Venetians don’t sleep in and to understand their city you’ll need follow their routines. They’re up by 7am and if you want to experience the city and its occupants that’s when you’ll need to get out of bed and into the streets and squares where life is starting.
Don’t limit yourself to breakfast, lunch or dinner. Venetians know hunger can strike at any hour, which is why they invented the bacaro. You’ll find locals inside these unique bars throughout the day savoring small open-faced sandwiches topped with creamed fish and vegetables accompanied by wine or beer. Drop into a bacaro whenever you pass one for a quick bite and return to your favorite again and again
Venetians don’t meander through their city slowly. They walk fast and if you ask them for directions as they pass chances are they’ll respond without stopping. You may not always know where you’re going but sometimes it’s fun pretending that you do without worrying which turn to take or referring to a map at every intersection. Just keep going, eventually you will arrive.
The paradox of Venice is that parts of it are extremely crowded while others are nearly empty and rarely visited. Those overlooked places are where most Venetians live and you can get an authentic feel of everyday life in the city. Giudecca and Castello are good neighborhoods to escape the crowds and bump into locals taking their kids to school or walking their dogs.
The only Venetians who ride gondolas are gondoliers. Most locals walk or use vaporetto, which costs much less for them than it does for visitors. They’ll also ride ferryboats to quickly cross the Grand Canal and there are three convenient stations where you can line up behind them.
Prosecco is the regional drink and nearly as popular as water in Venice. Venetians don’t get theirs in supermarkets but from the old-fashion cantina shops that sell wine out of large vats. Red, white or bubbly is poured into plastic bottles and there’s no law against drinking in the streets although you’ll rarely see a Venetian drunk.
Every square in Venice is equipped with benches and they’re usually painted red and occupied by locals who often spend the good part of an afternoon chatting to neighbors and keeping an eye on local children at play. Don’t let them have all the fun. Find a seat, start a conversation and enjoy the incredible scene.
Experience Italy with:
Moon Rome, Florence & Venice