Make sure to give yourself a few hours for getting lost with Venice’s plethora of hidden alleys.
Venice is one of the most uniquely designed cities because roads and cars have been replaced by canals and boats. Instead of a grid system with escalating avenues and streets like the format of Manhattan, Venice’s alleyways are dissected by beautiful canals and bridges. Some alleyways lead you around in a complete circle, while others end at a square that diverges into eight new roads.
This lends to creating an atmosphere of beauty and mystery: as if Venice is your private oasis that you have time to explore. Each corner you turn has the potential to lead somewhere new, and discovering new paths and alleys make you feel as if you are a local who has discovered a secret shortcut. Plus, there is plenty to feast your eyes upon: the buildings are simple yet beautiful, there are hidden pasta and gelato places, and you can never get tired of staring at the boats and gondolas gently floating down the canal.
However, if you are in a rush, or tired (let’s say you just finished the two hour boat ride from the airport and it’s raining outside, so you just want to drop off your luggage), the seemingly random layout of Venice can be highly frustrating. It is true that each turn has the potential to be somewhere undiscovered, but it is also likely to take you in a giant circle. Furthermore, it is quite common to run into a canal and to be unable to cross it: the bridge could be a distance away with no direct way to walk there. Going from point A to B can require a lot of guesswork.
Luckily, the locals are beyond friendly; if you look confused, it is likely someone will help guide you towards the right way. Plus, running into any hotel or shop is common and hotels will usually provide you with a map. Venice is beautiful and filled with life, but when planning your day, make sure to give yourself a few hours for getting lost.