7 Things to Know Before Traveling to Venice, Italy
I had always dreamt of visiting Italy one day, and one day I did. In 2016, my then-boyfriend (now fiancé) and I flew off to the country, visiting two of the main tourist hubs—Venice and Rome. While I’m an advocate for getting off the beaten path, I’ve always felt the need to see the tourist things first—just to see the places that have become so famous over time. There is a reason those places and spots are renowned.
Venice is a city that is renowned just for the way it operates. What other city is so uniquely beautiful, has been around so long, and with transportation mainly by water? There’s just something about it, and most people feel the same way with the city averaging around 20 million tourists a year. If Venice is on your must-see list, here are a few things to keep in mind before you go!
1. It often comes with a hefty price tag
Unfortunately, this beautiful Italian city is just very expensive. This is of course due to the influx of tourists coming into the city all the time. It also depends largely on where you go and what you decide to do. Hotels are pretty pricey, but you may be able to find decently-priced Airbnbs and hotels. Restaurants can be very high priced, but you can find places that are more affordable away from the crowds. And while you should plan for your costs to be higher, if you do your research or wander off the tourist path you just might save a little more money and who knows, maybe have a little more fun!
2. Everyone’s trying to make a buck (from tourists)
From water taxis to walking guides to roses, most of the locals here will find any way they can to make a buck. This has its pros and cans. Although this happens in other popular Italian cities, we noticed it more so in Venice. One popular trick is with flowers, especially if you’re traveling as a couple. Those holding bunches of roses will often come up to a woman and give her flowers, saying it’s free. But they will then expect money from whomever you are with. On the one hand, as a tourist it can be annoying because it happens fairly often. On the other side, Venice has gotten very expensive and difficult for locals because of mass tourism, so by letting go of a few bucks you’re helping not just that person but the city’s economy as well.
3. It may not be around much longer
Although Venice has always been susceptible to flooding, there has been much more flooding and lagoon concerns within the past 20 years. With rising sea levels, cruise ship traffic, and high tides from the Adriatic Sea, the city receives excessive flooding several times throughout the year. Even now, Venice is under 5 feet of water—the worst flood in 10 years. It’s been claimed that in addition to flooding, the city itself is subsiding, or sinking, at a rate of two millimeters per year. Whether this is scientifically true or not is yet to be determined, however you might not want to wait forever to catch a glimpse of this charming city.
4. Attempting to speak Italian is appreciated
When traveling to any country where the language is different than your native one, it’s always appreciated if you attempt to converse in their language. Although many people might know your language, keep in mind that you’re there to visit their country, so by trying you show appreciation for their culture. If you simply expect others to cater to you and your language, you may end up with unhappy people and unfriendly service. In Venice, this is especially so. Locals get tired of all the tourists, especially those who don’t try to speak their language. So just give it a try—it’ll never hurt!
5. Eating late is the norm
In the U.S., eating is a quick ordeal that is usually done between 5-7pm for dinner. However, in many countries, like Italy, it’s normal for restaurants to be closed for a portion of the evening, not opening up until around 8pm, with some locals joining as late as 10pm. Although your stomach may be telling you differently, try to eat out later than you might do at home—and take your time enjoying your meal—to get a taste of what it means to be Italian. This is easily done when vino is added!
6. You’re better off splitting a gondola ride
Have you always imagined riding on a gondola through Venice, perhaps with a significant other? Me, too! But gondola rides are ridiculously expensive, like most things in this tourist hot-spot. For one gondola ride in 2016, the cost was 80 Euros. Yes—80 Euros. Do yourself a favor, and ask if there’s another person or another couple who’d like to split the ride with you! There’s plenty of room, and chances are you’ll get to meet someone from another part of the world, and hey, you might even become friends!
7. Maps are your best friend
Although small in size, Venice can be difficult to navigate, at least at first. There are many narrow streets that make it easy to lose your way, especially if you’re trying to find your hotel or specific place. Make sure you have a map, either on your phone or a physical one, to help you find your way. It took us quite a while to find our hotel, as it was back down between these tiny alleyway-type streets! If you can’t find where you’re going, chances are if you stop and ask for help, there’ll be someone kind enough to help show you the way.
Did you love this post? Pin it by using the photo below!