They’ll tell you there’re too many tourists …
That is far too expensive …
That is not the cleanest it’s ever been…
That is chaotic…
Not what it was …
But it doesn’t really matter!
You have to see Venice at least once in your life.
Or as many times as you want and can!
But, as always when we travel at 50, you have to be smart about visiting Venice.
Especially if you have no other option and must travel in high season (against all logic I might add!🤣 ).
In this case, you not only have to be intelligent, but you also have to be very well prepared: physically and mentally!
Because of the tsumani of tourists everywhere is going to overwhelm you …
Millennials taking selfies will frustrate you …
The heat will drain you …
And in the end, you will end up cursing and swearing against the day you had the brilliant idea of visiting the damn city of canals.
But disappointment and frustration are avoidable.
Especially if you follow these three suggestions to the tee. The might seem obvious to you but let me tell you from experience and observation that they are not.
Three life-saving tips to fully enjoy Venice when travelling over 50
Wear VERY comfortable shoes
Tere, please tell me something I don’t know!
Yep, totally agree! It’s so obvious!
But, you just have to look around in Venice and see the number of women of all ages walking (well, trying to look pretty) through its streets to take memorable (and very instagrammable) photos.
Not worth it.
You’ll end up exhausted in an hour.
And if you end up getting lost and unable to find your way out of its labyrinthic medieval streets and bridges (which you will, like I always do!), you’ll be cursing yourself for having made the stupid decision to wear heels in cobble-stoned Venice.
If you must take photos in fashionable gear, make sure you take comfortable shoes in a separate bag with you.
It makes no sense to be suffering in one of the most beautiful places on our planet.
Because it is: Venice is a unique beauty and it has to be appreciated for what it is.
Wearing high heels it will be impossible for you to explore it as it deserves to be explored.
Pre-download a map of the chaotic maze that is Venice
Venice was built on 118 small islands that now form the famous canals and one of the most complex urban mazes on our planet.
Of course, if you ask a Venetian for directions you’ll invariably end up with the lovely but unrealistic “tutto diretto”.
Because, everything is far from tutto diretto (straight ahead) in Venice!
In fact, Venice is a double labyrinth formed, on the one hand, by its intricate network of streets, bridges, stairs that lead nowhere, etc…and on the other, an aquatic mase that intertwines its many canals and rivers.
Between one and the other, those of us who visit it are forced to turn back and trace our steps more than once when reaching a dead end, a piazza with no exit or a riva that goes directly to the water.
Multiply all that by ten with the arrival of the famous Aqua Alta – the high tide that makes life difficult for Venetians and rather amusing (to an extent) for tourists!
Sure, locals will say is not that bad! That all you need to do is follow the yellow-painted signs that take you either to San Marco or Rialto or to the Academia or the Ferrovia …
But, when you have been waddling through narrow streets and navigating endless canals for more than ten hours and night is starting to fall – trust me: you won’t see a thing and nothing will make sense!.
At this point you’re going to turn to today’s saviour: Google maps, but even Google can’t find its way around in Venice!
You won’t even be able to connect to the internet in many of its little corners!
What about traditional maps?
A lost cause.
So, these are my recommendations when traveling at 50+ in Venice and are trying to go from point A to point B:
> Download one or several maps of Venice before getting lost in it.
> Put your glasses and a good flashlight in your bag.
> Make sure your phone is charged at all times (and take the charger to use it in a bar, pub or restaurant should you need it).
> Don’t despair. Think that you are in one of the most romantic, wonderful, historical, charming cities in the world. Live it as it is!
Allow yourself to get lost in Venice, but this time, literally
Around 20 million tourists visit Venice every year.
Most of them gather in the same places: Piazza San Marco, la Academia, the Rialto Bridge, etc.
So, this is what I recommend: get up early in the morning, visit all these mandatory attractions, and get lost in the other Venice when the masses start to arrive.
Did you know that the streets of the city span over 157 km in total?
So, don’t let the map fool you!
There are many kilometres to be walked, and you don’t have to limit yourself to the most popular areas.
The rest is as charming as the main attractions.
Get lost in the areas where the locals live…
Discover its magical libraries…
Its craft shops…
The piazzas where children play after school…
Discover the other Venice without having to deal with the masses.
I’m sure it will fascinate you as much as it fascinates me, yes, much despite the fact that Venice can be expensive, chaotic, and overwhelming.
It all depends on you, my dear 50+ traveler!