Venice Italy Travel Guide


Venice Italy Travel Guide
A Vagabond Life

Venice Italy Travel Guide - A Vagabond Life

Living in Venice, Italy, was an unforgettable chapter of my life, spanning two incredible years. My residence, a charming apartment nestled within a majestic house boasting a garden that kissed the canal’s edge, was straight out of a Venetian dream. The ambiance was further enriched by my neighbor, who resided in a grand palazzo. He often hosted classical musicians, transforming his space with the melodious sounds of violins, opera, and piano that floated through the air, especially in the spring when the ballroom windows were flung open.

Venice, for me, was a city of leisure and discovery. Many hours were joyfully spent in our beloved campos, either sipping on a spritz or enjoying a coffee, simply watching life unfold in the serene city. The true essence of Venice, however, lay in its rich history and the joy of getting utterly lost in its labyrinth of streets – this, I found, was the best way to truly discover the city.

The city of Venice often divides opinions sharply; people either fall deeply in love with it or not. Through my observations, the disdain usually stems from visitors not venturing beyond the bustling and overcrowded St. Marks precinct, which is notorious for its packed streets and mediocre, overpriced food.

For those considering a visit to Venice, my advice is to wander beyond the iconic St. Marks Square. While it’s a must-visit landmark, the real magic of Venice is found in its quieter streets and lesser-known sestieri (districts). There, you can enjoy the city’s tranquil beauty in solitude, dine in local trattorias far from the tourist traps, and savor delicious, authentic Italian cuisine at much more reasonable prices. This is the Venice that captivated me, a city brimming with history, hidden gems, and culinary delights waiting to be discovered.

Venice Italy Table of Contents

Venice Italy Map
Venice Italy  Placeholder
Venice Italy

How To Get To Venice Italy

Plane

Venice – Marco Polo International Airport is 13 km away from Venice. Multiple airplines fly into Venice from all over the world including budget carriers such as Easyjet.

How to get from Venice Airport to Venice Italy;

  1. Taxi – a taxi will take you to Piazzale Roma and from there you ether walk of catch a vaporetto to your accommodation.
  2. Bus – Buses run from imediately outside the arrivals hall to Venice Piazzale Roma, tickets can be purchased from a ticket machine at the bus stop for a few euro. Once at Piazzale Rome you will need to either walk or get a vaporetto to your accommodation.
    • Note: Both Taxi’s and Buses take you to exactly the same place in Venice – Piazzale Roma – so there is little to no advantage catching a Taxi.
  3. Water Taxi – Water taxi’s depart from the Aeroporto Water terminal a five minute walk from the airport and can take you the closest to your destination as they can move up and down the smaller canals. Water Taxi’s are a beautiful way to arrive in Venice but are expensive.
Train

Travelling to Venice by train is the simpelst way to arrive as the station – Santa Lucia Venezia – is in the city and right near the vaporetto stops. If you are heading to the historic city of Venice make sure you travel all the way through to Venzia Santa Lucia and do not get off at Venezia Mestre which is on the mainland.

Car

Venice is 100% pedestrainised, cars / mottorbikes etc cannot nter the city. There are large parking stations on the edge of vnice however I do recommend not taking a car to Venice.

Getting Around Venice

Venice Italy is totally pedestainised and walking is the best way to get around the city. Vaporetti (Water Buses) travel up and down the Grand Canal and around the outside of the city. Vaporetto tickets can be purchased at the larger vaporetto stops and there are a variety of tickets to choose from;

  • 1 way tourist ticket
  • 24 hour tourist ticket
  • 48 hour tourist ticket
  • 72 hour tourist ticket
  • 1 week tourist ticket

Things To See & Do In Venice Italy

Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco

Napoleon once called Piazza San Marco (St Marks Square) the drawing room of Europe he was just about right. The first time I walked into San Marco, it literally took my breathe away with the stunning Basilica di San Marco taking pride of place. The campanile dating from 1156 looms in front of the church and the Doges Palace sits in the Piazzetta di San Marco. Piazza San Marco is the only piazza in Venice all others are called campo

Grand Canal

Grand Canal

Venice’s ‘motorway’ the Grand Canal snakes it was through Venice Italy passing the grandest of grand palazzi and houses. It is said Lord Byron used to swim in the Grand Canal, not sure I would be doing that now. To enjoy the views of the Grand Canal take the #1 Vaporetto (water bus) from outside the station all the way down the canal to St Marks.

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari is a huge church that was just around the corner from my house and we often used sit in the square, eat gelati and watch the weddings that took place there. The Franciscans built the church in 1250 finishing it in 1396. Dei Frari (as it is called by the locals) houses a large about of art work by some of the cities leading artists.

Bridge of Sighs

Bridge of Sighs

Well worth a look and the obligatory photo and located just up from St Marks Square. Designed by Antonio Contino the Bridge of Sighs was built in 1600. Prisoners crossed this bridge once they were sentenced and were being taken to jail. Lord Byron named the bridge the Bridge of Sighs after it was suggested that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.

Arsenale

Arsenale

The Venetian empire was once one of the major powers in the world and had a massive and very powerful navy. The Arsenale is where the ships were built to equip the navy. Built around 1104 it became the largest industrial complex in Europe before the Industrial Revolution, covering 45 hectares which was fifteen percent of Venice Italy. This massive structure was surrounded by a 2-mile  rampart. Today the building hosts art exhibitions at various times of the year.

Venice Islands

Venice Islands

There are over 50 islands in the Venetian lagoon, many of them uninhabited. The most famous are Murano famous for its glass and Burano for its lace. My favourite is Torcello a little green oasis in the northern end of the lagoon which was the first island settled in the Lagoon and with the ruins of buildings from that time. Another important Island is Sant’Erasmo which are market gardens that supply the markets with fresh produce

Campi

Campi

The campo’s of Venice are small and large public squares where the locals come together to socialise, drink coffee and watch their kids play. Often you will find a vegetable trader or fish monger selling his wares. I lived right on Campo San Polo which in the winter had a huge ice skating ring built right in the middle, other favourites are Campo Santa Margherita in the heart of the University district with a lively bar scene and Campo San Giacomo del’Orio where we spend hours just enjoying Venice.

Cicchetti

Cicchetti

Think Tapas, Cicchetti are small and very delicious snacks eaten with a glass of wine. Said to come from the Spanish word Chico meaning small Cicchetti historically were served in Bacari (taverns) with the local wine. Some of my favorites are Sarde in Saor (Sweet and Sour Sardines) , Zucchine Ripiene (Stuffed Zucchini) Peperoni con Acciughe (Stuffed Cherry Peppers) Baccala Mantecato (Grilled Polenta with Dried Cod Mousse)Tramezzini (Venetian Sandwiches) Polpetti (tiny meat balls). Wash it all down with a Spritz Aperol.

Sestieri of Venice Italy

Cannaregio: The mostly populate sestiere with many shops and services to cater for the locals. The Jewish Ghetto is in Cannaregio as the second largest canal in the City the Cannaregio Canal.

Dorsoduro: is a quite little oasis with winding lanes, walled gardens and quiet canals. Many artists, galleries and museums can be found in Dorsoduro along with a university. Take an evening stroll along the Zattere, a broad promenade running along the Giudecca canal and looking over the Giudecca Island.

Santa Croce: A lovely quite part of the island Santa Croce is the oldest sestiere in Venice it a pleasant place to wander and get lost in.

San Marco: is the home of Saint Mark’s Square, St. Mark’s Basilica, and the Correr Museum. It is the busiest and most expensive part of Venice and due to the heavy tourism much of the local flavour has been lost.

San Polo: The sestiere I lived and the smallest in Venice. San Polo is where the famous Rialto market and fish market is found along with dei Frari.

Castello: Sits at the tail end of the fish and is an original precinct with few tourists and locals getting on with their lives. At the far end of Castello is Arsenale Shipyarsd and a pretty green park.

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