Venice is a complex city and her charms can be elusive. A strategy, paired with local insights, are key. Plus a spirit of adventure really helps. Here are our suggestions to make the most of your time. Andiamo!

The best time to do this either early in the morning or in the evening when the streets are least crowded. Go wherever your eye, heart or intuition takes you. Allow yourself time to wander off the well-worn tourist track between the Piazza San Marco, Academia and Rialto.
Venice has many lovely bookstores including Studium in San Marco and Acqua Alta in Castello. If you are traveling with children, Venice the Basics written by Giorgio Gianighian and Paola Pavanini and The Kids’ Guide to Venice by Alberta Garini are must-reads.
Not everything in Venice is old. In fact, Venice has a thriving contemporary art scene. When you want to leave the 15,16, or 17th centuries. We recommend the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana. They will add untold treasures to the list of cultural inspirations Venice has to offer.
Buy Local. There are many trinkets shops around Piazza San Marco featuring items made half the world away. We encourage you to visit and buy from artisans directly. Look for the logos for Venice Selection and Vetro Artistico. Here are a few select workshops:Real Venetian masks: http://www.mondonovomaschere.it Handmade papers: www.albertovalese-ebru.it Custom leather shoes: www.giovannazanella.it Linens: www.chiarestellacattan.it Custom shirts: www.manekineko.it Murano glass: www.muranoglass.com.

For early risers, be sure and take a walk to the Dorsoduro where you can join the locals at Pasticceria Tonolo for a cream filled doughnut know as “krapfen.” Lines are long and they sometimes sell out by noon… consider yourself forewarned.We strongly urge you check out Save Venice’s kid and family friendly self-directed scavenger hunts. They’re a fun and easy way to become familiar with Venice and create connections to this enduring city. The public boat system of Venice, these waterway buses provide lovely vistas and are an efficient way to travel from one part of Venice to another. Consider buying a pass for your entire stay (1,2,3,7 day passes are available) as the cost of multiple single rides can get expensive. You can buy a pass anywhere you see the Hellovenezia or ACTV signs. Make sure to validate or stamp your ticket with the electronic reader at the entrance to the station stop. Fines can be hefty if you’re caught without a ticket. Be sure to ride #1 Vaporetto for a spectacular ride down the Grand Canal. The rear-facing seats outside in the back provide the best view.
Large-scaled maps (we recommend 1;5,000) can be difficult to find in Venice. Buy one before your trip or at the airport or train station. While you may chose to use GPS on your phone, data usage may make that an expensive alternative.They’re the least expensive and most fun way to get on a gondola. With only two bridges spanning the Grand Canal, a traghetti is an effective way to navigate the city. They’re wonderful fun for all ages—just be sure to have change and tip well. The locations of the crossings are marked on all good maps of Venice.Venice is a walking city and the stones are hard. Comfortable shoes will save you an unnecessary trip to the “farmacia” even though they are both sympathetic and capable of finding cures for nearly everything. Our recommendation use for the bidet— a cold water footbath.

Be sure to let us know your discoveries when you return!

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