Gondolas and Afternoon Drowsiness… the Magical City of Venice…

Reggie Darling

Only a few cities have remained impressed upon my memory the way Venice has. I visited the city with all the excitement of a seven-year-old visiting Disneyland, because of all the lovely things I’d heard about it, so I may not be the best judge of the place. However I will say that I’m not one for clichés and overly popular places don’t normally go down so well with me, but I dream and long for the day I will be back in those narrow alleyways hearing the cries of the gondolieri as they announce their presence in some particularly narrow canals…

Well… enough chit-chat and on to more important things: A list of dos and don’ts for anyone visiting this marvellous city in summer…

Do… Rise early in the morning. Since this is a very touristic place we are talking about, not only will this give you an advantage in queuing for the most popular sites, but it will also give you a feeling of life in the city before the streets become congested with tourists from all around the globe. Don’t… get caught up in the middle of some tour group and separated from your family or friends. It will be a nightmare getting your bearings again in those narrow streets.

Do… Visit the Doge’s Palace and St. Mark’s Basilica. The city’s full of amazing churches, but if you need to limit the amount of churches you go to, make sure you don’t leave this one out. Not only does it have some amazing relics inside, but a walk upstairs can show you a breath-taking view of St. Mark’s square. The Doge’s Palace on the other hand is a must-see for any art and history enthusiasts. Don’t… limit your time in these architectural and artistic gems by cramming too many things on the same day. Take your time and soak up the beauty of these places.

Do… Take a trip on a Gondola. Don’t… ask the gondoliere to take you to the Grand Canal or the more commercial canals unless you’re ready for a very choppy ride… a ride along the more quiet canals means both less risk of seasickness and general dizziness, and a more authentic feel of the city.

Do… Make sure you always have some drinking water with you and try to stay out of the sun in the afternoon… I don’t mean to turn all hypochondriac mum on you, but trust me on this one! I actually fainted because of the heat when I was there! Don’t… feel embarrassed about wearing a hat or any kind of sun protective clothing… You’re on holiday, you can look silly if it means protecting yourself from heat-stroke and enjoying yourself that much more!

Do… Visit the neighbouring islands… a trip on the super-packed water-buses may seem a little annoying but the places are lovely and you can get some nice memorabilia from them (think Murano glass and Burano lace)

Do… Visit the Piazza San Marco at night… Don’t… Expect a cheap bill if you decide to take a drink in one of the bars to the exquisite sounds of the orchestras playing on either sides of the square…

Do… Wear a good mosquito repellent at all times… Don’t… worry if you smell like lemons or insect repellent all day long… you could always try and cover up with some perfume and if you don’t have it with you just remember… it’s better smelling like a walking moon-tiger than being covered in itchy red mounds!

Do… Expect to splurge on this holiday… nothing much comes cheap here…

And Finally…

Do… Expect to fall in love with this romantic location… Don’t… bet on a hunky Italian sweeping you off your feet… Well it didn’t work like that for me anyway…at least not in the real world. You can dream away those lazy, hazy summer afternoons however much you please!