Everybody wishes to see Venice at least once in their life! Its unique structure, the immense artistic and historical heritage, and its ancient glory are just a few examples of why people get so excited about this amazing “floating” city. The internet teems with guides, travel tips, and lists of things to do in Venice – most of which gives precious advice to tourists on their first trip to Venice. They tell you not to miss St. Mark’s square (with its famous “trio:” St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace, and The Clock Tower), to get around in a gondola or to visit at least one of Venice’s fantastic museums. There is just one thing that everybody forget to tell you: Venice is crammed full of tourists! Being a celebrity is not as easy as it looks!
What to do in Venice: discover a different city
I want to be clear, my intent is not to discourage anyone; it’s worth seeing it all in Venice – the crowd of tourists is just part of the game and, in some way, adds a touch of charm to “La Serenissima.” Travel to the most dreamed about city in the world and then not visiting all of its world-famous monuments and places would be what Italians in their never-ending soccer analogies would call an “own goal.”My advice is to set aside at least one day or a few hours to discover a different Venice, an unexpected city in which you can pique your curiosity with unusual things and places you can only find here.
6 things to do in Venice that are not on travel guides
Venetian monuments, museums, and places are so popular that many people around the world are doing exactly the same thing you are doing in this moment: planning a trip to Venice. Once you get there you will all find yourselves in long lines and crowded streets. If you get tired of the crowd or you just want to try something a little bit different, there are at least 6 unusual things to do in Venice to enhance your experience in the most curious city of the world.
1) Find at least one curious Nissioetto
Venice has been a glorious autonomous republic for such a long time that it developed a proper language which today has turned into a dialect – this means that everything in Venice has a different name from standard Italian. Nissioeti are nothing more than signs that give names to Venetian streets, and what is strange about them is that some are very funny. If you know a little Italian and want to get familiar with Venetians’ joking attitude just begin walking and get lost in a different Venice, where kids kick a ball around tiny streets and old ladies shell peas while sitting on the doorway.
2) Get a picture with a water traffic sign
Have you ever heard of water traffic signs? Well, if you pay little attention you are going to find many in Venice. Whether you walk or if you find yourself aboard a gondola, keep your eyes open. Once you have spotted the water traffic sign, get closer and take a picture. This is one of those things to do in Venice that you are not going to find anywhere else!
3) Walk through the narrowest street in the world
A great peculiarity of Venice is the large number of alleys and narrow streets. Very close to Campiello del Prestin Cannariego lies Calletta Varisco, the narrowest street in the city, and it measures only 20 inches! The street, which owes its name to the prominent Italian philosopher Bernardino Varisco (1850-1933), precedes two other tiny streets of the city: Calle Stretta in San Polo, which connects to the Campiello Albrizzi Sottoportico of Furatola (25 inches) and Calle Ca ‘Zusto, not far from Riva di Blasio, measuring 26 inches.
4) Find the two bridges with no guardrail among the 417 in the city
There are 417 bridges in Venice, 72 of which are private. There are 300 bridges constructed in stone, 60 iron, and the remaining 57 in wood. In ancient times bridges in Venice had no steps because horses were allowed to cross over on them at that time. There are only two bridges in Venice that have no guardrail: the Devil’s Bridge and a private one that is visible in Rio di San Felice. Find these two bridges and try to walk through them (you will probably have less chance to do it on the second one), but be careful not to fall on the canal!
5) Pet and feed a Venetian cat
It might be because they are remniscent of lions or because they are so good at catching rats (a lagoon is the perfect environment for these unwanted animals), but cats in Venice have always been many and loved by people. Every corner of Venice has at least one of these felines patrolling the area: you can spot them lying in the sun in a field, hidden in a hole in the wall, in a broken step ,or under a window waiting for some food. When you find one, you can pet them and give them a snack – they will purr with gratitude.
6) Become a gondolier for a day
Venetian gondoliers, with their unmistakable striped shirts, are authentic celebrities all around the world. The latest news is that now everybody can learn the art of Venetian style rowling and become a real gondolier for a day! Real Venetian gondoliers, in fact, are giving Venetian rowing lessons to tourists. You will learn the basics of the voga alla veneta, the traditional Venetian rowing style, while at the same time having the opportunity to appreciate the historical and truly traditional aspects of the city.
Visit Venice first and then have some fun
Venice is so unique and varied that these 6 fun and unusual activities will take only a little part of your amazing trip to the city. My main advice is to spend most of your time in Venice visiting its astonishing places and monuments and be part of that loud but fascinating crowd. Make the most out of this city and then, once you feel satisfied, have some fun with these 6 unusual things to do in Venice!
Did you take part in one of those activities on your last trip to Venice or you want to go for them on your next vacation? Do you think there are other activities to add to this list? Tell us in the comments and share your experience with the readers!