Venice Mini Guide
Venice is a city like no other and just cannot really be described in a few sentences, it really is one of those places that has to be seen to be believed. Millions of people visit the city but yet it is still easy to find peace and discover the extraordinary buildings and monuments which all tell the history of the city for the last 1400 years.
The most well known places to visit are the Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale and the Guggenheim collection but other places well worth seeing are Ca'Pesaro, Arsenale, Ca'Rezzonico and the Basilica di Santa Maria which all give an extra special insight into this beautiful city.
The busiest times in Venice are from May until September along with Christmas and New Year also during the carnival time in February. Venice is built on 117 small islands and has 410 bridges and 150 canals. There are only 3 bridges which cross the Grand Canal and these are the Ponte dell'Accademia, the Ponte dei Scalzi and the Ponte di Rialto. The city is divided into 6 districts (6 sestieri): Castello, San Polo, Cannaregio, Santa Croce, San Marco and Dorsoduro and date back to 1171.
You can drive your car to Venice and park up, ferries also can transport your car to the Lido. The Lido was a fashionable seaside resort in the late 19th century and still attracts people due to the beach although the water is not too good there due to pollution. In Venice all the public transport is by small passenger ferries (called vaporetto) along the canals. To cross the Grand Canal between the bridges use a commuter gondola (traghetto).
The alternative is to go by foot and the walk from the train station to St. Marks Square (Piazza San Marco) and will take you about 40 minutes, this is the only square in Venice. The Marzarie which is a series of streets around St. Marks is lined with shops and places you can enjoy a coffee, this area is full of tourists but you can venture into the quiet side streets to gain a true Venetian experience.
You can get all inclusive transport cards in Venice so that you can make the most of your stay. There are 2 types of card one of which is the blue card which gives you unlimited use of buses and ferries throughout Venice for 1,3 or 7 days. The orange card also gives you access to the City Museums. Venice can be flooded by high tides which mainly occur between November and April affecting the low lying areas of the city like Piazza San Marco. Serious floods are announced by 16 sirens throughout the city and the announcement is normally made several hours before the flood is expected.
When the floods hit raised walkways are set up in St. Marks Square and the other major tourist spots of the city. Since 1900 the city has sunk by more than 23 centimetres which is partly due to subsidence and rising sea levels - hence its nickname of the Sinking City. A lot of work has been done around St. Marks Square to protect it from the flooding.
For eating out Venice is probably the most expensive city in Italy so you need to choose your trattoria with this in mind. There are lots of little trattorias tucked away in the quieter streets away from the main tourist areas. The main areas for drinking on an evening are in the Rialto Market area, there is an open air cinema held during July and August at the Campo San Polo and of course there is plenty of choice of theatre and opera venues.
To get to Venice by car you take the A13 from Bologna
, the A4 from Padua which connects Turin
. Once over the Ponte della Liberta Bridge cars must be left at one of the car parks on Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto. You will find the car hire offices on Piazzale Roma.