Christmas is over, something which your bank account won’t let you forget, it’s dark all the time, and there’s at least another month of this before the weather shows any signs of getting warmer. It’s times like these that I start to think about the marble city built on the calming waters of a lagoon, known as Venice.
I’ve spent long winter evenings dreaming of my time there, from the pigeons crawling all over my hands in Piazza St Marco (St Mark’s Square), to the colourful, detailed and sometimes creepy venetian masks hanging from every corner and of course the stylish and often beautiful Italian men. However, my brief time there revealed some interesting things I wish I’d known before I went…
- Italian food can be free
I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. There aren’t many places offering this and you do have to know where to go, but they’re out there, like the Taverna del Campiello Remer (address: Sestiere Cannaregio, 5701, 30121 Venice, Italy.) This warm and charming restaurant-bar is hidden away in a courtyard near the Rialto Bridge, where they host a very popular, free buffet between the times of 5.30pm and 7.30pm every day. But there’s one catch, you have to buy a four-euro drink from the bar before you eat.
The buffet has so much to choose from including massive bowls of pasta and risotto, as well as little nibbles. The food is frequently replenished and relies on the good manners of its visitors to stop a pleasant dining experience turning into a free-for-all.
2. No roads make things complicated
Get on the water taxi A5 and change onto B3 to take you to K1, what is going on here? Water taxis are a very good way to see more of the city but can take a little while to get used to. But once you start using them a little light will switch on, and they will seem like the easiest things in the world. They’re also relatively cheap, I found a three day ticket that saved me around 20 euros and meant I could hop on and off the boats as I pleased, which is great considering I had a lot of places to see and only a short amount of time to see them in.
However, be warned this is the main transport in Venice and they are prone to overcrowding.
3. Glass is great
If you only take one trip away from the city then go to Murano and watch a grown man blow a bubble made of glass. It’s only a short distance from the city centre and this quiet little paradise will give you a day to remember for a long time, and a jewellery box of handmade, glass treasures that’ll last even longer.
4. A little culture, no charge
There are certain times in your calendar when Venice is a hub of free, cultural activity. During the Settimana della Cultura (the week of culture) in mid-April there are many opportunities to attend one of the many free concerts, just keep an eye on the posters outside of churches, as a lot of foreign choirs often give free concerts when passing through Venice. But if church choirs aren’t your thing, then have a look for some free, live music in some of the piazzas or bars.
Hopefully these little titbits of information will help to make your time in Venice a little more spectacular. Happy travels!