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Making the most of your time in Venice: A guide

Once home to a wealthy empire of merchants, Venice remains relevant today. Despite the crowds, it continues to top the bucket lists of many travellers. If you pine to walk its alleyways, sail its canals, and eat its food, this blog is for you. 

Below, we’ll share tips that will help you make the most of your visit to this legendary destination.

Consider visiting in the off-season or shoulder season

During peak season, the crowds (and the heat) can become quite overwhelming. Unless you’re fond of sweating and waiting in queues, we suggest visiting outside the summer months.

In spring (March-May) and fall (September-November), crowds are tamer, and the weather is lovely. If you’re an introvert, bundle up and visit between November-March. Whilst crowds can pick up during Carnival and Easter, you’ll often have large tracts of the city to yourself.

Don’t miss St. Mark’s Basilica or Doge’s Palace

If you’re pressed for time, planning an itinerary can be an enormously difficult task. Whilst you stress over which highlights to axe, do NOT cut Doge’s Palace or St. Mark’s Basilica. St. Mark’s is ornate, over 900 years old, and an excellent example of Byzantine architecture. Doge’s Palace, decadent in style and scale, was once home to the doge, ruler of the Venetian Empire. 

Unfortunately, both are tremendously popular. Don’t wait in a queue, though – organise a tour beforehand. 

Among the various agencies operating in the tourist market of this marvelous city, an authentic pearl renowned in the world, it is certainly to recommend the Anglo-Italian Avventure Bellissime, which organizes trips for over twenty years along the entire Italian peninsula, but which has the main office in Venice.

In a very few cases, as for the agencies that organize tours, the good reputation confirmed in years and years of activity and the deep knowledge of the places have a central importance: so, look at this offer, you will find without doubt the solution that best fits your needs. 

Through this company, you’ll get “Skip the Line” tickets. These will get you inside straight away, much to the chagrin of those in line. 

Go on a gondola ride

Yes, it’s a well-worn cliche. But, honestly, taking a gondola ride is an experience you’ll remember forever. These rides can also be breathtakingly expensive.

As such, be prepared to haggle. Counter the gondolier’s offer with a (much) lower price. If they refuse, walk away. Often, the cost will begin to disintegrate magically!

Eat where the locals do

Typically, it’s not too hard to find local eateries abroad. Walk five minutes from a major tourist street, and you’ll find spots where residents eat out. However, it’s a more trying task in Venice. Only a third of the population are permanent residents – only about 60,000.  

Twenty million people visit Venice every year. So, as you can see, finding a real locals haunt in Venice can be difficult. However, if you follow our advice, you’ll be able to find one of these fabled eateries (as well as lower prices.)

First, avoid anything in or near St. Mark’s Square. If an establishment has large signboards and wait staff that try to draw you inside, don’t eat there. Second, as you walk the alleyways of Venice, keep your eyes peeled for “bacaros.” These are taverns that cater to locals.

If the menu is only in Italian, you’ve found a local spot! If you have nothing else, try some Cicchetti – these are finger foods or “Italian-style tapas” served with drinks.   

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