Where are the Venetians?
As I got lost in the maze of back alleys and canals that comprise the labyrinth of Venice, I couldn’t help but wonder where the locals are. Everywhere you go you run into camera-toting tourists who have no idea where they’re going and are asking for directions (myself included). Although after a few hours of strolling and using the big yellow signs painted onto the corners of some buildings I was able to find my way. In fact, some tourists even started asking me for directions!
Yes but… where are the locals?
It may not seem like it but there are still people living full time in Venice. And they aren’t all gondoliers. They’re working in the shops, restaurants, and other businesses catering for the large part to the tourism industry. There are floating produce markets, fish stands, and bakeries where you’re far more likely to run into locals than in the area surrounding Plaza San Marco. And of course, it never hurts to follow the gondoliers to where they go for coffee or for lunch. You can be sure they know the best places. And trust me, the eateries around Plaza San Marco are probably the worst (and definitely the most expensive).
As for exploring Venice, the best way to see the city is on foot. Yes, taking a gondola around town is nice too but it will also cost you in the neighborhood of 80 euros for a relatively short ride. Walking is free. There are also water taxis and the water bus but these will also cost you a fair bit of money. Besides, Venice is tiny and you can walk from one side of the city to the other in less than an hour provided that you don’t keep getting lost. There is something beautiful to see around every corner. You just have to be patient, have a gelato, and enjoy the scenery.