Venice had been a long time bucket list item of mine and definitely was included on our Italy itinerary.  In researching the trip however, there were very mixed reviews that had me a little worried about not only going there but how much time to allow.  We decided to go with a 2 1/2 day itinerary and we chose an amazing apartment through vrbo ( rather than a hotel–we don’t regret either of these decisions. First we had read that a good street map is vital so prior to our trip I did order the very comprehensive “Streetwise Venice” map from and it proved invaluable.  While some of the fun of Venice is getting lost, not being able to find your place at the end of a long day is not. Probably the most intimidating part of Venice is upon arrival at the bus/water taxi station.  I cannot express enough the importance of getting clear directions from either your host or hotel prior to your arrival here. We flew into Venice and hadn’t slept for 24 hours so it was a bit stressful to say the least trying to maneuver the Grand Canal, which water taxi to take and which stop to get off at.  Had we not been given good instructions prior to our arrival, I believe we would still be trying to find our way. And don’t be fooled into thinking you can simply ask for directions…first of all is the language barrier and we didn’t come across one single venetian who could tell us where our apartment was located.  All that being said, once you find your lodging and get your bearings, Venice is the best place I’ve ever been to simply wander.  Every alley and canal is like something out of a fairy tale and I do agree that getting lost is part of the charm of this city with no streets. A gondola ride, although outrageously expensive, should definitely be part of your visit. I’d recommend choosing one on one of the smaller canals and don’t be too quick to hop on the first one you see….they are all just a bit different. We were blessed with great weather during our stay but I imagine that could explain some of the overall negative reviews.  I’ve read when it’s very hot, the water level is low and the odor is high.  I’ve also read that when the weather is very wet and rainy the alleys become flooded and impassable. Again, we had none of these issues so our stay was wonderful and complaint free and I’d return without hesitation.



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