Welcome to Venice, Italy!
A mystical and enchanting place, there is truly nowhere in the world quite like Venice. A land of four hundred bridges, it is steeped with sophisticated history and brimming with unique beauty. It’s also crowded--whether it’s the week of the colorful Venice Carnival or not! Wander through the mysterious alleyways and an impressive network of canals as a worldwide local and uncover the authentic, timeless beauty of the floating city. This is an inside look into exploring Venice as a local does.
Where to Begin in Venice
As you’re getting settled into your Venice hotel, you’ll see that the city is, excessively, crowded during the day, with limited spaces along the canal walkways, where people are jostling for that perfect photo. Instead of delving into the commotion of the crowds, visit the island’s neighborhoods where the tourists don’t set foot. The neighborhoods of Cannaregio and Castello retain a local vibe, unspoiled by tourism. Get lost in the labyrinth of bridges and tight alleys, through quaint balconies, with the smell of freshly washed laundry filling the air. During the evening, you can see the locals communing at small family-run wine bars, and enthusiastically talking about how their day was. This is the true experience of a local Venetian lifestyle.
Worldwide Local Tip: Venice receives an abundance of tourists coming from cruise ships that usually dock just before midday. Avoid places like Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge during this time; instead, visit early in the morning, when there are fewer crowds.
Escape the Crowds at Sant’Andrea
Within the cluster of small islands is a natural getaway from all the claustrophobic streets and the famous Venice canals. The island of Sant’Andrea is overgrown with lush greenery, offering different scenery to the main island. The island is often overlooked by tourists, but it is a playground for locals and those who want to explore the natural side of the city, enjoying the Venice weather while spending a day away from the mob of tourists. Visit the rugged fortification, Forte Sant’Andrea for uninterrupted views of the lagoon.
Worldwide Local Tip: Avoid going to Venice restaurants near highly populated spots, instead, go to a small hole-in-the-wall that serves traditional Venetian fare, the Cicchetti. This is a cheaper and often tastier way of tasting Venice’s food. It comes in small portions and comes in many forms. Cicchetti is the Venetian answer to Spain’s tapas.
Don’t Miss Out on One of the Most Popular Things to Do in Venice
Perhaps the most popular icon of Venice, the gondola, is a romantic way of seeing the city up close. It has been taking locals and astounded visitors through the myriad of narrow canals for thousands of years. You can head to a gondola building yard to witness the art form of how the iconic boats are built. Visit the rustic yard of Squero di San Trovaso as you watch builders, craft their art with their own hands, and hear the clamor of tools that create a gondola. Enjoy the great insight into the industrious side of the island, all without paying a penny.
Worldwide Local Tip: There are people waiting to take advantage of you at the busy tourist spots. Piazza San Marco has many scam artists that’ll give you something for “free” like a rose or a bracelet, but expect to pay after. When you are approached, just politely, but firmly say no and walk away.
Enjoy Your Stay!
Worldwide locals can discover hidden gems away from the mobs of people and the tourist traps while experiencing the dazzling charm of Venice. From the local atmosphere of a community that lives on stilts to its colorful history of trade, visiting Venice will make you fall in love in an instant!