“Venice is a walking city,” says Reid’s Italy. “With narrow alleys and no cars, buses, or even scooters, there simply is no other way to get around.” 438 bridges, 183 canals, “impossibly narrow streets and countless steps,” says David Dudley at CityLab, “makes motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, wheelchairs, hoverboards, rollerblades, and just about anything else that rolls useless, if not illegal.” When you see a sign pointing to a major tourist destination, “just go the other way and discover your own Venice,” advises says Reid’s Italy. “Sometimes there will be signs to the same place pointing in two opposite directions. This is both perfectly fine (going either way will eventually get you where you're going) and a perfect example of how convoluted Venice's streets truly are.”
And remember: “Venice is small,” notes Rick Steves. “You can walk across it, from head to tail, in about an hour,” and nearly all of your sightseeing is “within a 20-minute walk” of the Rialto Bridge or St. Mark's Square. Here are his key considerations: “Ninety percent of tourists congregate in a very narrow zone in the center. But even the most touristy stretches of the city are almost ghostly peaceful early and late. Maximize your evening magic, and avoid the midday crowds around St. Mark's Basilica and the Doge's Palace. If you arrive in Venice late in the day, try taking my guidebooks' self-guided Grand Canal cruise and St. Mark's Square tour (both are also available as free audio tours). These sights are more romantic and much less crowded after dark — and they provide a wonderful welcome to the city.”
“Do as the Venetians do and stroll along the Zattere,” recommends the Louis Vuitton Guide, “enjoying the view of the Palladian churches over the water.” The Guide suggests five excellent walking tours, including one tracing Hemingway’s footsteps, while local resident Jo-Ann Titmarsh describes ten, hour-long neighbourhood walks in her detailed Venice Walks. Accompanied by isometric maps they’re easy to follow and combine interesting sightseeing with pit-stops at neighbourhood bars and shops. And free, daily walking tours are run by local non-profit, JM Walking Tour, with the aim of introducing visitors to the lesser known parts of the city. From the Rialto Bridge to historic dockyards and the Venetian ghetto, these sociable strolls will introduce you to the city and fellow sure-footed travellers.
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