In the last AHA Travel Talk I promised some more info on different areas throughout Italy. I decided to start with a question that I get a lot. Should we go to Venice?
First about Venice….AHHH Venice! Venice is universally considered the most beautiful city in the world. Many would say the crown jewel of Italy. This can be argued, but Venice’s fascinating and unique structure definitely supports that argument. The city is famous for it’s canals built on an archipelago of 118 islands formed by 150 canals in a shallow lagoon. The islands on which the city is built are connected by 400 bridges. These canals and bridges are what create Venice’s magical setting. In the old center, the canals are their roads and every aspect of transportation is on water or on foot. Jumping on a speedboat to taxi to your next stop is definitely unique!
There are many must sees in Venice like the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco to name a couple. But the magic in Venice is away from the touristy area, in the charming back streets and off the beaten path neighborhoods where the locals hang out. Venice is a very walkable city and easy to explore (however, you will get lost...more on that in TIPS). If traveling to Venice in the summer (which is most families only option), you need to know that it will be crowded and very touristy. July will be the most crowded. Spending time outside the touristy area will help.
Venice should definitely be on your Italy list, however, there are many variables to consider. These include how many days are you going, where are you flying in and out, what are your personal must sees in Italy to just name a few. If this is your only trip to Italy, then absolutely Venice should be included!
Fun Facts about Venice:
- There are no surviving records of the exact founding of Venice. It’s considered to be founded in the Roman era by people fleeing other towns. One story dates it to 421 AD.
- Venice used to be it’s own country. Between the end of the 7th century and 1797 it was The Republic of Venice and it was an economic powerhouse.
- Venice is sinking by up to 2 mm every year.
- Over 15 million visitors choose Venice every year
- Venice allowed the 1st female gondolier in 2010. Giorgia Boscolo was the 1st woman to pass the strict exam. She is the daughter of a gondolier. Everyone was not happy about a woman gondolier. Even her father said he still thinks a gondolier is a man’s job. Giorgia’s response was, “childbirth is more difficult.” Ha, love her!
TIPS for Venice:
- Kids love Venice because of the cool and interesting structure. Keep Venice on your list for sure for a family trip. I could argue this for a romantic Italy trip for 2. There is no lack of romance in Venice.
- If traveling in the summer, do NOT stay in the touristy area.
- Upon arrival in Venice, pay up for a private water taxi to your accommodation. This is a great way to begin your Venice experience. If your husband is questioning the cost, tell him he will feel like James Bond! :)
- I get this question a lot: Should we do a gondola ride? The answer is yes! Yes, it is a touristy thing to do, pricey and only about 30-40 minutes but part of the Venice experience.
- Relax and get lost in Venice (literally)! Everyone, I mean everyone, gets lost in Venice. The streets are not marked well and directions can be confusing. Consider it part of the charm. Instead of getting frustrated, stop at one of the many charming cafes for a glass of Chianti or Italian beer! :)