ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What to do in Venice

Updated on February 13, 2012

Venice

Nothing quite prepares you for Venice. You can read about it, see film of it and listen to people enthuse about it, but only when you’re actually on the Grand Canal with the wind in your hair watching a Venetian sunset will you fall under its magical spell.

This is truly a place like no other – a city built on water, where the main streets are canals; there’s traffic, but not as we know it. It’s also a city rich in art, sculpture and music. But there are many other faces to Venice. The shopping here is as good as anywhere in Italy with all the designer names, as well as crafts such as jewellery, glass and fabrics.

There are chic bars and a vibrant nightlife and little surprises round every corner. Wander from your intended route and you could find yourself in a small but beautiful piazza – there might be a little restaurant, a chapel or a shop selling Carnival masks. This is a city for art-lovers and romantics … and anyone who wants a brief escape from the age of the automobile.

Travelling to Venice

By Air

UK airlines, including British Airways, Easyjet and Ryan Air, all fly to Venice. There are also some direct flights from the United States and Canada, but it may be that your airline will arrange a connection to Venice from a major European hub – London, Rome or Madrid, for instance.

The Marco Polo airport is on the mainland about 8 miles north-east of the city. An ATVO blue bus will take you to Piazzale Roma in 20 minutes at a cost of 3 Euros. You can buy a ticket from the ATVO booth in the arrivals hall, or pay the driver.

Alternatively, you can take the orange ACTV No 5. This costs a mere 2 Euros, but use only if your luggage is minimal and you’re not travelling in the rush hour. Once you reach the Piazzale Roma terminal, you could walk to your hotel or take a water-bus (vaporetto).

The quickest and most impressive way to approach Venice is by water, and there are now water taxis (taxi acquei) that allow passengers to do just that from the airport. But they are expensive – it could cost up to 100 Euros. The fares should be agreed on before boarding. Most of the big hotels have their own mooring areas at the rear.

A few flights arrive at Treviso, which is about 20 miles from the city centre. Buses leave from outside the airport terminal for the 30-minute trip to the city centre. There will be no chance of missing the bus as the time-table is linked to the flight schedule, and if the flight is delayed it will wait for passengers.

By Train

It is possible to catch a train directly to Venice from Paris, which is itself just two hours from London by the Eurostar service that runs through the Channel Tunnel. For a really luxurious way of travelling, consider the Venice Simplon Orient-Express which links Paris to Venice in about 20 hours.

Journey in the style of a bygone age with refined dining all the way. The 2-day, 1-night journey London-Paris-Venice costs about £1,500. Arriving by train in Venice is a great moment - the Venezia-Santa Lucia station is located alongside the Grand Canal.

By Road

Someone once said that driving to Venice was like visiting a shopping mall: when you get there, you’ll need to park your car until it’s time to leave.

During high season, you may want to consider parking on the mainland - either near the railroad station in Mestre (where trains depart frequently for Venice) or next to the causeway by the lagoon (where you can catch a boat into the city). This way, you'll avoid the traffic jams that clog the several miles of roadway between the mainland and the Piazzale Roma in Venice.

If you'd rather not park on the mainland, the Tronchetto parking garage offers the best balance between convenience and economy. The 3,500-car garage is built on an artificial island, and it's more likely to have empty parking spaces than the more centrally located (and considerably more expensive) public and private garages at the Piazzale Roma. Tronchetto is also the only place to park in Venice if you're driving a large camper or motorhome.

Venice Travel Tips

Language

Italian, with a Venetian accent. Italian is delightfully easy on the ear and relatively easy to learn. A few polite phrases might break the ice. Try Buongiorno (Good morning) or Bueno sera (Good evening). Come sta? (How Are You?) or Quanto costa? (How much?)

Currency And Tipping

The Italians use the Euro, made up of 100 cents. Tipping is not expected for all services, and rates are lower than those elsewhere. As a general guide, gondolas and water taxis: between 5 and 10 per cent; restaurants: around 2 Euros 50; porters: 1 Euro a bag.

Dress Code

Summer isn’t necessarily the best time to visit Venice. Apart from the crowds of tourists, the air can be unpleasantly humid. But if you are there in July or August, light cotton clothes would be ideal, with some warm jumpers for evenings on the canals. Good walking shoes are a must.

The best time to visit is from late April to early July. In the late spring, it rains less often, the air is mild and the long days allow you to dine out of doors in the light of the setting sun. If you time your visit to coincide with the famous Carnival (February), remember that the Adriatic coast is often cold and windswept.

Take coat, gloves and rainwear. And in the winter and autumn (fall), remember that high tides can cause some flooding of piazzas, so make sure your shoes are fully waterproofed! Except in the very best restaurants, smart-casual is the accepted dress code.

Safety

Venice is not a dangerous city, apart from pickpockets in the most touristy areas. The usual precautions apply: carry money and valuables in a belt or pouch, wear your camera and leave valuables and jewellery in the hotel safe.

Travel

Venice itself is not so big and the best way to explore it is on foot. A good map is essential and it’s useful to locate and remember a few landmarks like the Rialto Bridge and St Mark’s Square to help you get your bearings.

If you do want to go farther afield, you can either take the vaporetto or the motoscafo. The former is big and rather slow, but offers fine vistas of Venice from its open deck. The latter is low over the water and faster, with a smaller deck. You can use it to go to the islands of the lagoon.

The Venice Public Transportation company, ACTV, has a useful website with full details of fares, routes and times.

What to do in Venice

St Mark’s Square

The religious and political centre of Venice since the 12th century. Ringed by chic sidewalk cafes and fancy shops and thronged by tourists and pigeons.

The Basilica di San Marco

A beautiful church consecrated in 832 AD. Contains fabulous mosaics, the Pala d'Oro bejewelled altar screen and the famous four bronze horses.

The Campanile

Venice’s famous bell-tower, standing 325 feet. The view of the city from the top is a must.

The Doges’ Palace

For nine centuries, the seat of the Venetian republic. Take a tour – and choose the public route or the secret route through the dungeon.

The Bridge of Sighs

The linking corridor between the Doges’ Palace and its prisons.

Ponte di Rialto

The most famous of the hundreds of bridges in Venice. It’s a meeting place and a market place and a place to ponder the delights of the city.

The Grand Canal

The main thoroughfare of Venice: a wide waterway lined with beautiful buildings.

Gondolas

There were once 14,000 of the hand-made craft, now there are no more than 400. Take a romantic ride – but be prepared to pay a high price for the privilege.

San Giorgio Maggiore

The closest island to the city, untouched by commerce.

The Lido

The main land barrier between Venice and the open sea. The beach was made famous by the movie Death In Venice.

Venice Video

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      10 years ago from United States

      I would add (1) go to the local beaches, they were very nice; (2) rent the several person bicycle/surreys, which was LOL; and (3) make a point of watching the many glass blowers create their art.   Very nice hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)