Gosh this city is pretty, it’s also incredibly overrun with tourists but if you can find a way to deal with them it’s well worth seeing. I’ve seen some very beautiful bits of architecture and some very amusing behaviours of tourists.
You have to be prepared for a few things when visiting Venice. Lots of bridges, lots of water, lots of opportunity to get utterly lost in the rabbit warren like construction of the place but this is all part of the fun as long as your not carrying one of those heavy bits of luggage with wheels. My advice for Venice is to pay for a boat pass valued at 20€ for one day, 30€ for two, 40€ for 3 and so on. It may seem like an initial expensive layout but a single is 7.50€ so if you make use of the Water buses it soon pays for itself and it includes travel to the two other islands of Murano and Burano. I will warn you that the water buses get pretty busy at times and you might have to squeeze on, as always I say to see how to do things watch how some of the older Italian folk deal with the chaos around them.
Venice is expensive, there really is no way to work around that but there are ways to minimise euros leaving your pocket unnecessarily and these tips apply across the majority of Italy. First of all never sit down for a coffee, Italians generally order their’s at the bar and stand to chat to each other or to the server. Sitting down for coffee will most likely incur you a 12% surcharge. Espresso should cost 1.50€ but most will be just 1€. Eating wise again you can get slices of Pizza for about 2.50€ or a yummy Italian sandwich for between 5-7€. Again staying at a bar and eating these will avoid you paying that 12% service charge. If you are sitting down to eat and happy to pay the service charge but want to save money don’t touch the grissini, bread, or olives if they are bought to the table without you asking for them unless your willing to pay for them. Ask for tap water otherwise you may get bottled water which adds to the bill. When paying the bill remember that you probably have paid 12% already so think twice about tipping any more. If you want to do a gondola rise then it’s best to have a few of you to spilt the 80€ fee, this may be able to be negotiated but I didn’t try. Still its not all expensive, they’re are a few exhibitions that are free, the Vivaldi music museum, the current exhibition they have in association with Scotland was free and quite interesting plus quite a lot of the churches don’t charge a tourist fee but watch out for the ones that do, there is usually a sign on the door.
Both Murano and Burano are worth a visit both of which are really pretty and have some excellent places where you can get away from the crowd and just sit by the sea with some lunch. Murano is a lot more touristy with all the shops dedicated to Glassworks and Glass Blowing. It’s fascinating to watch if you can find a good spot and don’t get pushed out by all the other Tourists. I’m too placid and relaxed to even get involved in this kind of thing so I generally don’t bother where there is too much of a crowd. It’s also mildly amusing to sit and watch people pose on the bridges in front of the brightly coloured houses as if the they are on some sort of catalogue shoot. I like to catch people unaware when I photograph them if at all possible. I find too many people pose for a camera, we are all turning into a bunch of narcissistic goofballs if you ask me. Sure it’s fun to pose in front of the camera from time to time but how many selfie’ does a person need? I did manage to capture a few pictures of people eating ice cream which amused me a lot.
My other hint for Venice is a simple one. Give yourself a lot more time than you initially think to get somewhere. The boats can hit traffic and if your booked on a train to go somewhere leave particularly early. You will have to pick up tickets from the train station and if you’re going to queue for them it may take a while. Even pre-booked tickets take time with two separate codes to enter unless you have the QR code to hand and that’s if the touch screen works properly (two that I tried didn’t). Worst of all if you train is running late and you have not picked up your tickets before it should of left then you will have to queue for them in the manual section. You can guarantee by the time you do that you can be sure the train has gone and your money will be lost. If your cleverly detecting that all of these things happened to me then well done for reading through my cleverly worded rant (sarcasm). Shit happens so they say, and it’s only money…
All this to one side I was seriously impressed with Venice, can totally see why people love it, for me it felt a lot more romantic and delightful than Paris. Oh I will be adding some pictures to these posts in the near future but the internet is being a bit funny so I can’t reliably upload them at the moment. Look out for another post that mentions I have updated these.