How to Find an Address in Venice

 

Italy's Venice is a city with many sights to see, but finding these sights can be difficult if you're not familiar with the town's address system. The city was built to make sense to those using the canals, not those on foot. You're bound to get lost at least once as you wander the streets searching for hidden gems of the city.

A map may tell you the name of alleys and squares, but a typical Venetian address is simply: San Marco 1323. Venice is split into districts called sestieri, and each building in a sestiere is numbered in one long consecutive sequence. Venice's random and informal street names are not officially part of an address, although many businesses will helpfully provide one. To pin-point a location therefore, you don't just need the brief official address, you also need a street/square name and also some helpful geographical pointer, e.g. a nearby church.

Even street names are far from straightforward. Most have evolved to describe an established location and mean descriptive things like 'Alley of the carpenters' or 'Courtyard with a well'. Consequently there are often several places with the same or similar names. If you are locating a street, you will require the name of the sestiere as well (what's more, sometimes there is more than one place with the same name in one sestiere). And even armed with official address, and street name, your task still isn't simple.

The next confusion is that sometimes one place may have more than one name. Even one name may have different versions - many streets in Venice are known both by their dialect name and by the Italianised version. Either of these may appear on maps. This is why you'll see many variations of placenames such as Fondamenta Nove (even throughout this website).

Streetsigns are not always easy to spot in narrow lanes. They may offer one or more variations on the name (o means 'or'), and they are often joined on the walls by signs identifying the parish (parocchia) and any adjacent canal (rio) or bridge (ponte).

If you're spending a long time in Venice or are just very interested in the city's structure, there is a good book called Calli, Campielli e Canali which provides extremely large scale street plans, along with property numbers. It covers Venice and the lagoon islands, and enables you to locate any address in the city, as well as providing some background information in Italian and English on landmarks and principal buildings. You can buy it in most bookshops in Venice. Sadly, it's rather too bulky to carry around as you explore.

What the names mean

Here are some of the most common titles for places in Venice: Calle - a lane or alley Campo - public open space (irregularly-shaped and less formal than a 'piazza'). Campo means field, and once these were rough-surfaced in earth or grass, and used for burials. They are still the hubs of their neighbourhoods. Campiello - a small square or courtyard. Corte - courtyard. Fondamenta - canalside walkway. Piazza - public square. There is only one in Venice, Piazza San Marco. Ponte - bridge. Piscina - filled-in pool of water. Ruga - significant lane, generally one which used to contain shops. Ramo - branch off a more important thoroughfare, whose name it takes. Rio - canal. Rio terrà or terà - filled-in canal, now a street. Salizzada - name given to the earliest streets to be paved. Sottoportego - covered passage under a building, often leading only to water.

Navigating Venice - theories, routes and landmarks

You can spend many idle moments in Venice evolving navigational theories. Landmarks are all-important, both major ones and private reminders. Routes between significant points are learned this way: e.g. ' left by the greengrocers, straight over the square with a tree in it, down the lane between the red house and the yellow house, left past the Renaissance doorway'. Even if you're the sort of person who has an excellent sense of direction, you'll still find that concentrating on a chain of landmarks is more effective in Venice than working from a mental map. If you're arriving for the first time and finding your hotel, make sure they give you simple, descriptive directions. Once you've found your base, memorise the route to the nearest major landmark or street (one that's marked on your map) - then you'll be able to find your way back. While route-finding and consulting maps, do bear in mind the Venetian rules of conduct; walk on the right and don't block streets.

There are certain through-routes in Venice - chains of lanes linking places together. At busy times of the day you'll see locals filing along these tortuous routes, striding down seeming dead-end alleys and darting around sharp corners. After a while you learn those of use to you, and create your own mental database of Venetian routes.

The only destinations signposted at all consistently are St. Mark's (San Marco), the Rialto, the railway station (Ferrovia) and the bus terminus (Piazzale Roma). Even these painted signs do sometimes falter, but generally they are reliable and can help you to head in the right direction. The ones to San Marco are the most suspect, as some signposted lanes can take you a long way round (something to do with shopkeepers wanting passing trade, perhaps?).

My Favorite Maps are here

20 Things to do in Venice - 14/20 Getting Lost in Venice

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that is as important when you’re visiting Venice than just wandering aimlessly through its streets and alleys. If you only had 3-4 hours in the city, I’d recommend that you do this before you set foot inside a single museum or attraction – it’s that critical to enjoying your visit. By wandering (especially if you point yourself in the exact opposite of the direction where the herd is going) you can find Venice’s many charming and often-empty squares and streets, which goes a long way toward helping you appreciate the city. I’d almost say you could ignore basically everything else on this list and just stroll around without a map… But although I might not go that far (again, unless you’ve only got 4 hours or less), I do consider the sentence “get lost in Venice” an order, not a suggestion.

 

 

But really, the point of Venice – for me, anyway – is to wander its maze-like alleyways and bridges, getting thoroughly lost and then finding your way back to something familiar. It’s about accidentally finding a gondola workshop where the men are working their lathes into the groove of the boats outside in the sun. It’s about seeing a market boat (rather than a brick-and-mortar store) selling Venice’s few residents their vegetables and fish. And it’s quite a challenge to do any of that in a day-trip, or by staying close to the Piazza San Marco.

Big Cruises in Venice? NO thank you!

Protesters against large cruise ships docking in Venice are doing all that they can to stop the ships. A protest on Sunday caused several delays for cruises departing the city.  (Marco Secchi)

Seatrade Insider reports that several cruise ships left the Italian city later than planned as roughly 70 small boats operated by protesters took over the water while hundreds more protested from land. Among the ships that faced delays on Sunday was the 3,000-passenger Costa Fascinosa, 1,712-passenger MSC Opera and 2,536-passenger MSC Musica.

This protest, led by the No Grandi Navi (No Big Ships) organization, is part of an ongoing mission to stop cruise ships from coming into the port as locals have are afraid of potential damage.

The protestors believe that the large cruise ships, which pass within yards of Venice's Piazza San Marco, are causing environmental damage to the land. They claim that the ships are too big compared to the city and that the water churned up by them cause damage to Venice's delicate foundation. They fear that the ships may also be impacting historical treasures of the city.

Ponte della Paglia

One of the most beautiful bridges of Venice is the Ponte della Paglia (“Bridge of Straw”. This masterpiece is located behind the Palazzo Ducale close to which crosses the Rio di Palazzo. It’s a very important bridge because it links the Districts of San Marco and Castello and allows the passage from the pier on the Piazza San Marco and Riva degli Schiavoni. The view that you can have the Ponte della Paglia is really unparalleled, starting from the glimpse of the Ponte dei Sospiri (“Bridge of Sighs”). But from there you can also have an excellent and charming view of S Giorgio.  (Marco Secchi)

Also another sight that offers this historic passage, is the beautiful and romantic sunset with the sun that sets behind the Basilica della Salute.  Interesting and curious is the origin of the name “of straw”: in fact this bridge was a place of habitual mooring for boats laden with straw, and this has been known for old ordinances prohibiting this practice, probably for safety reasons related to fires.

Amy & Chris Portrait Session in Venice

A lovely couple with a fantastic family during a portrait session along the Grand Canal and few hidden areas of Venice Had a great fun with them!!

 (Marco Secchi)

 

 (Marco Secchi)

 (Marco Secchi 2012)

 (Marco Secchi)

Pick a number. The Venice waterbuses

Venice's vaporetti (singular - vaporetto), or water buses, are the public transportation of Venice and for the Venetian Lagoon. I have posted a Printable Map here. Vaporetti take visitors along the main canals, to the islands, and around the lagoon. Although often crowded, they are by far the least expensive way to get around (other than walking). If you're visiting Venice, sooner or later you'll probably find yourself on a vaporetto!The single vaporetto fare is a steep 6.50 euro (good for one hour from the time it's stamped) but if you plan to spend much time on the vaporetto system, it's wise to buy a travelcard that can be bought at any vaporetto ticket office. Travelcards are good for both water and land transport in the Venice area (land services on the Lido and in Mestre). Here are prices :

  • 18,00 € - 12-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 20,00 € - 24-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 25,00 € - 36-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 30,00 € - 48-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 35,00 € - 72-HOUR TRAVELCARD
  • 50,00 € - 7 DAYS TRAVELCARD

Recently, ACTV announced a renumbering of several vaporetto lines, effective November 2, 2011. Here's a handy chart to help make the transition. I can't even imagine what kind of havoc this is going to cause with all the maps of Venice having the old numbering system on them.

Colours Coordination in Burano

Burano is a pretty island in the northern part of the lagoon of Venice, Italy  with a current population of about 2,800 inhabitants. It consists of four individual islands, which are separated by narrow, 10 meters wide, canals, rio Pontinello in the west, rio Zuecca in the south and rio Terranova in the east. Burano is famous for lace-making and for its brightly-colored fishermen’s houses; the island is a photographer’s paradise.  (Marco Secchi)

Hidden places.......

“There’re three places in Venice magical and hidden: one in calle dell’Amor degli Amici, a second near the Ponte delle Maravegie and the third in calle dei Marrani, near San Geremia in Ghetto Vecchio. And it’s here that the Venetians took refuge when they are tired of the constituted authorities, in these secret courts in which there are doors that lead them forever to beautiful places and other stories … ” (Hugo Pratt, Corte Sconta detta Arcana).

Saint Theodore or Todaro

  "Right Theo, it's been great, but can you pack your bags now? We've got a new patron saint and, well, he just happens to be one of the blokes who wrote the Bible. Heard of it? It's a cracking read! Plus his symbol is a winged lion, which is lots cooler than some dead crocodile, don't you think? No hard feelings, mate!"

I am not sure if this is how it went....but for sure  Theo wasn't very pleased... Having said that the original statue is not the one on the Column but the one if the Square of Palazzo Ducale!  Anyway I love the crocodile ...so cute!

 (Marco Secchi)

Saint Theodore of Amasea treading upon the sacred crocodile of Egypt. Perhaps he killed it with the holy hand grenade of Antioch...

Saint Theodore was a Byzantine saint who was the former patron saint of Venice. When Venice and Byzantium fell out, he was replaced by Saint Mark. He still tops one of the two columns at the southern end of the piazza San Marco

Procession of the Marie - Venice Carnival

This feast has got very ancient origins and it is just related to a fact occurred many centuries ago. Since the dawn of the history of Venice on the Day of the Purification of Mary on the 2nd of February, it was the custom to consecrate all the marriages on one day and in the Episcopal seat of the time: St. Peter di Castello Cathedral. On the same day the marriages of twelve poor girls were consecrated: for such occasion they were sumptuously dressed and bejewelled, sometimes even with the jewels (borrowed) of the treasure of St. Mark.  Just during one of such celebrations, probably in the year 973, the area was attacked by some pirates who abducted the brides with their jewels. People soon hastened to rescue and get back the precious jewellery and they victorious came back. And it is just in honour of such victory on the pirates that the Feast of the Marie was initiated, establishing the draw of the twelve young girls among the most beautiful ones and belonging to the low social classes, as well as the draw of the aristocrat families that would see to their dressing up for the occasion. VENICE, ITALY - FEBRUARY 11:  The traditional parade of '12 beautiful Venetian girls' forms part of the Festa delle Marie in St Mark's Square on February 11, 2012 in Venice, Italy.The annual festival, which lasts nearly three weeks, will see the streets and canals of Venice filled with people wearing highly- (Marco Secchi)

Once they were ready, on the established day, they reached the chief churches in Venice, while escorted by a procession of boats, in order to attend solemn religious ceremonies. Anywhere they went many refreshments with music and dancing were arranged, as the fact of approaching them was considered as a good omen. The importance of such feast, which during the years came to last even nine days, was so remarkable that it attracted many strangers too, who used to hasten in order to have the opportunity of admiring the wonderful girls. Just because the Venetians, and as above mentioned, not only Venetian people were more interested in courting the brides rather than watching the religious ceremonies, later they were replaced with not so desirable wooden statues. Obviously the male population reacted disdainfully and angrily because of such replacement, so that the Republic was obliged to issue, in 1349, a law which forbade the throwing of vegetables at the Procession of the wooden Marie!!

Frozen Venice Lagoon

Does the Venice lagoon ever freeze?? If you are looking for pictures of the Frozen Venice Lagoon Feb 2012 check here

These days everybody is talking about how cold is in Italy and in Venice. But in 1929 in February to be precise the Venice lagoon froze for few days!

 

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Rush hours in Venice

VENICE, ITALY - JANUARY 17: Peak time on the Grand Canal, e waterbus and a gondola ferry cross each other as thick fog shrouds the city on January 17, 2012 in Venice, Italy. Venice woke up this morning under a heavy blanket of fog adding to the atmosphere of the city...HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our office London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi)

Imagine a world without cars. Or pickups, vans, sport utility vehicles or semi-trailer trucks.
It is quite amazing how much space you have left in such a world for other things, when you take the motor vehicle out of the equation.
There is no rush hour, because in Venice there is no rush!

 

Venice Vaporetto Map

I have been asked few times the best place to find a Waterbus - Vaporetto map, I have blogged before here about the vaporetti, prices and new numbers but here is a map, if you click you will get an PDF Hi Res map and info taken from ACTV! Or you can buy a printable Tourist Version from our friend Nan of Living Venice here

 

SEASONAL LINES Seasonal lines are largely dedicated to tourists and are activated on particular occasions, such as during the Venice Carnival or in the spring and summer to facilitate the mobility of large numbers of visitors. These seasonal lines provide rapid, direct backup to the city centre lines down the Canal Grande and Giudecca Canal. Line 5 on the other hand directly links the island of Murano with Piazza San Marco and the city centre of Venice, taking an external route.

CITY CENTER LINES These are the lines which crisscross the "heart" of the city, exploiting the two largest inner canals, the Canal Grande, probably the world's most famous canal, and ....the Giudecca Canal, large and deep enough to allow even the arrival of cruise ships. The city centre lines connect a number of access points such as Tronchetto, Piazzale Roma and the railway station with the Venice of shops, monuments and museums, passing through the San Marco Basin as far as Lido di Venezia, famous for the beauty of its beaches and its nature reserves.

CIRCULAR LINES These lines with a roughly circular route connect the perimeter of the city touching points of great cultural and commercial interest throughout the area. With the circular lines, you can easily reach the islands of Lido and Murano (famous for its glass products), passing through or starting from the railway station, Piazzale Roma and near Piazza San Marco. With the circular, you can also get off and reach Venice City Hospital after a short walk along a route free from architectural barriers.

LAGOON LINES These lines connect Venice with the most important islands in the lagoon, both in the north lagoon (Mazzorbo, Burano, Torcello, Sant’Erasmo) and the south lagoon. The lagoon lines also link transport nodes on the mainland and in Venice province with the city centre. You can in fact reach Venice directly from Punta Sabbioni, Treporti and Chioggia. The lagoon lines also include the ferry-boat line no. 17 connecting Lido di Venezia and the Tronchetto terminal and the bus line no. 11 linking Lido di Venezia with the island of Pellestrina. The San Lazzaro - Lido Casinò section of line no. 20 is seasonal, to verify availability contact the Hellovenezia Call Center (+39)-041-2424.

TERMINAL LINES The terminal lines are a group of rapid lines with few stops which rapidly connect Venice with the mainland terminals managed by companies in the ACTV group. They consist largely of the Alilaguna group of lines and the line 16.

 

20 Great Things to do in Venice 5/20 - Fireworks

Watch the New Year's Eve Fireworks from S Giorgio This tip is still warm...I just discovered it yesterday. Instead of watching the New Year's Eve fireworks in St Mark's Square where yesterday evening there were more than 70,000 people why not watch them from S Giorgio with beautifully lit St Mark's and Palazzo Ducale? VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 31:   Fireworks display are seen in St. Mark's Square from S Giorgio during New Year's Eve street party on December 31, 2011 in Venice, Italy.  Official figures say that around seventy thousand people gathered in St. Mark Square for this year's street celebrations. (Marco Secchi)

 

20 Great Things to do in Venice 4/20 - View over Venice

Get a bird's-eye view of Venice

At almost 99m (325ft), the Campanile is the city’s tallest building, originally built between 888 and 912 (in July 1902 it collapsed, imploding in a neat pyramid of rubble. It was rebuilt exactly 'as it was, where it was', as the town council of the day promised). Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III rode a horse to the top of the original in 1451; these days visitors take the lift. The view is superb, taking in the Lido, the whole lagoon and (on a clear day) the Dolomites in the distance.

But my favourite view is from the Campanile of San Giorgio.....you can get there taking the Vaporetto n2 and is just one stop. The entrance is from the beautiful Church, and usually you should be able to admire as well Tintoretto  the Last Supper, 1592-94, one of the last works the artist painted. If is not there....write to Mr Vittorio Sgarbi one of the worst curator of the Italian Pavillion at Biennale...that decided to get it on loan to "sex up" his own very poor choice of "art" for 2011 Biennale Arte (Marco Secchi)

P&O Cruise Ship "Oriana" enters Canale della Giudecca

20 Great Things to do in Venice 3/20 - Ice Cream

Cool down with a delicious gelato

Most Venetians agree that some of the city’s best gelato is served in Boutique del Gelato, a tiny outlet on busy salizzada San Lio. Be prepared to be patient though, because there’s always a huge crowd waiting to be served. See it as quality assurance – it’s worth the wait.

VENICE, ITALY - JUNE 30:  A young customer buys an ice cream from Carlo Pistacchi's Gelateria Alaska in Santa Croce on June 30, 2011 in Venice, Italy. Carlo has been making ice-cream using fresh ingredients for more than 25 years and is renowned for experimenting with new flavours, offering his customers classic favourites such as rum and raisin or chocolate as well as some of his more unconventional creations such as asparagus or rocket salad and orange.  (Marco Secchi)

At Alaska Gelateria-Sorbetteria Carlo Pistacchi is passionate about making ice-cream and experimenting with new flavours using only the freshest natural ingredients. Stick to tried and true choices such as hazelnut or yoghurt, or branch out to sample seasonally changing exotic flavours, such as artichoke, fennel, asparagus or ginger.

Will add my best Ice Cream parlours in Venice soon

Venice Carnival 2012 - What to do and where to go?

When you think of Venice, what do you think of first? Certainly, the canals and Venice gondolas come to mind quickly, but almost as quickly you’ll get images of people in gorgeous and elaborate costumes – complete with ornate masks – as they celebrate Carnevale each year. While Carnevale (Carnival in English) is a holiday which is recognized throughout Italy, Venice is the most famous city in Italy for its Carnevale festivities. So, if you want to see Carnevale in Venice, keep reading – you’ll need a few tips before you dive in. I wrote about the history of carnival here before. VENICE, ITALY - MARCH 02:  Carnival costumes and masks pose near St Mark's Square  in Venice, Italy. The Venice Carnival, one of the largest and most important in Italy, attracts thousands of people from around the world each year. The theme for this year's carnival is 'Ottocento', a nineteenth century evocation, and will run from February 19 till March 8...HOW TO BUY THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our offices in Milan at (+39) 02 400 47313 or London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright.. (Marco Secchi)

- Bring yourn own costumes or hire them. Anyway, be a mask or a historic costume. A brillian place for Masks and Costumes is Ca del Sol - The only problem is that t will be so hard to cross San Marco. Lots of people are trying to photograph with you and you hear mostly: "Una foto per favore..." - Most action happens around San Marco and it is a good idea to stay not far from it - Attend a ball if you can afford it The Ballo del Doge by Antonia Sautter is the place to be...and be seen! - Get lost and discover the real Venice... This can be done anytime but it is particularly true around Carnival Time - Eat lots of Frittole and Galani - Attend a costumed dinner - Pray for good weather - Attend a Venice Carnival Photography Workshop ;-)  this year I will host one with my colleague Guillem Lopez! - Learn the programme

20 Great Things to do in Venice 2/20 - St Mark's

See three major sights in one square

VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 17:  A general view of St Mark Square covered with snow on December 17, 2010 in Venice, Italy. Snow has fallen across much of Europe today and is expected to continue over the weekend, causing traffic chaos and disrupting Christmas deliveries. (Marco Secchi)

Standing in the middle of the magnificent piazza San Marco is an experience in itself: Napoleon referred to it as the ‘drawing room of Europe’, apt today as, at times, it appears that much of Europe’s population is crammed into this great square. But it's St Mark’s basilica (Basilica di San Marco), often seen as the living testimony of Venice’s links with Byzantium; Doge’s Palace, once Venice's political and judicial hub; and Torre dell’Orologio, a clock tower built between 1496 and 1506, that are, not just the square's, but some of the city's main attractions.

Santo Stefano Celebration in Venice

VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 26:  Rowers dressed in XVI century costumes escort a live nativity scene, whilst ferrying them in a gondola from St Mark's to the Island of S Giorgio on December 26, 2011 in Venice, Italy.  The event is in its first year wants and to replicate an ancient tradition when the Doge of Venice used to go to the Island of S Giorgio to celebrate the relics of Santo Stefano on Boxing Day. (Marco Secchi/Getty Images) Gondoliers dressed in 16th century costumes ferry people performing a Nativity scene from St Mark's to the Island of San Giorgio.

The event, in its first year, replicates the ancient tradition when the Doge of Venice used to travel to the Island of San Giorgio on Boxing Day to celebrate the relics of Santo Stefano.

Christmas in Venice

While preparation are taking place in Venice and the Lagoon for Christmas here are few tips:A wonderful way to spend Christmas Eve is to attend midnight mass at St. Mark's Basilica. But remember, midnight mass starts at 10:30 p.m. and you should get there early to get a seat (no tickets are needed). Try to enter through the north entrance and not the west entrance often used by tourists.

VENICE, ITALY - DECEMBER 08:  Three gondoliers chat near a Christmas decorated Rialto Bridge on December 8, 2011 in Venice, Italy. HOW TO LICENCE THIS PICTURE: please contact us via e-mail at sales@xianpix.com or call our offices in London   +44 (0)207 1939846 for prices and terms of copyright. First Use Only ,Editorial Use Only, All repros payable, No Archiving.© MARCO SECCHI (Marco Secchi)

Venice's main Christmas market is at Campo San Stefano and ends on Christmas Eve. I have been told that is going to open also this year....at today there is no trace of it! There is a small market and an ice rink in Cpo San Polo

Even though December 26th is a national holiday (St. Stephen's Day), most of Venice's museums and sites will be open.

Several Venice restaurants are closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and even on the 23rd and 26th. Most hotel restaurants and Harry's Bar are open. Be sure to do your homework and make reservations ahead of time for Christmas meals. We hear Caffe Quadri and the restaurant - Piazza San Marco's famous cafe - is open on Christmas Day. Good place for Christmas breakfast and coffee!

Remember that the vaparetto schedule changes on major holidays. Check the signs posted on the platforms for schedule information.

Each year on December 26, the Frari Church in San Polo (in the Campo dei Frari) offers a free concert at 4:00 p.m. The church is filled with magnificent art, including Titian's Assumption of the Virgin, Canova's Tomb and a carved monk's chair from 1468.

For an incredible seafood dinner and a warm celebration at midnight, go to Trattoria Antiche Carampane on New Year's Eve. (San Polo 1911; (39) 041 524-0165) The price for dinner runs about £70 per person. No matter where you go that night, you must make reservations.

Another restaurant recommendation: Antica Trattoria Poste Vecie (Rialto Pescheria Venezia; (39-041-721-1822) is open on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. This restaurant also has excellent fish and a larger menu as well. The soups and Venetian-style calf's liver are terrific. Fireplaces keep the restaurant warm on cold nights.

If you're in Venice on January 6, don't miss the Befana races. Men clad in long skirts, wigs and babushkas climb into boats for races on the Grand Canal. The best views are from the Rialto Bridge.