Venice Travel Tips for Visitors

Venice, Italy is one of the world’s great cities and the locals are cheerful, friendly and generally very helpful. Good manners are welcome everywhere and expected by most people. Venice is undeniably a major-league cultural and historic city and worth a visit, whatever the time of year.

Language

Most Italian words are pronounced exactly as they are written, syllable by syllable, and there is often an emphasis on the last letter. A knowledge of Latin can be useful, both as the basis for Italian and also for reading the inscriptions on many monuments.


Although Italian is the language of the land, English is generally understood and usually spoken to some degree at most attractions, museums, hotels and restaurants that cater to visitors. In smaller towns and villages nearby, a phrase book is a useful item to carry. Italians pronounce words exactly as they are written and so when speaking English, it may sound a little strange.

Locally spoken Veneziano is an actual language, with a rich history associated to it. It is more than a local dialect and is spoken throughout Venice and restaurant menus are often written in Venetian, Italian and English.

Places of Worship

Venetians are very religious and enjoy going to church on a regular basis. There are a large number of churches in the city that welcome visitors and some even hold masses in English.

Smoking

In many buildings and public transport, rules restrict smoking and this is usually indicated by no-smoking symbols in prominent places. Most pubs and bars welcome customers who wish to relax with a drink and smoke, as a high percentage of Italians are smokers.

It is always worth exercising discretion and sensitivity when selecting a place in which to smoke. The best advice would be not to smoke unless others around you do so.

Tips for Using the Euro

The Euro is made up of eight coins and seven paper notes and was introduced on January 1, 2002. The 12 original members of the European Union – Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain – planned the event for more than a decade, determining a conversion rate for each country’s national currency. The colourful Euro bills, which include holograms and shades of green, yellow, blue, mauve, and orange, are identical across the Euro area. Coins have one common and one national side, but they can be used in any of the member countries, regardless of the country of issue. Old currencies are no longer accepted, although they can still be converted to Euros in central banks.

Tipping

Tipping is quite discretionary, with taxi drivers usually being given a small gratuity. Restaurants often include service charges and these are always clearly stated on the menus, although a small tip will still be expected. In Italy, even theatre and cinema usherettes expect a tip for showing you to your seat. Hotel staff, such as luggage handlers, happily accept a small tip. Generally, no other public service workers expect tips. You should always pay tips in cash, as this way you can be sure that the person it is intended for receives it fully.

Tourism and Tourist Information

Tel: +39 (0)41 529 8727
Venice’s tourism and tourist information service (APT) has several offices in the city centre that provide a wide range of information about tourist attractions, Venice accommodation and events. The main office is known as the Venice Pavilion and is situated on the waterfront at the west side of the Giardinetti Reali, within a minute of the Piazza. There are several other smaller offices, including one at the airport and these are open between 08:15 to 19:15 Monday to Saturday.

Rest Rooms and Public Toilets

Public toilets in Venice are somewhat uncommon and many of the locals tend to use the amenities in local bars, either by asking politely or by purchasing a drink first, and also at the train stations. Pay toilets are usually well signposted and a few are located in the city centre and can be used for a small nominal charge.

Cards

Venice cards entitle you to discounts at some shops, restaurants, cinemas, museums, exhibitions and also for some transport services. There are different types of card that are valid for either a period of days or for a whole year and they are ideal if you are visiting Venice for a week or more and plan to explore. For those aged between 14 to 29, the ‘Rolling Venice’ youth card provides the most discount opportunities. Details of these cards can be obtained at the tourist offices.

Telephones and Emergency Numbers

 

  • Emergencies – for police emergencies, dial 113, for fire dial 115
  • The country code for Italy is 39 and the area code for Venice is 041
  • Telephone country codes: United States and Canada is 1, Australia 61, New Zealand 64 and for the United Kingdom 44 (the international prefix from Ireland is 00)
  • For general directory and operator information in English, dial 176
  • To place international telephone calls via an operator-assisted service, dial 170

Safety

The biggest threat in Venice is by bag-snatchers and pickpockets and thieves operate on foot and by moped. The thieves are very skilled, so be particularly careful with hand baggage. Wear a bag or camera across your body, or even use a concealed money belt. Also, ignore any illegal touts, who offer services such as arranging parking and finding hotels – although generally the city is free of con-men.

Taxes

VAT (IVA) is always included in the price and refunds are unusual in Italy. Tourists from countries outside of the EU may claim a refund on this tax if the item was purchased for personal use and cost more than a certain amount. Ask the shopkeeper for details.