight) and gluten-free pasta.
  • Antico Martini (since 1720) A luxury restaurant, favorite among the famous names of culture and business, the Antico Martini also attracts expert gourmets and famous personalities since the 1800s who come to enjoy unforgettable flavors. Beautiful detail and restaurant decor, romantic atmosphere. Address: Campiello della Fenice, S. Marco 2007, Tel.(+ 39) - 0415224121 or 041 5237027 Fax (+ 39) - 041 5289857 Open all days.
  • Restaurant Antiche Carampane, San Polo 1911, phone +39 041 5240165. Situated in the heart of Venice, only steps away from the Rialto Bridge, is this renowned restaurant where distinguished Venitian cuisine is served in a familiar setting.
  • Restaurant La Caravella, Via XXII Marzo 2398, phone +39 041 5208901. Historical place, very near St. Mark's Square, known since the '60s and has become a must if you like traditions. Open every day all year round, offers, together with some typical dishes a large selection of wines. From May to September service is in a traditional courtyard.
  • Do Leoni, Hotel Londra Palace. Amazing food, for a really quite reasonable price, if you consider other prices in this city.
  • Do Forni, near St Marks. Very expensive and not really very nice food.
Cake shops
  • Pasticceria Tonolo, Dorsoduro 3764/5 (Crosera San Pantalon, 400m east of Piazzale Roma), 041 523 7209. A 120-year-old patisserie. Taste their cake with crystallized fruits or their marzipan cake.
  • Bar Pasticceria Gilda Vio, Rio Marin 784, S. Croce. Best tiramisu, at least in S. Croce.  
  • Bar Pasticceria Rosa Salva, San Marco 950, +39 041 521 0544 (, fax: +39 041 520 0771). One of the oldest pastry shops in Venice, where you can enjoy fresh pastries, cakes, and sandwiches, as well as buy hand-made chocolates and sweets. If you need a cake for a special occasion, this is the best place to order a beautifully decorated masterpiece. During the Carnival time, don't miss out on their frittelle (donuts with cream, pine nuts, and raisins).
Ice Cream
You will find ice cream all over the city, and you will hardly survive a hot summer day without.
  • Alaska, S. Croce 1159 (close to the railway station), 041/00715211. 14-24 roughly. Ice cream made with natural ingredients by Carlo Pistacchi, not only the owner but an artist, a poet, and a philosopher. 


  • Try a Spritz (with either Campari, Select or Aperol mixed with Prosecco wine and Seltzer), a typical drink loved by all Venetians that's usually drunk while eating cicchetti. You can find it in almost every bar in the city.
  • Try the famous Veneto grappa, tastes strong but is 40-50% abv.
  • The Bellini was invented in Harry's Bar in Venice. It is a mix of white peach juice and Prosecco (the ubiquitous Venetian Champagne-like sparkling wine). Fermented at a low-temperature Prosecco develops amylic aromas (fruit drops), though these perhaps mix better with fruit juices than does the more austere Champagne. Classic Bellinis should never be made with Champagne. Although by normal standards expensive, a Bellini in Harry's Bar is still much cheaper than on the terraces of similar '5-star' establishments in the city.
Coffee is everywhere in Venice, and both Venetians and the tourists avail themselves of the opportunities, usually by downing a quick dose at the counter (see warning about sit-down prices above). Rule of thumb: the bigger (and shinier) the espresso machine, the better the result. One of the favorites is the mini-chain "E Rosa Salva", with three locations in the center - on C. Fiubera (from Piazza San Marco, take the underpass in the middle of the arcade, cross the bridge and take second right off C. Fabbri), Merceria S. Salvadore (off the campo of the same name), and right on Campo San Zanipolo (to the right of the church looking from the canal); the last one is a gelateria as well.

Night Life
There are two late-night drinking areas in Venice. Piazza San Marco is not one of them. Although it is very pleasant and there are many people wandering around late. But the actual late night scene is in either Campo Santa Margherita, near the University Ca' Foscari in Dorsoduro; or in Erbaria on the West side of the Rialto Bridge where the main vegetable market is held during the day.
Although there are many fantastic bars in Venice, if you're planning a nighttime "pub crawl" you should plan a few places to visit in advance, otherwise, it's very easy to waste an hour wandering aimlessly in search of a watering hole that's actually open (especially midweek).
Locals in search of nighttime entertainment mostly head over the bridge into Mestre or hop the boat to Lido. One exception: F.ta della Misericordia, in Cannaregio (north from the Ghetto over the Ghetto Nuove bridge, turn right), features several bars in succession, anchored by the Paradiso Perduto (Cannaregio 2640; a restaurant by day, live music on Sundays starting at 9), along the canal. In season they are spilling over after dark with youths holding large glasses of rosé, while more of those same youths are cruising (in motor boats) blaring rap songs in Italian from the loudspeakers. The cafes and bars lining the expansive C. Santa Margherita are catering to the students from the nearby university; chill out to reggae sets in Caffé Rosso (Dorsoduro 2963), or dance (Saturdays only) at Round Midnight (Dorsoduro 3102).

  • Devils Forest Pub. A traditional English style pub with a very fun atmosphere. It is located near the Rialto Bridge and tucked into a small alley near the Disney Store.
  • Pub Taverna L'Olandese Volante, Campo San Lio, Castello 5856, Venezia, ph +39 041.5289349. It is located between The Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco. During the summertime, there are tables outside when you can easily sit and rest after a day of wandering around this marvelous city. What is more, during the day pasta and other typical dishes are served at a budget price.
  • There are two Irish pubs in Venice. One is located along the Strada Nova in Cannaregio; the other one is the Inishark just before Campo Santa Maria Formosa.

Shopping in Venice, Italy

Most people who take the time to tour the "Floating City" of Venice are interested in finding at least a few mementos by which to remember their experience and/or unique gift items to give out to friends and relatives who could not be with them on their journey. In Venice, there's no shortage of places for the tourist to shop, though most places are very upscale and are priced accordingly.
Those wishing for more affordable fare can find it at low-end trinket stores and mid-market boutiques scattered here and there throughout the city. At the Rialto Market, for example, you can find relatively cheap T-shirts and toy plastic gondolas. Most of the shops of Venice, however, specialize in local artisan products, the big-names Italian fashion and everything “boutique.”
Some of the best and most famous of Venetian shopping opportunities, according to the categories of their wares, are listed below for your convenience:
  • For Antiques, try the triennial Mercatino dell'Antiquariato if you are in town in early June, mid-September or late December. There are over 100 vendors, and you will find a great variety of unique antiquarian products.
  • For leather goods, visit ruga Rialto, where you will find locally crafted leather bags or Fanny on Calle dei Saoneri for leather gloves in a multitude of colors and styles.
  • If you are looking for Venetian shoes, try Bruno Magli, Mori e Bozzi or Rolando Segalin. The first two have large assortments of high-quality footwear, while the last-mentioned shop is famous for its creatively designed Carnevale shoes.
  • If you need a high-end scarf or shawl, look for Venetia Studium. You will find velvet and silken scarves, shawls, pillows and evening bags that are delicately woven to perfection.
  • For jewelry, visit Jewelry Chimento, where you will find both custom-made and top international designs in the highest quality gold and silver.
  • Antichita Zaggia specializes in both antique jewelry and glassware, and their products are truly works of art. Similarly, Esperienze makes its own pins and necklaces from traditionally blown glass.
  • Venini is the most respected glass maker in all Venice, and you can see their creations on display at the Marco Polo. Also don't miss the antique Venetian Pearls, a kind of glass bead, for sale at Anticlea Antiquariato.
  • For crafts and general artisan products, explore the Murano Art Shop. Local artisans fill it with masks, puppets, music boxes and more — both the traditional and the contemporary.
  • For Venetian masks and costumes, stop by the Atelier Marega. You will also find there exquisite chandeliers, masks, more Venetian glass jewelry, and other crafts.
  • Try any of the several Biblos locations for leather journals, classy fountain pens, specialty papers, and unique artistic treasures.
If you've come to Venice thinking that you won't be able to do a bit of designer shopping, think again! Just like in every major Italian city, you get the big fashion brand names here too. For label clothing shopping, the best area is that around the Piazza San Marco, where you can find Versace, MaxMara, Gucci, Armani, Louis Vuitton, Prada (and numerous more) big names. If you want to shop for clothing or accessories, though, you don't necessarily have to shop through the biggest names in fashion - in the Campo Santo Stefano and Calle della Mandola, you can get less famous or local boutiques, but you can find some excellent quality and/or unique items such as clothes, shoes, wallets, or handbags.
Watch out also for the hand-made paper and the exquisite miniature buildings made by Moro. Watch out for fakes; Moro "signs" his name on the back. Also, beware of fakes and "free" trips to neighboring Murano for its famous glass. (See article for details.)
Tourist Traps: "Coloured Pasta" and "Venetian Limoncello" (not the original Neapolitan one) are not Italian food, no Italian would ever eat them, they are particularly made for tourists, only buy typical regional Italian food in food shops and always check the labels to discover where they have been made. In case it is not stated on the label, avoid the purchase.

Safety in Venice, Italy

"I must see Venice before I die" is a famous saying among many who hope to someday see the famed City of Canals, but staying safe while visiting Venice's many historic and beautiful tourist stops must still take top priority. In general, Venice has a reputation of being a relatively safe city, but it does have some dangers you should be on your guard against, including:
  • An abundance of pickpockets: To keep your money, valuables, passport, and other important papers safe, never store them in a bag, purse or pants pocket. Invest in a body-belt pouch, which you can wear below your shirt. Keeping items out of sight and putting obstacles in the way of snatching them will greatly reduce the risk that pickpockets pose.
  • Financial (tax) Police checking receipts: In Venice (and Italy in general), you need to retain a receipt as proof of lawful (read: properly taxed) purchases, even if it is just a cappuccino. Failure to show a receipt (upon a very rare request) after leaving the premises might result in a fine. In some supermarkets, which offer self-service-checkout, you need to scan your receipt at special exit barriers.
  • No swimming: In Venice swimming in the canals is strictly forbidden: not only because the water may be mixed with sewage, but swimmers and divers who get caught are fined up to hundreds of euros, may be denied access to the town and in some cases criminally prosecuted. Jumping off a bridge can be dangerous, especially those on busy canals.
  • Acqua Alta: means "high water," and can result in several inches of water leaking out of pavements, puddling in piazzas and greeting you just outside your hotel in the morning. Acqua alta is especially prevalent during the winter, but it can strike even during the summer given high tide and/or a little rain.
  • Pigeons in tourist zones: In St. Mark's Square and other parts of Venice, pigeons will crowd the pavement, lie flat to the ground and welcome any bread crumbs you care to offer them. As long as you keep a respectable distance, there is no harm in feeding them. However, be aware that pigeons often carry diseases such as Chlamydiosis, which resembles the Flu in its effects; and Psittacosis, which is much like pneumonia.
  • Narrow, crowded streets: There are streets in Venice so small that only one person can walk on them at a time, and you cannot be sure someone else will not come from the other direction. Even where maps do not indicate a narrow street of this kind, you may well find one, so choose routes carefully and walk on them cautiously. Also, be prepared to cross crowded bridges with care. They sometimes have an odd mix of tourists stopping for a snapshot and locals hurrying home from work, which makes for a somewhat "accident-prone situation."
  • Porters and carts: goods transport is done by hand-pulled carts and the carters are usually in a hurry and mostly they have to reverse their carts on top of the bridges to negotiate the steps. Try to steer clear.
  • Wooden jetties and mooring poles are subject to decay. Watch out for rotten or missing planks and test poles before leaning on them for a better view.
In case of need, you can dial free of charge on any phone 112 (no area code needed) to contact Carabinieri or 113 (no area code needed) to contact the Police.

Language spoken in Venice, Italy

Venetian language, a dialect of Italian, is the most widely spoken in Venice. Most people speak modern Italian, and most of the tourism workers speak English.


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Latest travel blogs about Venice, Italy

Boating Around Venice

In the morning, we took a water taxi from our hotel to the port; it wasn't far. Getting there by boat was expensive, but we had a lot of baggage. We called in the harbor and sailed past our ship, simultaneously examining it from all sides. Here’s a general view of one of the harbors of...

When headed to  Venice. As this ship prepared to dock, we saw the following landscape:    We were planning to see as much of Venice as we could during our visit. To get the island, where our hotel was located, we could go by foot, taxi, water bus, or by swimming. We decided to...
This is the sea passenger port. To the left, you can see the Giudecca Canal in  Venice . Here’s Venice, the central part. Coming from the Marco Polo airport, we passed the island of Murano. Exiting the  Grand Canal . Portside; there’s the Church of Santa Maria della...
While many people would choose to sleep in as late as possible, we got up early. After all, we didn't want to miss the passage of marine ships from the sea to the port, through  Venice . We left the hotel and went to the Giudecca Canal waterfront. The ships’ port call started at...
The last morning of our cruise was clear and sunny, just like the previous days. Here’s the Venetian Lagoon at dawn. This was the almost deserted  Grand Canal . Here’s the deserted  Piazza San Marco . This is a view from the promenade. After leaving the ship, we took a...
Our cruise was especially interesting in terms of the route we took, as we passed through a lot of different places, and even two new countries! It was our second cruise on the  Celebrity , and we enjoyed both trips. The cruise started in  Venice , and I heard that watching ships...
This was the most ambiguous, most expensive, and the most useful cruise. Here is our cruise report: We were leaving  Venice  on a sunny day. I've already taken pictures of the coast from the board of a ship several times, and now I am jealous of people standing on the...