When you hear someone mention Venice there are a few things that come to mind, “Wow, that’s beautiful.” Or “Venice really? Isn’t that just filled with tourists?” or “The canals, they’re beautiful” or “I heard the canals smell” … all these things are (kind of) true.
Venice is a city built on hundreds of sandbars and marshes in the middle of a lagoon. It is unique among all the cities in the world, it is simply amazing. The airport was small, yet modern, no doubt to accommodate all the visitors that flood into the city like the aqua alta (high tide) during the late spring and early summer. The tourists who pack the city during the late summer’s oppressive humid heat are also treated to a distinct odor from the watery thoroughfares. The guide books all say the best time to visit is the fall and I agree, fall in Italy is perfect, but our trip to Venice was in the early spring.
The city felt like it was just waking up from a short winter hibernation. A grey sky hung low over San Marco Square and the air was damp. The grand parlor of Venice was our first stop, the map we had said the hotel was just a few blocks off the square and should be simple to get to. The first thing you need to know about Venice is that there is no direct route to anywhere. You turn to the left and the right and the right and the left and find yourself back where you started, or staring at the edge of a canal with no bridge in sight. I have an amazing since of direction and we still wandered like a drunken kid coming back from his first kegger. The best thing is everywhere you turn a picture of beauty is staring you in the face, Venice is a beautiful and wondrous place.
Walking Shoes (You will walk everywhere in Venice)
Vaporetto- If you’re not walking, you’re taking the bus, it’s just this one floats. It follows a fixed route and is easy to follow the schedule. The Vaporetto stops are covered barges tethered to the side of a canal. You buy the tickets in hour increments, not stops. The No. 1 boat is the one that makes all the stops along the Grand Canal and is the one you will most often use to see the tourist sights.
Train Station- If you are traveling by train you want the Santa Lucia Station, not the “Venice” station on the mainland.
Airport-Transport- The walk to the Alilunga Boats (boats that take you to San Marco from the Airport) is only ten minutes outside the arrivals at the airport. You can buy the tickets at VeniceLink.com or in the arrival areas of the airport, or if you have 13 Euros (2009) in cash you can buy it on the boat.