5 things NOT to do in Venice: a few tips for tourists


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5 things NOT to do in Venice: a few tips for tourists

Visit St Mark’s Square. Take a gondola ride. Buy a carnival mask. We all know the staples of what to do when we’re in Venice – but what about things to stay away from? Don’t worry about a thing! We just compiled a list of 5 things NOT to do in Venice so you’re not going to make a fool out of yourself. We all know you wouldn’t want to step on Venetians’ toes, or else you might find yourself in a bit of trouble. So buckle up and get ready to learn 5 mistakes to avoid when visiting Venice.

1) Taking a swim in the canals

not to do in venice - swim canal

Leaving aside that it’s quite illegal and that the canals are full of dangerous motorboat traffic, you really wouldn’t want to swim in Venice’s canals. They may be shallow and they may seem like a tempting way to cool off when the weather’s stifling but, unless you fancy sharing the water with the overspill from the city’s archaic sewage system, it’s best to be avoided. Most of the time the water is just nasty and you’ll immediately regret your impulsive decision. Just keep on enjoying the canals from solid ground or a gondola ride.

And, if you still need a way to escape the heat, aim for a good old refreshing Italian gelato.

2) Littering and leaving rubbish behind

Litter-dropping is a huge no-no wherever you are in the world, but it’s especially true of Venice, where discarded rubbish can easily find its way into the canals. If that happens, it’s much harder to deal with and could end up being swept out into the lagoon and beyond. Nobody here wants to be the cause of even more pollution, right? You may also face a hefty fine (€350) if you’re caught littering around. Venice welcomes a huge amount of people every day all year round in such a confined space, it can’t afford to drown in waste. 

With plenty of bins around, there’s no excuse for spoiling this beautiful city by leaving your rubbish for someone else to pick up. And, also, that’s just plain rude. Venice is to be relished, so don’t be lazy and clean up after yourself!

3) Sitting on the ground

Wait a minute, I’m not allowed to rest my aching bones in my own rightfully earned vacation time? We hear you and we get your grievances but keep in mind that the streets of Venice are always so cramped with people that free camping is not doable just from a rational point of view. So the Venice City Council issued a new regulation that forbids sitting down in the most trafficked areas of the city, such as bridges, steps, monuments and so forth.

If you decide to try your luck and rest your weary soul you might be fined between €100 and €200 and risk being banned from the immediate location. So better act responsibly if you wish to continue enjoying such a majestic city. Venice will offer you plenty of cafés and dedicated areas to take advantage of if in need of some downtime.

Venice to Croatia Ferry

4) Staring at the Bridge of Sighs

Everyone stands and gawks at the Bridge of Sighs when in Venice and it’s very understandable, of course. We don’t want to rain on your parade, it is one of the main tourist attractions! 

This travel tip, as a matter of fact, may not perhaps quite qualify as a what not to do in Venice. We just want to let you in on a little secret. Do yourself a favour and get a ticket to the Doge’s Palace: you’ll get to see the Bridge of Sighs from the inside and you’ll walk the same path as the prisoners who were brought before the court and shortly after, if ill-fated, to the prisons to rot. There’s a very good reason for the name Bridge of Sighs, it is to be referred to the sounds made by the prisoners who were destined to a woeful sentence.

5) Ordering pizza

not to do in venice -eat pizza

What do you mean, go to Italy and not order a pizza? We are all well aware it sounds counterintuitive (and a bit disappointing to be honest), but Venice isn’t really the best place to enjoy this Italian favourite

We are positive that, if you look hard enough, you’ll find for sure some great pizza. But why restrict yourself to the very basics when you can go and explore whatever Venice has to offer? Keep in mind that Venice, as an independent republic for much of its history, has had a lot of time to develop its very own distinct cuisine and Venetians are extremely proud of it (with very good reasoning, we might say!).

So go on, skip the most popular meals and indulge in some local dishes such as risotto de gò or fegato alla veneziana. You’re a newbie and you have no clue where to start? No worries, we’ve got your back! Take a look at our article on where to eat like a local in Venice for some ideas on where to find some brilliant Venetian restaurants.

Now you’re all set to avoid loads of mistakes!

Of course, there’s always something else to add to the list of things not to do in Venice, we just gave you the basics for a fulfilling vacation. So keep an open mind and be ready to adjust as needed, especially when some locals seem bothered by your behaviour.

But, as always, have fun and be respectful of your surroundings.

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