Most people gather in the Piazza del Popolo for the festivities there. There are a few concerts going on in town also but the majority will be in Piazza del Popolo.
What to do in Venice? You could just walk, walk, walk down the beautiful streets, drinking poetry of one of the most amazing cities in the world, for months -- if you have soul, that is.
I agree about the Rolling Venice card and also the Venice Museo Card, which gets you into all the big and also all the little museums. You can get one at the big museum across the square from San Marcos Cathedral (I forget what the museum is called, but it's huge and directly across San Marcos Square). Going to the little museums will really get you away from the crowds and into local areas. We got lost and asked several locals how to get here or there and even though we spoke English and they spoke Italian, they knew what we wanted and on two occasions, we were personally escorted by locals to our destinations! The locals are super friendly, helpful, and will go out of their way to help you. And yes, don't be afraid to get lost. The whole place is interconnected so eventually you'll come back to start.
Venice is absolutely amazing. Yes, it's expensive; yes, it's touristy; but it's also got amazing art, culture, history, and food (if you know to avoid the touristy places). I suggest you get a Rolling Venice card -- it'll get you into all the tiny churches that you would otherwise avoid due to multiplying costs, for instance. My other suggestion is to put away your map and wander. Get lost. It's not scary or dangerous (as a young, single female traveler I should know). What's the worst that can happen? You'll wander into the sea? I got lost and found the most amazing series of churches, shops, and bars. The only problem was that I've never been able to find them again since. My last hint is to say "Buon giorno" to the locals. Be nice and you'll find that Italians are (on the whole) the most awesome, generous, and friendly people.
Be aware, travelers -- most places do not take credit cards, only cash. That means for 75% of those places that they are illegal and do not pay taxes.
Venice is a beautiful lady. But Venice is as well robbing people's money. They charge 6 to 8 Euro an hour for internet, 9 to 12 Euro for a washing a load and drying, and up to 35 Euro for a hostel bed. Be prepared to pay more than in other expensive cities. Tip, if you crave a cappuccino, drink it standing at the cafe's counter -- costs between 1.20 and 1.40 Euro instead 2.50 Euro sitting down. Look in the side streets for cheap bars and restaurants. That way, you have a cheap stay and save money for more travels.
Venice is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. I wanted to stay forever, and I was so sad when I had to leave. The best thing about Venice is that it is a walking city, so you can feel free to explore the entire area. Look at everything and take it all in.
I have visited Venice six times, as I think it is the most beautiful and unique place I have ever seen. I have been to every continent in the world and I still get drawn back to Venice. The history, art, culture, and romance of this city is truly remarkable. The food is superb, but the food in all of Italy is superb anyway. My favourite city, my favourite country -- if you appreciate the best go see for yourself.
Margaret Wilson - Sydney, Australia.
We stayed only a week, and so now we're planning a visit of two months.
Please reread history and you will realize that you need to stay in Venice not two days but two years to appreciate what the town has to offer! Venice is not Disneyland! Every stone is a piece of true history here. If you don't like culture and art and architecture, stay at home. Please pay respect to Venice, bow to Venice and all that Venice offered to the world, from Vivaldi to Tiziano to Casanova and learn to appreciate Italy. Italy is history.
Venice is a must-see for Italy.
Venice is love -- Paris is just an illusion. Make sure your gondollier can sing -- most don't. The one I recommend is Mauro. Ask around the other gondolliers and they will point you to Mauro.
referring to the hotel Al Gallo, 3 stars category: it's a pity the hotel would very nice, proper and well-located, nearby the railway station and in a delicious part of Venice, it wouldn't be for the service: the welcome was quite horrible, and during the evening the same man argued about the wasted water having the shower!! then spending 100euros he should be politer and permit a second round of coffee in the morning, if one would like, isn't it?
eleonora bocchi e loris
Don't be a tourist. Stay at Cannaregio District or Dorsoduro. Find a small studio apartment. Eat at local coffee bars and ignore the stares. Have breakfast at local bar anywhere in the island and get a daily good coffee. Find Le Cafe in Campo St Stefano at the foot of Accademia Brigde and order hot chocolate at the bar -- it's cheaper. Order any drink at the bar. Don't be afraid to get lost. You'll find surprising local restos and bars and you won't get robbed.
Interesting, but navigation system is a little bit confusing.
Yes, yes -- you will get lost. But just enjoy yourself -- once you get lost, you'll see the best stuff. Really though, if you pick up a good map, it's not too difficult to navigate around. Do beware the mosquitos -- I got bit all over, about three weeks ago, and the bites were huge and scary looking. I still have red marks, although the swelling went away. The food prices are outrageous and the quality mediocre, and always ask how much something costs before ordering -- my husband ordered a beer, regular size, and it ended up costing eight Euro! Oh, and the "sarde en saor?" Skip it, unless you have an affinity for cold sardines. But you have to see Venice at least once in your lifetime! It is breathtakingly beautiful and one-of-a-kind. Definitely go, no matter the mosquitos or food costs.
Venice is lovely once you get over getting lost all the time. It would have been better to go with someone as getting lost by yourself is worse. I found the people really helpful. I would have gone to Venice to see the Guggenheim collection -- it moved me to tears and a definite must for modern art lovers.
I hated it. Dirtiest and stinkiest place in Europe.
Most accomodations are not near the train station, but that's a bonus. Since Venice is comprised of tons of little islands, if you want to stay in the heart of the city, then you would want to stay away from the train station anyway. The walk from the station to the first real bridge bringing you into Venice is great (you can't get lost, it is one winding road) but once you cross the bridge it can get confusing. Just be polite and ask a local for help (or point on a map) and you shoud have no problem. As touristy as it is, take a gondola. If you can find an open post in the middle of the day, go for it (most people try to do early morning or early evening) and because there wont be a long line, you may be able to negotiate the price. And of course, in the evening you must go to Piazza San Marco, one of the best piazzas in Italy to see the church, listen to live music, and have a good meal.
Venice is beautiful, but very expensive. Don't waste your money on water taxis, and if you really need to try a gondola, use one of the traghettos which take you from one side of the Grand Canal to the other - only 50E! And for cheap food, check out the Cafe dei Frari right across from the Santa Maria dei Frari church. There's no pricelist outside so you know it's cheap - I got a panini and drink for 5E, and the cafe has super nice baristas and great character. A must see.
We did not like Venice. If you must go, stay for a day or two -- that's all you'll need. People there don't know the word politness. If you have lunch at restaurant, check your bill very good because they like to add things that you haven't ordered.
Venice is beautiful. But be warned it can be expensive and there is a limited amount of things to do. I wouldn't recommend staying more than 2 days. The St. Mark's area is super touristy and so the crowds are large, and prices high. Go there and then move on to other parts of the city (I personally enjoyed the area around the train station). Grocery stores, and cheap Pizzarias/bakeries/sandwhich shops are easy to find so buy your breakfast and lunch there to save on food costs.
Venice is cool and you can do anything there... but there are a lot of pigeons!
We found the supermarket was the best place to get food. Fresh rocket and parma ham was cheap. Ended up making picnic lunches. My favourite thing was just getting lost in the back streets and finding hidden local shops, galleries, and pizzerias. Venice is magic.
Tristan - London, UK
Bring your own food and bottled water--the food and drinks are VERY expensive. Lovely city though, well worth your time!
Venice is breathtaking. You know you are there when your train is the only thing separating you from the blue waters of the sea. Venice can be touristy, but if you stray off course of the tourist venues, the little narrow alley ways become adventures all of themselves. We met many friendly Venetians who were happy to show us their homes. I fell in love with the musicians who serenaded us while we walked down the streets. There are many bridges each with its own unique view of canal-side doorways. Pigeons are plentiful, yes, but no poopy on me. But watch for mosquitoes, I did get bit by one and I am still recovering, but being bitten by an Italian mosquito is charming any day! Ciao!
Denise - Philadelphia, PA
Be careful of where you stay when you go. There are two train stations and our hostel was truly only a 5 minute walk from the station, but it was the Mestre station. We had to take a train everyday which ends at midnight so if you like to go out, be really careful of where you stay. Make sure you visit the islands. They are a different change of pace and you can see them making glass in the factories which is super cool. Everyone is right on the prices, we went to McDonald's once because the food cost so much and the bills always had random charges for stuff we didn't get. Have a good trip!
Truly a magical place! I found Venice to be like an artist's set of a stage. Everything so quaint and individual. Through the magical mazed streets, I will struggle to match this truly unique place!
Venice is a breathtaking city. The romantic vibe is amazing. It is a must when you go to Italy. You don't have to stay long, two days is enough.
Venice is absolutely beautiful. The architecture is breathtaking. This is a must-see city. Go to St. Mark's, it is free to visit inside but photography is not allowed. But it is magnificent, breathtaking inside. The Piazza San Marco outside the basilica is also very nice. Just walking around is nice. Beware of water taxi drivers trying to get your fare - for a similar price you can get an all day ticket on the ferries. These guys will catch you as you enter the city and show you which way to go - to their taxi. Ignore them and get a ferry. It is worth catching a ferry and staying on it to see the city from the water. Everything else is very expensive. Beware of restaurants who display a price list out the front - they will charge heaps for drinks (even soft drinks) and for "services" and even for "complementary" food. Venice is absolutely amazing. Put it on your list.
We did not like Venice. Very very pretty, but nothing to do and millions of pigeons (I got pooed on). If you must go, stay for a day or two -- that's all you'll need. Very very expensive.
Don't bother buying a travel card, Venice is so small you can walk around easily and it's a nice way to see the city.
When dinning out watch out for "complimentary" copperto. It will cost you *only* 3 euro/person.
When you arrive in Venice go to the tourist info booth and get a "Rolling Venice" card. It's worth the price just for the money you save on vaporetto passes alone.
Venice is a truly magical city. It is always bustling with tourists, especially in summer, however the city is so beautiful that somehow this does not detract from the overall experience. It is renowned for its architecture and the beautiful canals, which make the city what it is. Known as the Floating City, it is easy to see why, as the buildings just seem to float and the only way to travel is by boat, water taxi or gondola.
There are quite a few Venice hostels to choose from. If you are looking to stay in dorm style hostels, there are a few hostels near the train station. Or there are hostels that provide mainly private room style accommodation. Most offer a deal on dinner, or a small free breakfast. The main train station is called Venezia-Santa Lucia, which is on the historic part of the island, whereas the other station, Mestre, is located a bit further out.
The Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco are major tourist attractions that you cannot miss. Piazza San Marco is the main square in Venice and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The square is comprised of St. Marco's Basilica, and the Campanile, a prominent clocktower overlooking the open square. If you want to enter St. Marco's Basilica make sure you cover your shoulders, as they will not let you in otherwise. You can shop for at some of the beautiful shops for Murano glass items or jewellery, eat a gelato, or enjoy the architecture. Watch out for lions statues and lions adorning the buildings, it is the symbol of Venice.
Venice has something for everyone. Seafood is the traditional food of Venice and can be quite expensive, however pizza and pasta is generally not too expensive and quite delicious. Ask your Venice hostel about suggestions for where to eat cheaply.
The shopping and souvenirs in Venice are quite excellent. Genuine Venetian mask stores occupy every corner, they will have a seal on them if they are made in genuine Venetian style and technique. You can take a water taxi or water subway to the nearby island of Murano, if you want to view some glass being made. The glassmaker heats silica to a high temperature and you can watch as he shapes it. If you have a bit of extra money on hand, you can barter with a gondolier for a 30 minute or hour long gondola ride. It is an amazing experience, and your gondolier will act as a tour guide pointing out famous houses and bridges. If you're a romantic, rumour has it that if you kiss a loved one on a gondola at sunset under the Ponte di Sospiri (The Bridge of Sighs) you will be together forever.
Venice hostels tend to fill up quickly, especially during the summer, so be sure to book your bed or room in advance.
Hi, I'm Shannon Neuber,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Venice hostels. Welcome.