15 Weird Facts You Dont Know About Venice (Deluxe Edition with Videos)

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Venice did not witness its first female gondolier until — when Giorgia Boscolo became the first woman to pass the strict qualification exam. Her success was not, perhaps, a surprise — she is the daughter of a gondolier. But her promotion to the world of blue-and-white striped tops was not met with universal applause. And a church dedicated to St Mark has occupied this spot since — even if the present building was not completed until And yet, for all its age and magnificence, the basilica has only been the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Venice since Prior to this, San Pietro di Castello held the position, and did so with dignity — between and You can still pay it a visit.

The crowds are decidedly smaller. But only if you wander down Calletta Varisco, a street in the Cannaregio district that is just 53cm wide in parts.

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Not unexpectedly, it is the narrowest street in the city. Follow it west to its end, and Calletta Varisco becomes a set of stairs that descend to the Rio del Gesulti. At this point, you will need to retrace your steps — or track down a helpful passing gondolier. As with all festivals held in the run up to Lent — Caribbean Mardi Gras, staged at the same time, is no different — the Venice Carnival has its quirks.

Its tradition for revellers to wear masks of various bright styles frames a certain darkness. The Medico della Peste mask — the unnerving face-disguise which bears avian features and a long beak — is as its name says a reference to the plagues which swept Europe in the Middle Ages. It is supposed to have originated with the 17 th century French physician Charles de Lorme, as a protection against disease. The beak could be filled with perfume and sweet-smelling items, with the aim of repelling the bad odours that were deemed to be the carriers of infection.

Venice is not a lone example of a floating city. It is not even a lone example in the Venetian Lagoon. It is accompanied by Chioggia, which sits 16 miles to the south 31 miles by road. This pretty town has canals of its own, including the Canale Vena, while its Chiesa di Sant Andrea can claim an 11 th century belltower — which, in its own red-brick way, is almost as photogenic as the feted Campanile of the Basilica di San Marco. We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.

Visit our adblocking instructions page. Telegraph logo. Check availability. Provided by. Riviera Travel. We've noticed you're adblocking. Also note that the water-buses are of limited capacity, so you might end up waiting an additional 30 minutes for the next boat. Waterbus route map. Trains from the mainland run through Mestre to the Venezia Santa Lucia train station on the west side of Venice; make sure you don't get confused with Venezia Mestre which is the last stop on the mainland. From the station district, water buses vaporetti , water taxis or a walk can take you to hotels or other locations on the islands.

Direct trains to Venice are available from many international destinations, there are overnight trains from Munich , Paris and Vienna and also a weekly long-distance night train four nights from Moscow via Kiev , Budapest and Zagreb. One of the best ways to arrive to Venice by train is with the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. The local handling agent can do reservations and take care of all the transfers from the train when you arrive. Venice is well-connected with the domestic train network, Rome and Milano are only a few hours away.

Also there are some night trains from cities in southern Italy, though since most services have been cancelled. Cars arrive on the far western edge of Venice, but remain parked at the entrance to the city Piazzale Roma or Tronchetto - Europe's largest car park. There are no roads past this point -- and never were, even before cars. An alternative is to use the car parks on the mainland terra ferma and catch a train or bus or vaporetto into Venice.

Park near the Mestre railway station, and catch a train to Venezia St.

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Don't bother searching for free parking near Mestre train station - there are no free parking spots near, except on Sunday free parking is on the other side of the station, in Marghera. Free and safe parking spots can also be found near the Mogliano Veneto and Oriago railway stations. Besides, Venezia St. Lucia is a good starting point to visit Venice.

Another place for free parking in Mestre is the council car park.

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Those with "Gratuito" are parking lots which are totally free. Many have bus stops right next to them, and many of those buses go directly to Venice without any transfers. Most of the major rental car companies have outlets at Piazzale Roma, at the edge of the city. These are on the ground floor of one of the major parking stations. When you are dropping off your car, you need to find street parking and then walk to the rental car outlet and hand in the keys. Do not park in the parking station! There is a vaporetto stop across the road from the parking station.

If you travel from Treviso airport, ask locals to share fuel to Mestre Station of Venezia Piazzale Roma, or take the local bus to the Treviso train station, and then a train from there. The buses run from the airport until about midnight but stop sooner on the Venice to Airport route. There are also frequent buses that run from Canova airport Treviso and take about 25 minutes to reach Piazzale Roma, which is the main bus station in Venice. From Piazzale Roma, you can easily connect to the place you need to be, by bus, but also if you need to get a train, Santa Lucia train station is just over the bridge about a 5 minute walk note that it can be quite tiring walking over that bridge if you have big suitcases and although there isn't a ramp don't know why , there are wider steps that are not as harsh as the main steps to walk up.

There is also a wheelchair stair lift for those requiring it.

15 Weird Facts You Don't Know About Venice (Deluxe Edition with Videos)

From Mestre , you can take a bus to Venice - Piazzale Roma. Please note that the ticket prices tend to increase from year to year and may have changed since this article was updated. Cycling in Venice itself is not possible and since bikes are not permitted in town, neither if hand-carried, although there are few allowed areas Railway station, piazzale Roma and Tronchetto.

Leaving your bike behind on the mainland may be the best option to choose. Near the Venezia Mestre train station there is a guarded bike parking facility, called Bici Park Mestre. Take the exit from the station on the Via Trento side north , and turn left.

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The Bici Park is a few hundred meters down the road. Opening hours are to on weekdays and Saturday; the facility is closed on Sundays, so plan ahead. Up to date as of March Parking bikes in Venice proper is also an option. It's not signposted anywhere, but the Tronchetto parking garage near the Venezia Santa Lucia train station has a back room where bikes can be securely parked.

Ask at the ticket counter at the far southern end of the garage. Venice, the world's only pedestrian city, is easily walkable, and the absence of cars makes this a particularly pleasant experience.

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However, walking and standing all day can also be exhausting, so it is best to pace yourself. The Rialtine islands - the 'main' part of Venice - are small enough to walk from one end to the other in about an hour, provided you don't get lost a common occurrence. The area is -apart from going up and down the bridges- very level. Wheeled objects will not start moving of their own.

Wind, however, might be a different thing. Bear in mind that most canals do not have any sort of railing and that tourist crowds might make progress very tedious at times. Apart from the Lido the island separating the lagoon from the Adriatic sea and Sant'Erasmo, there are no roads after Piazzale Roma. There are regular ferry services to the Lido to get your vehicle across which is time consuming, so consider this carefully.

Best check with your hosts, to evaluate this option. If you want to get around a bit more quickly, there are numerous vaporetti water buses, sing. The vaporetti are generally the best way to get around for longer trips or for crossing the Canal Grande away from the bridges. Lines 1 and 2 go all the way along the Canal Grande and offer an easy sightseeing trip. ACTV runs the vaporetti and other public transport services both in the lagoon and on terra firma. There are other versions available, including those offering discounts for youths under The vaporetti uses an honour system, meaning you are expected to validate your ticket at the stop before boarding.

You can also get a Venice Card, which has various options that you can choose when you buy it public transportation, cultural attractions, toilet access, Alilaguna, etc. There is a 'Junior' version of the Venice that is available at a slightly reduced rate for those between 5 and 29 years of age.

Note, however, that a Venice Card is not recommended for those with less than 3 days in Venice, as most of the top attractions are not included in the Venice Card. If you'll be staying in Venice for a week - get the Venice Card and enjoy travelling from island to island and exploring the various museums and churches it offers access to.

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This tradition goes back centuries and is one of the biggest parties and festivals in Italy. Of all the travel gifts my children received before we started travelling, the small card games are the most used and loved. Lucy is easily lured away from the upper-middle-class Edwardian society by her longing for the man she left behind. Relax on the lakes The beautiful lakes up north, such as Lake Como, are the summer playground for Italians, the rich, and George Clooney. This Edition, however, is only available via Digital Download.

Maps are available at the vaporetto stops in the ticket booths. Venice Cards can be reserved on-line for a considerable discount here. Keep in mind, though, that there are long lines when taking the Venice Card from the ticket booths. The Venezia St. Lucia ticket booth that offers Venice Cards is the one most on the right when you exit the train station. The amount of sights included depends on the version Starter, Classic and Best with Best covering the highest amount of attractions. All three available options include highlights such as St.

All are valid for seven consecutive days from a chosen start date. An optional travelcard can be added to the Venice City Pass. Vaporettos can be crowded at times, so space is at a premium. Also, getting on and off involves staff handling the mooring lines and operating the gates. Water taxis are the most flexible and most expensive travel option in Venice. Prices inside Venice start from around EUR which will bring you a distance that is also easily walked and depend on distance and time of day.

Boats hold up to ten persons including luggage with a surcharge from the 7th person. They can also be hired for special trips, such as individual sightseeing. These days, gondolas are mostly used for scenic purposes instead of actual transport from point A to point B. There are many stops dotted around the areas frequented by tourists and they are readily obvious, even when the gondolieri dress in something warmer then straw boaters and striped tops.

Daytime Prices start at around 80 EUR for 30 minutes and gondolas comfortably take 4 people, with a maximum of 6. Seated only, with some seats facing backwards. Special arrangements can be made to serve your interests special routes, photo shoots, etc. The traghetto is the cheapest way to cross the Grand Canal without using the bridges. It costs only 2 Euros per person cash only, preferably coins! There are 7 piers for traghetti along the canal.

Simply look for straight lines across the canal in the map, or follow the "traghetto" signs. Bear in mind that you are expected to stand, especially when it's crowded and that luggage is usually not taken on. Note that vaporetti at some stops offer special traghetto-tickets giving you a one-stop hop across the Canal Grande at 2 EUR instead of 7 EUR for a regular single ticket.

Venice itself is not a large city. Most destinations across the city can be reached within 20 minutes of walking, if you know your way and can stay clear of tourist congestions. This beats most transport by boats. Unless you are pressed for time, just start walking and let yourself get lost in the maze of alleys that is Venice. In time, you will always come across a familiar landmark or to a vaporetto stop to regain your bearings. Along the way you will discover marvelous art, superb architecture and breathtaking urban landscaping as well as bars, cafes and restaurants to soak up the local atmosphere and rest your weary feet.

Major destinations, like Piazza San Marco, Rialto, Ferrovia train station or Piazzale Roma bus terminal are marked by arrows put up on the walls. To find a specific place using a map, make sure you know which district it is in. The numbers are assigned at the start of the district and increase as they move farther away from the Grand Canal. If possible, get detailed descriptions for your accomodation in advance, as doubling back across bridges with luggage in tow is quite bothersome.

For a day visit to Venice, there are two left luggage options near st Lucia station. The express service allows you to skip the, often very long, lines that occur. Although the Basilica di San Marco is free, other famous churches charge an entry fee. If you plan to visit three churches or more, you are better off buying the churches pass.

There is also a combined pass for museums, churches and transportation only available at the tourist information office but it is relatively expensive. Remember that churches are active religious centres. The Museums of St. You can buy these passes in advance along with public transport tickets via the Venezia Unica [38] service. These combined tickets offer a considerable discount and mean you can skip the ticket queues - especially at Doge's Palace where the queue to buy tickets can be enormous.

The official purpose of the Voga Longa was to protest the sharply increasing use of powerboats in Venice, but the event has gradually grown into a festival since , with up to racers in vessels attending by the early s. The racetrack visits different parts of Venice as well as some of the nearby islands.

Locals and tourists lining up alongside rios and canals cheer the racers. Visitors wishing to participate should have serious experience in rowing or sculling and practice duely, as the journey is physically demanding even seasoned oarsmen develop calluses by the finish line. The event is mainly for teams, completing Voga Longa on a single oar is considered a major achievement. Extreme participation scuba frogmen and surface swimmers sometimes occurs, but it is not recommended due to water contamination issues.

Take a Gondola if you can afford it: it's expensive, but the Gondoliere may decrease the price if you ask but they can also decrease the time Make sure you reach an agreement on price and time before you start! A good tip with the Gondolieres is to bargain the price down as low as you can, then say that it's still too much and walk away. Two or three of them will chase after you, one after the other, each offering a lower price than the last.

Some guidebooks discourage tourists from asking for gondola price reductions. The oarsmen have an informal habit of cutting the most interesting and little-known parts from the journey path for "discount" customers. Reduced rate riders get much less marvel in exchange for a moderate price drop, which may not be worth it. Gondolier-for-hire business licenses are officially limited to just to rowers in Venice, making the market artificially scarce and inflating prices. Gondola rides are always costly, often in a princely way and that expense should be planned in advance of the visit [44].

If you go as a group it might be cheaper, though the number of people who can be accommodated on a gondola varies, usually up to a maximum of six seated passangers. The "traghetti" holds more, mostly standing, as a pair of gondoliers rows short distances for canal crossing purposes at a number of points along the Grand Canal. If a gondola seems a little pricey, the alternative is to cross the Grand Canal by traghetto. In the 's there were as many as thirty, but now there are seven points to find them.

However some only operate when people are going to and from work. The length of any crossing is just a few minutes. Many visitors enjoy visiting the open air markets near the Rialto Bridge and there is a traghetto station there, at the Pescheria fish market joining the Santa Sophia church along the Strada Nova. You will notice that traghetti passengers tend to stand up , but if you are not comfortable doing so, sitting is possible, if you are careful. The more adventurous can try the venetian style of rowing through Row Venice or one of the many rowing clubs.

Do take of your backpack before getting on and while on board as it inhibits your balance and might hit others when making sudden moves. If you are looking for something to do, you can always shop. Venice is packed full of little stores in every corner and crevice. The commonest local specialties are Carnival masks, glass, and marbled paper.

Price can vary wildly, so it's a good idea to hold off buying until you have a fair idea about the relative value of things. As is the case with most tourist cities, a LOT of the "original " and "made in Venice" items are actually made in China. Murano is an island famous for its glass making. Almost in every shop you will find "original Murano glass" items.

If it was really made in Murano , it would be prohibitively expensive, with prices routinely running into thousands of euros. So if you are looking for cheap souvenirs, real Murano glass is not the thing to buy! You can also see glass making demonstrations in Murano , but be sure to check that there is a demonstration scheduled for that day. And it is normally not done in winter either. Spend a day on the islands , mainly Murano , Burano and Torcello. There are boat services to all these islands at scheduled times, including between the islands themselves.

Be prepared for long lines and long waits for the boats between islands especially on the afternoon return rides from Burano. In Burano you will find some of the most picturesque streets and houses, with each house sporting a different pastel shade. Its really beautiful. Though there is not much to see in Torcello except for the old church, and the supposed "Throne of Attila".

However, the peace and tranquility of the island is not to be found anywhere else in Venice. Torcello is also home to a very expensive Cipriani restaurant. But just walking around on these islands is a nice enough experience. If you've had enough of the hype and the other tourists, hop off the vaporetto at 'Cimitero', Venice's graveyard for a peaceful walk. There are many famous tombs, and the section dedicated to deceased children is particularly haunting. There is also a free toilet there. While going through Venice, make sure you take in the beauty of it all.

Walk through the alley ways, and take the water taxi to different parts of the island, sometimes at night you can just go sit in an open area and watch locals and tourists passing by. It is wonderful. There are many museums and churches that are around the city that allow tourists to go in a visit. They are many great sights to keep you busy throughout your visit.

Because Venice is now pretty much only inhabited by tourists and people serving the trade, it gets very quiet by 9. There are a few exceptions, like some classical music concerts, which most probably only play Vivaldi. If you would like to have a guide to show up the highlights of Venice, you can choose between many offers.

There are walking or boat tours, focused on shopping or history or for art lovers, and many itineraries. However, it is important to point out that there are many unreliable ones: some "free" tours are not actually free and their guides are students or other non-venetian random people who have very little knowledge of Venice, its history and culture and very often tell stories and details about the city that are simply not true.

If you want a guide please check within the Cooperative Tour Guides of Venice. If you are interested in exploring all things related with Italian food you have to visit the freshly open "i Tre Mercanti" [46] campo della guerra 2 mins from S. Marco square an amazing food gallery where you can find typical Italian specialties, a wide range of the best wines and the usual classics like Olive Oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan, Limoncello along with hundreds of regional specialities including 97 pasta sauces!

Classy and friendly the staff speak many languages and is open every day. If you don't feel like shopping you can always browse the shop and ask cooking tips and the history of products to the helpful manager. Send a Postcard or even better, an entire mail dedicated to an important one the old "snail mail" one, not the electronic variety! Venice has a long, celebrated tradition in postal services, paper and written communication in general including one of the earliest medival book printing houses.

Avoid using the globepostalservice GPS stamps. These are stamps sold by a private owned company through the tobacco shops using black mailboxes the public ones are red which charges more than normal and there have been lots of complains of delayed delivery and sometimes failure of delivery. Ask instead for the normal stamps. Venice it's also Riviera del Brenta old canals. The Riviera del Brenta is famous for its extraordinary Palladian villas along the Brenta river, its museums and historical buildings and it is located only 25 miles from Venice. These places are indicated for cycling excusions and to see antique Palladian Villas built on the Brenta river.

In Dolo village you can visit the square, old watermill XI century and big open air market. There are possibly hundreds of smaller schools in the city. Venice has always been a city of merchants. Consequently, most of the Venetians working in Venice still own or work at a shop. If the pride of the Republic of Venice was the extreme diversity and quality of goods and services which could be found in Venice, these days, however, mass tourism led Venice to be populated with many shops selling low-quality souvenirs. The local shops are suffering a lot from this situation and it is not easy to identify them within the crowd of shops selling harmful imported goods.

Shops generally open around 10am and stay open at least until 7pm, sometimes later, depending on proximity to tourist haunts. Some shops especially in the more out-of-the-way-areas might close from noon to 2pm. Those wishing for more affordable fare can find it at low-end trinket stores and mid-market boutiques scattered here and there throughout the city.

At the Rialto Market, for example, you can find relatively cheap T-shirts and toy plastic gondolas. Be careful when buying fake luxury products from people spreading their wares on the pavement especially handbags, sunglases and the like. Apart from damaging the industry, such low-quality items may be confiscated at customs and you may be liable to a fine.

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Some of the best and most famous of Venetian shopping opportunities, according to the categories of their wares, are listed below for your convenience:. If you've come to Venice thinking that you won't be able to do a bit of designer shopping, think again! Just like in every major Italian city, you get the big fashion brand names here too. Watch out also for the hand-made paper and the exquisite miniature buildings made by Moro. Watch out for fakes; Moro "signs" his name on the back. Also, beware of fakes and "free" trips to neighboring Murano for its famous glass.

See article for details. Tourist Traps: "Coloured Pasta" and "Venetian Limoncello" not the original napolitan one are not Italian food, no Italian would ever eat them, they are particularly made for tourists, only buy typical regional Italian food in food shops and always check the labels to discover where they have been made. In case it is not stated on the label, avoid the purchase. Venice has some wonderful restaurants, featuring the cuisine of the Veneto. However it is widely regarded that the restaurants in Venice serve food of a quality and in quantities much lower than anywhere else in Italy.

The pizza in Venice is well known as being the worst in Italy It is a more southern italian speciality. For Americans, you can find a place called Quanto Basta pizza that serves an American-style pizza with pepperoni and french fries. Specialties include polenta, made of corn meal; risotto with cuttlefish ink sauce. Diners should however be aware that for every genuinely wonderful restaurant or trattoria, there's another serving rubbish food at inflated prices, especially in the most touristed streets around San Marco.

Rule of thumb: if there's a waiter outside pimping for business, it's probably best avoided. Peak eating times start at noon for lunch and from 7pm for dinner. That is when places will get crowded and when it will be better to make a reservation beforehand. Near the Rialto bridge there's a row of restaurants with tables by the canal, where you can have the quintessential Venice experience of dining by the canal lights. Although they do have waiters outside bugging you, some have pretty acceptable quality for price, which is almost always expensive anyway.

One of Venice's trademark foods is cuttlefish and its ink. This intense black ink serves as a sauce and ingredient for polenta corn meal , risotto rice , and pasta. These dishes are normally indicated by the Italian words "nella seppia" in cuttlefish , "alla seppia" in the style of cuttlefish , or "nero di seppia," black of the cuttlefish. For example Polenta Nella Seppia is fried corn meal with the black ink of a cuttle fish. Despite the intensity in color, the ink has a surprisingly mild taste.

One dish can easily contain g of fish or meat almost a pound - coming to 4 times the indicated base price! Le Bauta, an eatery on Fond del Gaffaro, is a good example. Also, please make sure that you get your change back after payment as sometimes it may be 'forgotten' by the waiters. Check if they are included in what might appear to be a bargain. Some places will advertise their lack of cover charges. Still, the have to meet the same costs as everyone else.

So compare prices carefully. For fresh fruit including chilled coconut watch for the street market stalls. There is always a boat parked in the canal on campo San Barnaba Dorsoduro, open till late and then end of Via Giuseppe Garibaldi Castello, open till around mid-day selling fruit and vegetables.

To save money at lunch, eat standing up - that's what Venetians themselves do. Every cafe, trattoria, osteria, enoteca or whatever it chooses to call itself is stocked at lunchtime with cicchetti - Venetian tapas, including tramezzini triangular sandwiches on white bread , bite-sized rolls with various cold cuts, polpette fried balls of minced fish or meat and assorted antipasti. Order by pointing at what you want on the glass shelves, and wash the whole thing down with a glass of wine un' ombra or a spritz made with, in order of bitterness and alcohol content, Aperol, Campari or Select.

Bear in mind that as soon as you allow yourself to sit at the table and be waited on, instead of ordering and consuming your food at the counter, the prices for the same items go up - you can end up paying double. If you look at the government-mandated chart of prices stapled to the wall near the bar, you'll see 2 columns of numbers, accommodating this arrangement.

However, sitting is worth it if you plan on staying a while. If self-catering, the Rialto food markets are an absolute must for fruit, vegetables and cheese, but most of all for the huge range of seafood, much of it fresh out of the lagoon and still moving! There are a variety of small stores around the city that sell fruits and vegetables, but tourists will be hard-pressed to find them.

Anything else you will find in the one of the few supermarkets in the city. Head to the Dorsoduro area of Venice if you want to save a few euros. It is located on the south side of the city. It has the highest concentration of places where locals, especially students, go to eat. Generally staying away from the main squares will be the cheapest option. If you're willing and able to walk around the town, some back streets offer the best food for the lowest price. Seeing the city from this vantage point is a lot of fun too!

You will find ice cream all over the city, and you will hardly survive a hot summer day without. Prices are 1 - 1. Coffee is everywhere in Venice, and both Venetians and the tourists avail themselves of the opportunities, usually by downing a quick dose at the counter see warning about sit-down prices above. Rule of thumb: the bigger and shinier the espresso machine, the better the result. One of the favorites is the mini-chain "E Rosa Salva" , with three locations in the center - on C.

Fiubera from Piazza San Marco, take the underpass in the middle of the arcade, cross the bridge and take second right off C.