There are two ways to explore Venice: by boat and on foot, although in truth one must do both in order to capture the true magic of this most unique and romantic city. There really is no better way to discover La Serenissima's history and spirit than by taking to the streets. Joining an organised Venice walking tour will enable you to experience the delicious hidden secrets of the city that so many people miss in their rush to tick off the major touristic attractions. |
There's no dearth of people who'll warn you about the crowds, the queues and the costs, but for those who approach travel in a mindful and meaningful way, this is without a doubt one of the most enchanting places in the world. If you join a Venice walking tour when you arrive, you'll be equipped with the ideal grounding to make the most of the rest of your stay.
While it's perfectly feasible to strike out on your own by foot (and indeed you should once you've got your bearings), joining a Venice walking tour for your first taste of the city is an excellent way of orienting yourself and getting the lay of the land. The labyrinthine streets can be utterly confusing for the uninitiated, but if you start off on the right foot you'll grow in confidence and have the potential for a far richer experience.
Accompanied by an expert guide you'll not only take in the iconic landmarks, but you'll also visit lesser-known areas and go "off the beaten track" to discover secret sights and hidden delights. You'll be able to indulge in an authentic slice of local life, without suffering the apprehension of getting lost - and speaking of local life, your guide is the perfect source of "insider tips". You can take advantage of their knowledge to ask for information on restaurants, shops and attractions away from the tourist trail.
History Comes Alive
Short of walking around with your head down looking at your smart phone (not advisable), a Venice walking tour is the best way of learning more about the history of the city in an easily digestible way. There's nothing quite like standing in front of an iconic site, museum or monument to bring it to life and instil it as a lifetime memory.
Even the small taste of history your guide will expose you to on a Venice walking tour will give you a valuable start. From then on, every time you step onto the streets to enjoy the culture, architecture and cuisine – even on a leisurely stroll – you'll be building a picture, layer by layer, of the history that makes up the foundations of this magnificent floating city. But be warned, it's addictive: once you begin unravelling the mysteries of La Serenissima, you may never want to stop.
Explore, Discover, Learn, Love
While an organised walking tour can only open a small window into the city, it's the perfect introduction for the first time visitor. The truth is, you can never hope to gain complete familiarity with the six sestieri (districts) of the city, let alone the outlying islands of the lagoon. But then again, why would you want to? That's all just part of the magic…
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing an innovative range of exceptional small group day tours and experiences, whether a Venice walking tour, a boat ride up the Grand Canal or an unforgettable lesson from a gondolier.
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