We have been in Venice for a little more than a day and we are delighted. We expected a busy, picturesque city full of history and canals, and we found that, but we also found a city with no vehicles of any kind on the streets. No as in not any, at any time. And that makes a wonderful city.
We know pedestrian-friendly cities in other parts of Europe which ban cars from the pedestrain zone for much of day, but still allow delivery trucks during the day, and at night the garbage trucks and street sweepers move in. In Venice, there are no motorized vehicles on the strrets of the old city at any time. None. The streets are narrow and the bridges over the canals have steps which make them impossible for vehicles. The only wheeled traffic is rolling suitcases which clatter along the pavement stones by the thousnads and are carried over bridges by groaning tourists. Far better to bring a backpack than a suitcase. Here everyone walks or takes a boat and commerce is supplied by the canals.
The streets are busy during the day with throngs of touists, but it is a quiet busyness, and at night most tourists leave the old city as accomdation is limited. Venice has its busy shopping areas with designer stores, but it also has a maze of tiny alleys full of small shops and artisans’ workshops.
We are staying not far from the train and bus station, well away from the main tourist area. It is quiet at night except for the occasional boat on the canal. The food is good and much less expensive than in the trendy part of town. We spent the afternoon and evening yesterday and most of today wandering on foot. Late today we figured out the vaporetto system ( a public ferry system on the canals, like a bus system in other cities, but here used by everyone, not just those too poor to own a car).
The weather is perfect – sunny, mid to upper 20s and not too humid. We have eaten all our meals outside. Below are a few photos. Click on the first to open the set as a gallery.