5. DON'T eat dinner before 8pm
This is a rule that most tourists, hungry after a long day of vaporetto-hopping (that'd be the water buses), can't hold to and thus they end up having an overpriced dinner of sub-par pasta at a kitschy restaurant, surrounded by other tourists. If you want the eat the best meals, an enjoy the local dishes in the company of people who may not be true Venetians but are at least Italian, then you need to hold off until the end of the cocktail hour, which usually runs between 6pm and 8pm.
Better yet, you should join in on the boozy fun. A good restaurant to target will appear closed, save for those having lively discussions at the bar. Some restaurants even lock the door during this time to keep out inquiring tourists, but we've always been able to get our Spritz on by telling them we're just looking to have an aperitif like them; that brings out the smiles and the welcomes.
4. DON'T attempt to dress in costume for Carnevale
Alright, you totally caught us here. Of the many times we've holed up in Venice, once was during Carnevale and we did break out the Euros for a plush black velvet cape with a hood that made us think of Anne Rice's seductive vampires. That's about as far as we went with the Carnevale fever, but this 10-day event in February before Lent brings out hoards of teenage girls from the Midwest who pay through the nose to have sparkly butterflies painted on their faces, or elderly Germans wearing leather masks priced in the hundreds, with feathers so outlandish you can see them coming from across the Campo.
The colors and pageantry of Carnevale is something best left to the professionals, who are paid by the city to get dressed in the costumes you imagine and stand in tourist hotspots, with the only goal of being in tourist photos for "atmosphere."
3. DON'T try to daytrip to the haunted and cemetery islands
If you've read any of Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery/thrillers, then perhaps a jaunt out to San Michele island, also known as the cemetery island, seems like a a great several-hour excursion from the bustle of St. Mark's Square. But to be worthwhile, you should either be a huge fan of cemeteries or of Ezra Pound or Stravinsky, since they're buried here. It can be reached from vaporetto 42 or 52 from the Fondamenta Nuove, if you decide to go.
But really don't have the island of Poveglia dead-set in your sights, or you could wind up dead. The island, which first gained American exposure on the TV Show "Scariest Places On Earth," is off limits to all public visitors, especially tourists. An abandoned island which served as the dying place of the victims of many plagues and then as an asylum and quarantine station, Poveglia is said to be uber-haunted, not to mention dangerous since the place has fallen into disrepair. No vaporetti or water taxis will take you here.
2. DON'T order a Bellini, especially at Harry's Bar
While we won't deny that a Bellinia brunch-appropriate cocktail of prosecco and peach puréeis delicious, it's just ridiculously overpriced at bars and a mark of the tourist. We recommend buying a bottle of the pinky-orangey stuff and consuming it in the privacy of your room, rather than shelling out 20 Euros for a small juice-sized glass in the stuffy atmosphere of Harry's Bar. Plus, there's a Harry's Bar now also in NYC, Paris, Singapore, London, Amsterdam and San Francisco. If you want the froofy atmosphere, better head over to Florian's in the Piazza San Marco instead, where it's several Euro cheaper and you at least get it served in a flute.
1. DON'T take a gondola ride in summer, or at all
It's the typical image of a vacation in Venice: two lovers, snuggling into a gondola and whispering sweet nothings to each other and sipping prosecco as they pass beneath the famous bridges. But these days, you're more likely to find six fanny pack-sporting tourists crammed into a gondola, riding even lower in the water than normal. Taking a gondola is one of the most disappointing, money wasting excursions in all of European travel.
A 40-minute ride, which goes slowly remember so it's not like you'll see much of the city, starts at 80 Euro plus tip (after 7pm, it's 100 Euro plus tip). Luckily that's not per person, but per boatfulthe reason most gondolas are packed. Now think of the summertime; Venice is very hot, very humid, and very smelly in the summer, and being that close to the canal is not recommended.
But remember we want you to have a good time in Venice, so here's a personal recommendation that we love: hop a traghetto instead. These are gondola shells, meaning without all the seats and trappings, and for under a Euro you can stand in one to be transported with other locals across the Grand Canal, quickly and cheaply. Good balance is recommended though, since you'll be standing up in a little boat on a small waterway filled with water taxis. When walking through Venice, follow signs for "Traghetti" which will take you to a dead end at the canal, where the boat will pull up and you'll hand over a few coins.
· Where To Drink Jaunted's Favorite Spritz Cocktail In Venice [Jaunted]
· A Pilgrimmage To Harry's Bar-Some Places Are Best Left To History [Fabulous Travel]
· Venice Travel [Jaunted]