Walking in Venice: Walking is the best way to get around and see Venice
The best way of getting around Venice is on foot. The city is not very big, and – provided you don’t get lost, easier said than done – you can walk from one end to the other in an hour or so.
On land the only way to explore is by foot, through the narrow backstreets, winding alleys and diverse squares; Venice is a car-free (though not cart-free) zone. It’s a commonly expressed opinion that the best way to experience Venice is to get lost.
There’s a lot of truth in that, although when you need to get somewhere in a hurry you may not appreciate the ease with which this can be done; the directional signs can be somewhat confusing, to say the least. By the way, by law you can’t use bicycles or rollerblades to get around in the city centre (once you get there you’ll know why).
Barrier-free Venice Walks
The numerous steps all over the city, especially those to access the many little bridges over the canals, are certainly not very appealing to anyone with mobility problems. But you can get a small
map of the city from the offices of the Venice tourist board free of charge which points out the more suitable routes for people who have difficulty getting about. Also check out the web site of the Comune di Venezia which offers a lot of useful information on how to avoid various physical barriers to easy movement around the city (note: this now appears to be only in Italian, so our link goes through Google translation).
Venice Walking Tours
If you are a first-timer in Venice and want to get a better insight into the city and its history, a guided walking tour is a good way to get an orientation of the city. There is a good spread of special interest walking tours to choose from in Venice, ranging from a Hidden Venice Walking tour, a tour to learn about the Merchants of Venice, its Courtesans and Painters, to art and architecture or photography. See the list of Venice walking tours here.
Finally, one more warning:
Be very careful when you hear someone shout “ocio ae gambe” (trans.. “watch your legs”), it means that someone is arriving with a handcart at high speed, probably heavily loaded and therefore difficult to control and slow down…