Don’t let avoidable mistakes and hazards spoil your stay! With good travel advice, you’ll easily ‘get it right’ in Venice – one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Here’s our list of top ten dos, don’ts and things to remember:
If you’ve come to see Venice and stay for several days, it is better to find a place in the historic city. There are many advantages, even if the cost is often slightly higher. You can immerse yourself in all those fascinating moments that Venice offers from dawn to late at night, and avoid expensive and time-wasting daily commuting.
Take care near canals. It is very dangerous to go down the steps of the canal banks to take or pose for a photo. The green parts, the algae, are very slippery and it often happens that people fall in the water, risking injury or worse.
Consider this when booking accommodation. How close is it to public transport? Will you have to drag your bags over numerous bridges to get to it? If you’ve already booked, check on the Searchable map of Venice.
Getting lost in the maze of narrow “calli” (streets) is a constant hazard – or for many people a pleasure, as it can lead you to unexpected and beautiful parts of the city away from the tourist crowds. A good map or a smartphone with geolocation is all you need to find your way back.
Sitting on the steps of bridges and churches may annoy everyone, not just the locals, and can result in a fine.
It is strictly forbidden to sit on the ground or eat snacks (other than in cafes) in the whole area of Piazza San Marco (Piazza San Marco, Piazzetta San Marco, Piazzetta dei Leoncini, Molo). Besides this, eating in Piazza San Marco risks a close encounter with hungry seagulls, which can be particularly aggressive if you are eating.
The nearby area of the Royal Gardens (Giardini Reali) is a place to picnic and is equipped for this purpose.
Note that nearly all cafes in Italy have ‘al banco’ (at the bar) prices and higher ‘al tavolo’ (at a table) prices if you sit down. This is not normally a ‘tourist trap’ but accepted practice in Italy. However, in San Marco, the difference in price can be considerable. The same is true of the ‘coperto’ charge in restaurants. Tourists are often not aware that this charge per person may be added to the bill.
Tickets for vaporettos (public water-buses) are more expensive than public transport in most cities, and entrance fees for museums etc mount up. So if you plan to use these services a lot, consider buying a Venezia Unica City Pass Card. Completely customizable, it allows you to easily access the museums of the city and nearby islands, use public transport freely (except for airport transfers) and take advantage of numerous discounts at bars and restaurants.
A small but very eco-friendly saving, especially in hot weather, is possible thanks to the city’s 100+ water fountains and the quality of its water. Venice water – from taps and public fountains – is not only drinkable but comparable to mineral water in taste and purity. Many Venetians never buy bottled water for this reason. You can fill up a single water bottle as you go, thus helping to reduce plastic garbage.
• Circulating in a bathing suit or bare-chested in the city
• Washing at public fountains.
• Sitting in public areas not designed for the purpose
• Throwing or abandoning waste.
• Failure to follow recycling rules (e.g. if staying in an apartment)
• Using bicycles, roller skates or similar means (except on the Lido and other islands with roads, such as Sant Erasmo);
• performing dangerous or troublesome sports or games.
• Using high-volume sound diffusion devices or instruments e.g. ghetto blasters.
• Bathing in the inner city waters (very dangerous, like lying down on a busy road!)
• Climbing on trees, poles, railings, buildings, monuments, public lighting.
• Lying down on benches.