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Travel Guide to Venice, Italy

Posted by in Regional: Countries: Italy  ~  May 02, 2012 10:09:39 AM

It is a city rounded in water, but it is in that location where the charm of Venice lies. Rested on a reclaimed island from the sea, Venice, Italy is divided into several sestiere (that’s district in the Venetian dialect), each with its own appeal and special story.

The main street, the Grand Canal, lies in the heart of this city and towards the northeastern side one will find San Marco, well known for such landmarks like the Basilica of San Marco and Doge’s Palace. San Marco is where traces of ancient Venice still abound, but it has also been turned into a commercial district. One can find many boutiques in this area and it gets a lot crowded during the day.

The south side of Venice is where San Polo is located. History pits San Polo as a very important trade center and it is peculiarly identified for its tangled and confusing alleyways. San Polo is Venice’s red light district and it is home to many artisans.

Cannaregio is Venice’s Ghetto district, where “ghetto” refers to a Jewish neighborhood. Cannaregio has a number of stunning and picturesque churches. The first Jewish Ghetto of the world is found here.

The western part in Santa Lucia is where many railway stations are. It is where one has to go to connect to a mainland nearby.

There are so many magnificent things to see and do in Venice that it may be very hard for one to choose a single particular activity. Each Venetian tourist spot deserves to be recognized and visited, that it is sometimes hard to pick where to go and what to do first.

For first-timers to Venice, however, it is recommended that one take a guided city tour as this helps visitors understand Venice’s unique landscape and history better. There are several package-guided tours visitors can avail. A very popular one is “Walking Inside Venice” which includes about 20 locations showcasing Venice’s Art, History, Lifestyle and other unique Venetian fares.

Those who wish to do some sightseeing on their own can best explore Venice on foot and with the help of a reliable map. It would be best to start with the piazzas in San Marco and the San Marco Square. What’s better is that aside from being one of the most breathtaking cities in the world, Venice also prides itself in being a very secured and safe city. It is no wonder it’s a favorite among tourists. Additionally, helpful locals trained in speaking English, will be willing to assists tourists exploring on their own, if one needs a translator.

Meanwhile, if you’re out for something really truly Venetian, a gondola ride is what we recommend. Although a bit expensive than just walking, this is another way to enjoy Venice’s breathtaking sceneries. Plus, if you want to enjoy something magical, take a Gondola Serenade Tour. This is a 50-minute trip around Venice’s canals and it is accompanied by a band of guitarists and men singing in captivating Italian melodies in their baritone voices.

If a gondola tour sounds too cliché or too extra-ordinary, one may opt to just cruise by world-famous palaces or churches and other similar historical structures using water transportations. Or one may explore the quieter side of Venice, like Dosoduro, while sampling their food, interacting with people and partaking in their culture and traditions.

In the evening, Venice is a lot more peaceful. It’s the perfect time to take a leisurely stroll after a romantic dinner; or just enjoy an espresso in a café, while listening to sweet Italian music.

Some Things to Remember

Water Taxi vs. Water Bus

A water taxi is a ride you enjoy privately, albeit it is a lot more expensive. A water bus is a public transportation. It is also known as a Vaporetto. These transportations may be found in Vaporetto stations and you also need to purchase tickets or pay specific rates, as you would a regular transportation.


Restaurants add around 12-15% service charge but you can also give an extra tip if you like.

Aqua Alta

Aqua Alta, or high tide, takes place during winter months. When waters get alarmingly high, the council erects wooden walkways for public convenience.

Clothes and Shoes

Wear light clothing. Fancy outfits will not work for Venice. Have very comfortable shoes, one that’s good for walking in longer hours.