Life and Practicalities in Venice:
It’s been a month since the cohort for the Venice programme arrived and by now, we’ve been able to learn a few things about living in Venice.
Of course, Italy is known for its cuisine, and you can get pizza and/or pasta on pretty much every single corner of the centres. One thing my flatmates and I were concerned about was specific dietary requirements. One of my flatmates is gluten intolerant and I’m vegetarian and if you’re in a similar situation don’t worry – there is a lot of restaurants here so if you want to dine out there are plenty of options for you, most restaurants will have small signs in each window saying “gluten free pizza/pasta” etc.
Similarly, when food shopping most shops will have gluten free sections etc but only in the bigger stores.
Here in Venice is possibly one of the easiest public transport systems to navigate. My flatmates and I are living on the Lido so we have had to buy a Venice Unica Pass (100 euros for 5 years) which we top up with monthly tickets (37 euros per month), so if you’re looking into living on the lido as well you may want to factor this into your budget. Because everywhere / every island you’ll visit is relatively close, finding the correct vaporetto line to take is really easy – and if you happen to get on the wrong line or go in the wrong direction, just hop back onto the line going in the other direction! Not to mention that most Vaporetto stops are within walking distance from each other so if you get off too early or late then you will always be able to reach your destination on foot too. Which bring me onto my next point…
While the vaporetto is a great way of getting around and through the island quickly, the only way to truly experience Venice and all its streets/shops/sites etc is definitely on foot. While studying in Venice you will be doing a lot of walking. They say that the residents are able to walk from one side of the island to the other in around 35 minutes, it will take time for you to learn your way around so always leave earlier than you need to. The streets here are very narrow, long, and have lots of turns so you can pretty much expect to get lost multiple times during your first week. Most main streets will have signs towards the nearest tourist destination so if you can’t use Google Maps etc always look around to find small signs for places like the Querini, San Marco, or Rialto.
Finally, one of the most popular aspects of living in Venice – experiencing the acqua alta! If you don’t know before travelling, every year around October/November Venice begins to flood due to the high water from the Adriatic Sea. At first it may seem a little intimidating, but you get used to it quite quickly. I happened to visit Venice in 2019 when the flooding was the worst it had been in a very long time and since then, procedures have been put in place to ensure that the flooding won’t reach the same level of inconvenience and danger. It’s best to keep in mind that San Marco is the lowest point of the island so it will flood there first during its periods of high water and be sure to watch where you’re walking during the flood as the edge of the street/canal may not be completely clear.
All in all – these things will come to you quite quickly and once you’re living around them, you get used to them.