When you think of Europe, there are 10 cities that first come to mind and one of them is Venice. The Italian princess is a very popular destination for honeymooners and love birds as well as for everyone who appreciates exceptional architecture, loves picturesque places and has a thing for sinking cities.
But Venice isn’t only about romantic gondola rides, canals and gelato. I’ll tell you some truths that make it overrated but at the same time they don’t remove it from the list of ‘must-see places of Europe’. Quite the contrary.
Staying in Venice is
But you know that already, don’t you? How about skipping the hotels on the actual island and sleep in Marghera instead? There, the prices are more humane and you can actually get a good night’s sleep while avoiding the overcrowded Canarregio and San Marco. And I know what you’re thinking, but NO, a check-in that you think will make you cool, isn’t worth paying 700euro/day/couple. And the amenities and comfort aren’t any better than the less expensive/equal starred hotels across the island. The opposite maybe.
Food for thought: less reservations will make those “posh” hotels drop their prices. You DO have the power and YOU are their target market. Think smarter 😉
Venice is VERY dirty.
I was unpleasantly surprised, I just never pictured that. There are grafittis everywhere! Not the cool street art that we embrace, but the irrelevant, stupid and disgusting ones: Chiara loves Marco, Venezia FC etc. There are also so many plastic bags, bottles, broken glasses, ice-cream cups, plastic spoons and cigarettes everywhere. You get my point – Litter! I don’t know if it’s only the tourists or if also the locals litter around, but it made me sad. The architecture is *TOO* beautiful to ruin it with garbage people! Show some respect.
Gondoliers can be quite rude.
Is it because of their limited knowledge of English? Is it because they are mad at tourists for paying them a courageous 100$ bill for a 35-minute ride – while they think it should be more? Is it because they hate their job? Guess what?! NOT my problem. Also careful because they are super-greedy and for any extra minute or phrase they’re asked to sing, they’ll ask you for extra money. Pick your gondolier really carefully if you decide to go on a “romantic” ride.
Gondola rides are everything BUT romantic.
Watching a grumpy gondolier speaking on their phone, playing with their phone or screaming at each other isn’t what I had in mind. Also the canals are so crowded so you actually don’t feel any more special and are instead sharing your “romantic” ride with many other like-minded tourists. This could be your idea of romance, but my thought involves more private activities 😉
PS: A gondola ride with serenade will set you back 200$.
The food isn’t as good as in the rest of Italy.
It is typical for very touristic places I guess, but I had higher expectations from Venice. I never left dissappointed from any restaurant in Italy or had a bad pizza. But it happened in Venice. Pick your restaurants carefully. Aim for the hidden gems, the trattorias that seem less touristy and have normal prices BUT not extremely cheap (for Venice standards) menu deals. Tripadvisor wasn’t very helpful this time, I had to trust my instincts!
The popular places kinda lose their charm due to the endless crowds.
So many people waiting with a selfie stick at Rialto Bridge for that all important pictyure. So many people queuing outside St Mark’s Campanile for a ride on the top for the necessary panoramic view. The Grand Canal is so busy.. kinda like a sea highway. It’s just not so special anymore. I had to look for alternatives, I had to say something new to all of you. Another route, a more unbeaten path. Don’t get me wrong, all the popular places are popular for a reason – they are exquisite. But it’s like a song.. you get obsessed with it, you hear it all the time and then you’re over it. You want something new. Same here. I have seen sooooo many pictures of those places, gorgeous pictures to be honest. What’s the point of taking just another picture myself? I really needed to explore, to find something new to document!
So here’s what I did, loved and suggest to you
- Stroll around Venice afterhours
After 11pm, when the city sleeps, when the stores and restaurants are closed, when the tourists rest.. then is the time for you to explore! At that time, Venice is quiet, equally beautiful -if not more and most importantly, ALL YOURS! The scenery at night is beyond words and if you have a nice lense, your pictures will be pure perfection.
- Visit the San Giorgio Maggiore church
Instead of queuing outside San Marco’s Campanile, be smarter! Take the ferry and hop to San Giorgio Maggiore islet, at the same name church for less captured panoramas but equally breathtaking 360 views. Did I mention that the entrance is cheaper as well and that there is no queue?
- Eat at Burano
If you decide to skip the gondola ride, I have a better and more romantic use for your money: Trattoria Da Romano, in the square of the beautiful Burano. The staff is great, the food mouthwatering, the feeling priceless! You can ask Mr Robert de Niro, my friend Mick Jagger, Sylvester Stalone or my buddy Giorgio Armani if you don’t believe me when I say it’ll be one of the best food experiences of your life. They’ve all been there, they know..
- Go the opposite way
Dedicate a couple of hours and go the opposite way from the signs that say “Per Rialto”, “Per San Marco”. You’ll end up in pretty little alleys used only by locals, you’ll see narrow canals and take magical pictures, you’ll get to pose without anxiety because nobody will be watching!! You’ll see Venice with a whole new perspective. You’ll love it.
#1 You can see Venice and all its main attractions in 1 1/2 days.
#2 A daily ticket for the water buses is the best thing you can buy in Venice. It costs 20euros per person and the buses take you EVERYWHERE. Unlike actual buses in big cities, water buses are so easy to navigate!
#3 You MUST visit Burano. It’s one of the most colorful places in the world and my personal favorite.
#4 The 2 best places for gelato are Gelatoteca Suso and Gelato di Natura.
#5 You might want to carry an umbrella. If not for the rain.. then for the bird poop. 😛
So now that you know the honest truth about Venice, what do you think? Do you agree that even if slightly overrated, it’s worth paying a visit to? Leave a comment and let me know your opinion!