By Sopiko Beriashvili
Living and studying in Venice, Italy is a completely different experience to anywhere else in Europe. Last year, I had the chance to continue my studies at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. From the moment I arrived in the city, I knew my lifestyle and routine were going to be completely different to what I was used to back home in Tbilisi, Georgia. Venice can feel like another world, or even another time, and I loved every moment of it. Here are eight reasons why Venice is so magical.
You won’t find a single car, zebra crossing or traffic light in Venice
Apart from at the city entrance, there is no way of using cars, bikes or motorcycles in Venice, because the entire city is a collection of islands, connected by bridges. This means you have to get around the city either on foot or by water-craft. If you are taking a water-bus, bear in mind that they don’t function like normal buses, which stop on either side of the road. One water-bus stop will be served by boats going in both directions, so make sure you get on the right one!
Traffic jams are caused by tourists instead of cars, as people pose on the bridges to take selfies
Venice’s population of roughly 260,000 is bolstered daily by an influx of up to 70,000 tourists. As a result, the city gets really crowded, especially during carnival and in summer. The tourists mostly stop on the bridges to take picturesque selfies, though this does often mean they end up “blocking” the road.
You learn how to monitor the tide in the city
At my initial orientation meeting at Ca’ Foscari University, we were warned about the tide and encouraged to download Hi!Tide Venice, an app which tells you if different places around the city are flooded and where to walk without getting wet. When the tide is approaching, locals can be seen wearing rubber boots around the city. If you’re only visiting as a tourist, plastic rain boots are designed for you. Or...
Keep your feet dry by walking on the raised plank walkways
During high tide, city sanitation workers set out raised plank walkways (passarelle) throughout Venice, so tourists and locals can get around the city. Passarelle can be found in the area where the aqua alta (high tide) is most expected.
The beautiful Gothic architecture makes it hard to tell the buildings apart
Over centuries, the famous old buildings in Venice have stayed the same but the purpose of the them has changed. Some of them are now university buildings or museums, yet these grand and decorative buildings can sometimes be something as ordinary as a bank.
You can only drink milky coffee in the mornings
Italians believe drinking any coffee with milk in it, such as cappuccino, after a meal messes up the ability to digest properly.
You can pay less for drinks in Venice’s bars and cafes if you stay on your feet
In Venice, if you sit at the outdoor tables of the cafe or bar, you should be expected to be charged slightly more for your cup of coffee or glass of wine than if you choose to drink on your feet at the bar or outside. Why doesn’t every country do this?
You get free access to National Venetian Museums on every first Sunday of the month
Since 2014, all state museums and archeological sites in Italy can be visited for free on the first Sunday of each month. Take full advantage of this while you’re here, there are some amazing things to see.