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An etiquette for Venice
Things to remember when you're in Venice
What can you do if you have Venice at heart and would like to appreciate and experience the lagoon city to the fullest, without causing it any damage?
Enjoying a sustainable trip to Venice, and being accountable for it, isn't difficult. Just a few simple rules are sufficient for respecting the city and its inhabitants.
Here are some good tips and simple recommendations to become more intelligent, aware and careful travellers, and to discover Venice from a different perspective, less conventional, more offbeat.
Plan your trip: here's where to find information
- You can find all the information you need for your trip to Venice here, on the official tourist information website of the City of Venice www.veneziaunica.it. For all your questions about places and events in the city, you can fill out and send the online form on this page www.veneziaunica.it/en/content/tourist-information, write an email to Info@veneziaunica.it or contact the call centre 041.24.24. Book ahead and choose to visit the city when there are fewer tourists, e.g. in winter during November, December, or January. If you can, stay in the city for several days to fully experience Venice and take your time getting to know it: enjoy its uniquely “slow” lifestyle! An extra tip: look for eco-friendly tourist facilities and services.
Slow travel with low impact: use public transport
- The historic centre of Venice is entirely pedestrianized, so the best ways to get around the city are on foot, or along the canals and channels aboard low impact boats: rowing, sailing, or on hybrid boats. To cross the Grand Canal you can hop on the gondola ferry; to make a tour of the city by gondola always check the price beforehand. For safety reasons, riding a bicycle in the historic centre of Venice is not allowed (see Art. 28 of the Urban Police Regulations), while on some islands of the lagoon - Lido, Pellestrina and Sant'Erasmo - and in the mainland you can choose from many cycle routes. Keep the air clean: when possible, use public transport. If you need a taxi, only use authorized ones.
Follow the example of those who live in Venice
Here are some practical suggestions for living in the city: they may seem trivial but perhaps not all of them immediately come to mind. In Venice there are no cars, but the alleys (calli) and open spaces are as busy as real "streets". When you stroll through the city centre, it is good to do as the Venetians do; that is, not to stand in groups on the bridges as that can obstruct the path of passers-by, and always walk on the right when in narrow alleys. For going up, down and over bridges in Venice, avoid pulling your suitcase - if it has got wheels - over the steps: these types of suitcases wear out the steps and cause serious damage to bridge structures.
When you use public transport, it is advisable not to stand in front of the entrance in order to not obstruct the passageways, and put your knapsack on the ground.
It is always worth repeating: we need everyone to help keep the city clean. Important: don't litter on the ground or throw refuse into the water and note that there are fines for those who lay or sit on the ground in St. Mark’s Square and the surrounding area and picnic or litter in these areas. Although it is on the water, Venice is a city, not a beach. Swimming is not allowed in the canals, nor is walking around bare-chested or wearing swimming costume.
Lose yourself; explore the islands of the lagoon and mainland Venice
- Venice is an archipelago of islands, not just St. Mark’s Square or Rialto: far from the beaten track wonders hide in every corner, and you'll have the pleasure of seeing the city from a less conventional perspective, more intimate, authentic and original. For example, the lagoon islands can be discovered through walks through their the villages, archaeological itineraries to discover the origins and early history of the Serenissima, or on cycling excursions: Did you know that the Lido beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag again this year and that there are natural protected areas on Lido and Pellestrina for birdwatchers? Mainland Venice is also the preserve of beautiful discoveries: forests and parks with urban hiking trails, cycle paths and bridleways. Do not miss the ancient defensive system of the forts, a route of extraordinary archaeological, architectural and natural interest between the mainland and the lagoon. If you're looking for suggestions, take a look at all the detours beyond the usual tourist routes.
Shopping Made in Venice: discover craft workshops and ethical shopping
- Visit the craft shops in Venice and discover the true Made in Venice: gondolas, glass, pearls, lace, sweets and textiles. Often you can watch craftsmen at work thanks to guided tours in workshops, studios and ateliers. For those who are aware of ethical and organic shopping, there are plenty of markets and shops where you can buy products from local organic farms or from the many social cooperatives of the region. At the dining table, we recommend you try the specialties prepared with local products (including, for example, the Violet Artichoke of Sant'Erasmo, certified by the Slow Food association) and seasonal fruits and vegetables with a short distribution chain, preferably organically grown or using methods with low environmental impact. Do not buy counterfeit goods from illegal vendors: not only are you risking your health and that of others, but you are also committing a crime. Apart from being damaging to both buyer and workmanship, uncontrolled/unchecked items incentivize exploitation of the weak: you risk paying a €7,000.00 fine and your purchases will be confiscated. Only book visits with authorized guides and tour leaders - bearing an official license - at guaranteed prices.
Drink water from the drinking fountains in Venice and minimize your impact on the environment
Not many people know that the fountains of Venice offer fresh, good, safe and free water which is among the best in Italy. Even in a bar or restaurant, it is always better to choose tap water over bottled: it is cheaper, does not require transportation and does not create refuse for disposal, thus reducing the waste of plastic bottles and, at the same time, the very expensive collection of refuse, which in Venice must be done by hand, from door to door.
Even in your hotel room you can try to reduce the impact on the environment: do not waste water unnecessarily; close the tap when you wash your teeth, shave or have a shampoo. The watchword is to save energy! Turn the lights on only when necessary, and don't forget to switch them off when you leave your room; adjust the air conditioning or the heating to your needs, and don't exaggerate when using either. Remember to lower or turn off, when leaving the room. In your bathroom, replace your towel on the towel rack, and only leave it on the floor when you want it changed.