Visiting Venice – When to Visit and Where to Go

Venice is a group of 118 islands in Italy which are linked by bridges and separated by a maze of canals. The original residents of Venice were Roman refugees who had fled from their own towns and villages. Today, the population of 270,000 swells each year with the influx of tourists wanting to see the beauty of the city.

Venice is a city of culture, art, history, architecture and lots of water. The majority of traffic is seen along the water corridors, including the police, fire and tradesmen delivering goods to the hotels, shops and eateries along the miles of canal walkways.

Venice, Veneto, Italy
Venice, Veneto, Italy by Dr. Savage

When to Visit Venice

To have the best of the weather, late spring and early summer means that you will have glorious sunshine but it won’t be too hot to visit all the attractions. It’s a busy time for tourism generally though so it is wise to book early.

The quietest time of the year is during the winter. The crowds are gone as are the queues for the museums, wrap up warm to ward off the winds that whip across the city and if you don’t mind the cold, this is a good time to visit.

Facade Mosaics at Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Facade Mosaics at Saint Mark’s Basilica by Julius for Travel via Italy

If you do travel to Venice in the winter, be aware that the acqua alta – the floods – also happen and whilst it is part of daily life to Venetians, being prepared to possibly wade through knee high water is a necessity.

As with any trip, it’s important to take adequate protection. Getting good annual travel insurance is essential to ensuring that if anything occurs, it doesn’t spoil the experience of the stunning setting.

Acqua alta in Venice, Vento, Italy
Acqua alta in Venice by Anna Fox

What To See in Venice

For a great event which doesn’t cost a penny, visit the Carnevale Festival in February or March each year. It’s a lively two weeks of everyone wearing masquerade masks and dress up in costumes. Every other year sees the hosting of the Biennale for Art from June to November.

Venice is steeped in history and there are many attractions to visit. It’s worth planning each day to ensure the best use is made of the time and book ahead where possible for museum entry. This avoids the queues during the busy times of the year.

Grand Canal, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Grand Canal, Venice by Dennis Jarvis

The top ‘must see’ places to go include the Doge’s Palace, Piazza San Marco and the Grand Canal.

The Doge’s Palace was built in Gothic style and is a building of grand opulence. It was completed in 1424 and was home of the Doge of Venice.

Piazza San Marco, also known as St. Mark’s Square is one of the most recognised landmarks in the world.

It has featured in dozens of films over the years and is edged with places to seat and eat whilst watching the world go by. For a real treat, take afternoon tea in Cafe Florian. It was established in 1720 and whilst very expensive is a real once in a lifetime experience.

Piazza San Marco, Venice, Veneto, Italy
Piazza San Marco, Venice, Veneto by Robert Montgomery

The Grand Canal is a major waterway for traffic through the city. The best way to explore is through a ride on a gondola.

Venice is an attack on all the senses; the colours, the noise, the smells of this historic city. It’s a truly different place to visit and for anyone who wants to experience all their travel on water and to watch hundreds of years of history as they sail along, it’s a must.

Micheal is a writer and travel blogger. He loves Italian culture and is currently saving up to spend a year touring Italy.

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