Visit Venice and its hidden free of tourists spots
A mission impossible? Not if you walk with locals!
by Irma de Jong
Venice is known for many things; the greatness of its settings, architecture, and artwork. It’s like walking in one big open-air museum and not having enough eyes to capture its endless beauty of buildings, churches, palaces and little squares. Many famous people lived in Venice like Marco Polo and Antonio Vivaldi and we lost count of all those who wrote in admiration of the “La Serenissima”
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Venice, the capital of the Veneto region, lies on small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. In this city, there are no roads but 150 canals with more than 400 bridges to connect to the islands. Famous is the Grand Canal, flanked by Renaissance and Gothic buildings.
On the central square, Piazza San Marco, stands the Basilica of San Marco, enriched with Byzantine mosaics, and the bell tower of San Marco, from which you can admire the red roofs of the city. The lagoon and a part of the city are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, it is one of Italy’s most important cities and a supremely romantic travel destination, where you can stroll alongside these miles of winding canals and Venice’s 118 small islands in the Venetian Lagoon, some large enough for magnificent churches and palaces, squares and museums, amazing restaurants and many shops.
Inspiration for art and music
Merchant and writer Marco Polo, writer and womanizer Giacomo Casanova; many were inspired to set their story in Venice, like Shakespeare’s Othello and the Merchant of Venice. Painters were passionate by its picturesque views such as Canaletto, Van Eyck and Antonello da Messina. Venice was also the home of many noted composers during the Baroque period, think of Antonio Vivaldi, Ippolito Ciera, Giovanni Picchi, and Girolamo Dalla Casa.
Tourisme; a major part of the Venetian economy
Tourism has been a major part of the Venetian economy since the 18th century. The city hosts up to 60,000 tourists per day. Estimates of the annual number of tourists vary from 22 million to 30 million. This “over tourism” creates overcrowding and environmental problems for Venice’s ecosystem. (Source Wikipedia). To conquer the extra tension on the city, pollution and efforts; from May 1st 2019, each visitor of the city pays a tourist tax of € 3.
Walk with a local
Walk away from the crowds into unknown and quiet areas of the beautiful city with local hosts. We had the chance to discover together with our swing globe trotter Alexsia the southern part towards San Basilio where you can find a nice bronze statue dedicated to Antonio Vivaldi.
Alexsia is a true Venetian, studied art and is a professional swing dancer. She can tell you a lot about the art history of Venice. We saw Otello’s house and heard about the story and the witchcraft of Desdemona. She took us along for a wonderful stroll and we had beautiful views to the other part of the islands from different angles that are hard to find as a “normal” tourist.
Venice Biennale 2019
Worthwhile a visit is the 58th International Art Exhibition. Curated by Ralph Rugoff, it includes 79 artists from all over the world and it is open to the public from 11 May to 24 November 2019. The Exhibition develops from the Central Pavilion (Giardini) to the Arsenale, to the historic city centre of Venice.
Hotel choice: think of staying in Mestre, which is 9 km from Venice and only 10 minutes by train to the main station Santa Lucia.
One day visitors: store your luggage at Stowyourbags which is at 5 min walk from the main station and more comfortable as you will find no large queue.
Walk with locals: for unique and far from the crowd tours.
For a different experience think of a visit in November or February. You might enjoy the scenery of a foggy and mysterious Venice!