Everyone has already been in Venice or is planning to go there. Not surprising at all - Venice is one of the most popular European tourist destinations, trademark of Italian cultural heritage.
Spending our summer holidays in Italy and not visiting Venice would be kind of a loss, especially that we've never been there before. We're not city persons - we try to spend as much time in the mountains as possible. But one day the weather in Dolomites wasn't very favourable. We also needed recovery day for our tired muscles. So we decided to give Venice a try. So off we went!
I liked this place. Venice is very unusual, beautiful in its own way. Perfect place to get positively lost. And it's truly romantic - I can't really explain why but it suited our honeymoon so well The gondolas, the old buldings, the charming little bridges - lovely!
But there's a small Italian fly in the ointment - Venice is pricey. We compared Venetian food prices with the ones in Dolomites and there was difference. Significant difference - Venice is definitely more expensive than other tourist regions. And the costly water was tasting worse than in the mountains.
The other thing was crowds. The narrow Old Town streets were so crowded that it was difficult to get by at some spots. I really wanted to visit Saint Mark's Basilica but the queue was so long that I gave up.
And finally, the heat. It was so hot that we were sweating like turkeys on Christmas Eve. I could tell that even inhabitants, who are definitely more accustomed to high temperatures, weren't coping well with such scorching sun.
Interestingly, it wasn't smelling in Venice. People tend to say that it smells there, especially during hot season, but we didn't notice such a nuisance (I've got quite a good sense of smell - used to be short-sighted).
My conclusion is: it's definitely worth visiting Venice in low season. In summer it's just too hot, too crowded and too expensive. And forget about seeing Saint Mark's Cathedral's inside when you go to Venice in the middle of July.
Useful tip: we left our car at Venezia Tronchetto parking. It's not very cheap (5 EUR up to 4 hours and 21 EUR for 24 hours) but it's conveniently located and so vast that you don't need to book space in advance.
Now a few words about Italian motorways. We read that they're immensely expensive and Italian highways have the highest prices in Europe. Well, people like to exaggerate - we paid about 7 EUR for over 100 kilometres which isn't cheap but not a fortune either. Unlike other European countries, you don't have to buy road tolls ticket in advance and stick it onto windscreen. You just stop at gates, take the ticket and pay on slip road gates when you end your motorway journey.
Have you ever been to Venice? What's your experience?