• Alex Gerlach

A Pedacito of Venice, Italy

Updated: Jun 19

Venice is a beautiful but rather small city in Northern Italy known for its architecture and history. The city is actually built on over 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. This creates the notable layout of Venice of expertly constructed buildings broken up by the crystalline waters of the canals.

The crystaline waters of Venice, Italy
The crystaline waters of Venice, Italy

I had a unique experience visiting Venice in November 2019 with two friends. While I enjoyed exploring the city, I learned that not every trip is going to go smoothly. Here are a few quick tips to remember if you’re traveling to Venice:


  1. Stay in or as close to the city as possible. Italy is a huge tourist destination but its infrastructure is questionable. We found it difficult to figure out public transportation systems. Every night we traveled out of the main city to our hotel, we were put on the wrong bus by transportation officials. I implore you to plan your trip well to avoid these issues. But beware: lodging in the city can be very expensive.

  2. Don’t be surprised if you have trouble speaking to locals. We ran into many incidents in the north and south of Italy where people either didn’t speak English or didn’t want to. Because Italy experiences such high tourism, many native Italians don’t like American tourists.

  3. Spend a day in Venice and go somewhere else. Venice is beautiful but really small. The entire city can be explored in just about a day. I suggest spending one day in the city and the rest of the time exploring around it, like the Venice beaches. Or, take a 3-hour ferry ride to explore Pula, Croatia.

  4. Expect long lines when visiting historical landmarks. Because Venice is such a huge tourist destination, it becomes easily crowded. Lines to get inside these landmarks often wrapped around the buildings themselves.


This isn’t to say my trip to Venice wasn’t enjoyable. While the small city can be seen in a day, it’s easy to fill your time with things to do.

We spent most of our time exploring the city by just walking around, which is really the best way to do it. There are hundreds of historical, gothic-style churches, forts, and naval landmarks. Some places require a fee for entry to any exhibition or display inside. However, many churches you can explore freely and they often have art displayed for public viewing.

San Marco Square is the center of the city. It’s a wide-open square bordered by restaurants, stores, and a few famous landmarks. These include the Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, or the Colonna di San Marco. There are also tons of historical constructions like the Porta Della Carta gate, Bridge of Sighs, or the Ponte di Paglia.

Gondolas travel the waterways of Venice, Italy
Gondolas travel the waterways of Venice, Italy

We chose not to wait in the long lines to go inside the Basilica and Palazzo during our stay, but they are free for basic entry. Instead, we went inside various churches we came across on our walks around the city. My personal favorite was The Death of James Lee Byars in a former monastery known as Centro Culturale Don Orione Artigianelli. It features a huge cube covered in gold leaf with a casket inside. The display is meant to encourage reflection of life and death.

The Death of James Lee Byars art installation in Venice
The Death of James Lee Byars art installation in Venice

When we weren’t exploring interesting art exhibits or the side streets of Venice, we spent a good amount of time eating. You can find food around every corner in Venice and getting lost in the city is a great way to find various culinary delights.

Venice is a great destination for travelers eager to explore foreign cities with rich history at every turn. When planning your trip, don’t be afraid to get lost in the city’s maze-like streets. There are many hidden wonders waiting to be uncovered!

Venice was a perfect city to go exploring and get lost
Venice was a perfect city to go exploring and get lost

Thinking about visiting Italy? There is so much to see! Check out our articles from other storytellers to learn more about traveling to this popular destination.

 

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