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We have had the opportunity to visit Venice (One of the most touristed spots on earth) on several occasions. It is a magical place that has its own charm and the sights are unforgettable. All too often however we feel its a place where travelers can get overwhelmed or burnt out. It is not as hospitable as the rest of Italy, big crowds and packed space can make it overwhelming and tiresome, so here’s how we avoid the Venice fatigue.
The city is small but it is a labyrinth of close streets that don’t directly lead anywhere, so if you chose to wander and there is some romanticism in that, you will probably spend some time getting lost. The most helpful thing is that most buildings have major ends of the island painted on their walls with arrows. Just know these aren’t always the fastest or most efficient routes.
Honestly we feel that half a day or maybe a full day for a first time visitor is more than enough. If you plan on touring the area further consider going to an outlying island in the lagoon like Murano for glasswork or Burano for lace work. These quieter places can be just as beautiful with views, architectural wonders and more spacious hotels. So when we go to Venice itself it is really just to stroll, take some pictures of what we want to see and then to leave. We find museum lines and tours of St. Mark’s to be big time wasters, no matter what your budget you will find the best value for your experience away from the tourist traps.
Venice is a lovely place and one which feels like an immersion into a history book. That being said it can at times be crowded, polluted and just plain hot. There is certainly beauty in the air but we would argue the seeing the city itself is just part of the story, explore the Veneto region beyond the city to get a full feeling of the beauty of this place, from the plains near Padova to the mighty Dolomites just two hours away, Venice is the city but so much more too.