Jessica Spiegel is a Portland-based travel writer who has yet to meet an Italian city she doesn't like, but she has a particular affection for the canal city of Venice. Here are 10 of Jessica's hints to help you fall in love with Venice, too.
is one of the world’s most romantic cities, but as far
as I’m concerned the word “romance” in Venice
applies to more than just wandering arm-in-arm with a sweetheart.
To me, romantic Venice means quiet piazzas,
local markets, and water in narrow canals lapping the edges
of crumbling buildings – and while I love sharing those
things with my husband, in some ways I prefer being in Venice
by myself. Traveling solo to Venice gives my mind more of
an opportunity to wander into its wild places, and before
I know it I’m imagining life as a 16th century Venetian
courtesan… Romantic Venice is as much a state of mind,
as it turns out, as a physical place.
can’t get lost in Venice but you should try...
of the best ways to find romantic Venice is to get off the
main tourist track in the city and get as lost as you possibly
worry about getting dangerously lost – you’re
on an island, after all, there’s only so “lost”
you can get, and on top of that Venice is incredibly safe
for aimless wandering. Each day as enormous tourist crowds
pour from the cruise terminal or the train station to St.
Mark’s Square and back, it might seem that it would
be harder to get away from the hordes. The truth, however,
is that the vast majority of the visitors stay on one well-traveled
route, so even during the high season all you need to do is
walk in a perpendicular direction to the “main street”
(taking care not to walk into a canal, of course) and you’ll
feel like you’ve got the city to yourself within a few
lack of nightlife...
the huge numbers of tourists who flood into Venice each day,
is a city with essentially no nightlife. Most visitors are
day trippers, and the number of people who actually live in
Venice is dwindling every year, but anyone who has grown accustomed
to the typically-late Italian dinner hour will likely be surprised
at how early Venetian restaurants close in the evenings (many
are cleaning up the last diners’ tables by 10:30pm).
Restaurants along the main tourist route tend to stay open
a bit later in the high season, but Venice doesn’t have
nightclubs or late-night bars to speak of, so the best thing
for night owls to do in Venice is to take advantage of the
quieter streets and just wander.
has a reputation – several, in fact, and most of them
don’t reflect very favorably on the city. Some
are myths that need to be dispelled (Venice doesn’t
smell, for instance), but some are truths you need to learn
to work around. The rumors you’ve heard about Venice
being overly expensive are absolutely true, although there
are a few things you can do to mitigate the cost of your trip.
Avoid the high seasons of summer and Carnevale, opt for a
hotel that doesn’t overlook the Grand Canal, and steer
clear of the restaurants with tables right next to a canal.
Even if you do all of those things, Venice will still cost
more than some other cities (including some other big-deal
stops in Italy), but as far as I’m concerned it’s
on the islands themselves, not the mainland...
know budget travelers who resist staying on the Venetian
islands because it can be so expensive to do so. Instead,
they opt to stay on the Venetian mainland – also called
Mestre – and take the train or bus out to the islands
to visit each day. The problem with this is that they’re
effectively day trippers, thereby eliminating much of what
makes a visit to Venice so fantastic – especially the
late-night and early-morning wandering. If your budget won’t
allow for multiple nights on the islands, then I highly recommend
you at least consider one night on the islands followed by
(if you’re staying longer) a couple more on the mainland.