Venice for Dummies

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We take for granted many things in Venice. In fact, it happens to us all. This city is so famous we have seen it everywhere, from cinema, to television and in pictures; it feels as though we know it. But what do we actually know in reality? Before planning your vacation in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it’s best to consider a few things. 

It’s an island, without cars

Its seems like an obvious assertion, but you would be surprised how often is asked, “how do you reach Saint Mark square by car?” With the only exception of Piazzale Roma, which in fact connects to the mainland by a bridge that is almost 4 kilometers long, Venice is a city without cars. Its not limited traffic, or closed for transportation by wheels, it simply is not accessible by car. The connecting internal streets or vias, are oftentimes physically impossible to pass through by car. You must move by foot, or boat either public or private, along the many canals that cross the street.

Venice and Mestre: same town, different cities

Careful: there could be a problem. The town of Venice includes other cities, even more populated (Mestre and Marghera) than the historical city center. When buying train tickets or booking an apartment, make sure you are talking of Venice’s city center, the island on the lagoon. Venezia and Mestre are very close, but they are two different cities.

Boats are not like cars

In Venice there are many residents that use boats to move about the city, especially during the summer season. But boats aren’t a substitution for a car, not everyone uses them, at least not private ones.  Even though the canals may be busy, especially the Grand canal, it would be difficult to encounter traffic or accidents. Not all students go tot school with a boat, or water-bike, but more likely the waterbus, which is very similar to the concept of a school bus.

Venice has its Residents

For as beautiful and surreal the city is, Venice is a city, truly a real city, with its (always less) residents. Today in fact, 54,000 people reside in the city center. Although it has a disproportional amount of visitors (something around 30 million every year) Venice remains a city in all effects with many homes, offices, and businesses that aren’t exclusively related to tourism.

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