For centuries visitors have marvelled at the beauty and most serene dignity of Venice, the city on the water. Today, over 25 million travelers arrive to Venice every year. The progressive increase in visitors has, ironically, imperiled the very survival of the city’s local culture, historical heritage, and fragile ecology. To address the seriousness of this problem, the Comune of Venice created an awareness campaign to inform visitors about how to visit Venice respectfully.
Venice is not a place to hastily check off a list of must-see monuments and sites. It is a place of paradox, and mystery, where the best experiences can be found in tranquil moments meandering through the calle with an open mind and heart. Here you will find artisans purveying cherished traditions, local shopkeepers, students, and artists. Not too mention an entire city of architecture worthy of exploring. The City of Venice urges travelers to follow these 12 guidelines for visiting Venice respectfully:
1. Discover the city’s hidden gems in the lesser visited Sestiere. We enjoy hanging out in Santa Croce and Cannaregio.
2. Explore the other islands in the lagoon, such as Burano and Torcello, and visit the mainland of Venice. Our Prontopia Locals love to welcome visitors with news of interesting events going on off the beaten path in Venice.
3. Buy locally produced food and try Venetian cuisine. Tourist menus with pizza and lasagna are not reflective of the typical dishes of Venice. Your experience of Venice would not be complete without sampling local dishes of carpaccio, baccalà, cicchetti and the incredible wines of the Veneto. And of course, the pastry shops with typical sweets of Venice are amazing, too.
4. Visit artisans workshops to learn about the ancient craftsmanship that made Venice such a beautiful place — the lacemakers on Burano, the authentic glassblowers on Murano, woodworkers, maskmakers, and puppeteers!
5. Be sure to book historical tours with qualified, licensed guides. Official Venice tour guides study for years to obtain their license and must rigorously maintain their knowledge of the city. Venice has a vast, rich history. Booking with an official tour guide helps to preserve it by offering conscientious and accurate portrayals of the city and supporting local business.
6. Please be considerate of crowd flow when going about the city. Walk on the right and do not stop abruptly or obstruct the way. In general, avoid stopping on crowded bridges. Be aware that local Venetians must get to work or appointments on time and living every day with such crowds is very cumbersome. If you do not need to take a vaporetto, and walking to your destination is an option, then kindly alleviate the crowding of public transportation and walk instead. A Prontopia Local will gladly help get you where you need to go, suggesting the most respectful and enjoyable route.
7. It is forbidden to sit and eat on the steps of bridges, churches, monuments, and canals in Venice, and in fact this is punishable with a fine. Venice has lovely gardens and parks where you can enjoy a picnic instead. We recommend buying a picnic from a local market, where you can request made-to-order panini and local delicacies. A picnic in one of Venice’s gardens or parks is a great way to save money and have a local experience in nature.
8. The entire piazza at St. Mark’s Square is designated as a monument site, so be mindful of the fact that it is also forbidden to stand and consume food or drink anywhere in the square.
9. Swimming in the canals, bathing in the fountains, or wearing swimwear in the public streets of Venice is forbidden and is also punishable by a fine. There are beautiful public swimming beaches on the Mainland at Lido and Jesolo, which we recommend for a swim and mingling with locals.
10. Be considerate of the environment by following the recycling rules and abstaining from feeding the pigeons.
11. If you are staying in a Venice holiday apartment, please follow the specified recycling rules when disposing of your trash.
12. Finally, if possible, plan your visit to Venice during less crowded periods, like November. It is one of the best times to go! Why not go to experience the Festa della Madonna delle Salute on November 21 for a chance to join Venetians in celebration of a special holiday and beautiful ritual.
For more information about visiting Venice respectfully, please see the Venezia è Unica website.
Please comment below to tell us your tips for visiting Venice respectfully and enjoying the benefits of a truly local experience.