Wide view of Venice: Piazza San Marco - Riva degli Schiavoni

How to ... in Venice

Just a few photographic hints deriving from my Venice journeys:

HOW TO GET TO VENICE

By train, by bus, by boat, whatever. But leave your car home. You will spend a fortune in parking it, it will take you forever to get from the parking to downtown Venice, it will be a very sore experience to walk all the way back to where you parked your car, if you can ever be able to find it easily. And you will almost for sure get stuck in traffic on your way out.
And what is the advantage of having a car in Venice, anyway?

HOW TO GO AROUND IN VENICE

On foot and with the boats. Unless you can afford a taxi-boat. Get a boat pass (vaporetto, vaporino in Venitian slang) for the day or for the week and use it as much as possible. It's fun and not too expensive.
Wear only comfortable shoes, always. Remember your feet will almost for sure get sore from all the walking, and at this point going around it's not fun anymore!
Don't carry much stuff around, you don't really need it. The minimum possible, buy the food, eat it, don't carry heavy loads of water and supplies. You are not in a desert. You will find gazillions of stores & restaurants and fast-food which will be very happy to serve you food on several price-levels. You can be able to eat spending less that in your home-town, and surely a lot better. Just be careful and always be aware of the prices: it's very easy to spend more than we would like in Venice ...

WHEN TO GO THERE FOR THE CARNIVAL

Avoid Saturdays and Sundays. Of course it's the most fun, but streets are narrow, so the city will be quite full, and you may have to spend hours just to cross it, packed with other hundred thousand people.
Of course the main days are the most important, I know. You choose.

WHERE TO STAY IN VENICE

Reserve way ahead. Staying in Venice can go from a fairly reasonable cost in the more outward area to be absurdly expensive in the center, and you might get the same small room with the bathroom in the corridor, because that's the way Venice is! If you have local contacts, ask them to help you get the right place for the right amount of money you are willing to pay. But always remember that the more you are centrally located, the less you will have to walk or stay in line waiting for the "vaporetto" - or vaporino as Venetians call it - to come and get you. Evaluate pros and cons. Perfect solution is being damned rich and stay at the Danieli Hotel. Sorry, can't help you with that.

WHERE TO EAT, WHAT TO EAT, WHEN TO EAT

You eat when you're hungry, but don't carry food & liquids around, the money you may end up saving won't compensate. Maybe avoid the time in which restaurants are overcrowded, check carefully if prices fit in your budget, be sure to be comfortable enough when eating - to rest well, and be in the mood of more walking, which is good digestion practice - and remember that there are also a lot of stores where you can buy a piece of excellent cheese or exceptional prosciutto, and have a sandwich made out on the spot that will top lots of American, British, Greek, French restaurants! Even Italian ones!
You don't need to have a four courses meal if you can't afford it: you're here for the carnival, after all! And don't carry around bottles of water or beer or coke - and especially don't leave them around when they're empty! - every ounce of extra weight you will carry around will feel like a ton by the end of the day.
I bet you lost use of your basic locomotion equipment - I can tell from here - otherwise you wouldn't be reading me on the internet, you would be there by now!
Also remember that during carnival time Venice is usually quite cold and humid, so stopping to eat - or for a cappuccino, and a veneziana pastry - may be the best moment for warming yourself up too, and staying a little bit at the table to sip a coffee and getting ready for the rest. You will pay for this too, in a way, the moment you choose one restaurant instead of another: there is no free lunch in Venice, ever ...

 

WHAT TO DO IN VENICE

Don't ask me. There is always stuff to do in Venice. Get there, get all the promo info you can (and you will get a lot) buy a map (do it, you won't regret it) make your choices and follow the flow. You won't be disappointed, no matter what you decide to do.
Oh, and get a costume and mask too, it will make your experience more enjoyable. Buy it, rent it, or make it yourself at home. Color, teasing, that's what Carnival is about. Participate, don't be a silent voyeur.

WHERE TO BUY A MASK IN VENICE

I swear, I saw this question coming up in a blog.
So I decided to help who may be so naïve or lost, to be able to find a mask to buy, to participate to Carnival, whatever.

The answer is: JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE, at any corner, in any street, just choose. I'm talking about the downtown, of course, the more commercial / tourist oriented area.
Venetians try to keep the rest of the city for themselves as much as possible, but ... "pecunia non olet".

WHAT PICTURES TO TAKE

Take pictures of everything! It's all fun, you will have a good time remembering the time you spent in Venice. Especially now that digital makes everybody a photographer, and you won't go bankrupts because of this.
But follow my advice: let the professionals go around town with those huge cannon-like cameras and bagfuls of lenses and accessories, all you really need to take great shots in Venice is a good wide angle. A cell will do, trust me. Venice is narrow, remember this, and anyway, you will have to get close to the masks to be able to take pictures of them, due to the huge amount of fellow photographers elbowing each other to be able to get a good position for shooting. You may need a short telephoto lens at this point, but if you learn to use your elbows well, you can manage.
Check out my photo gallery, not much is done with telephoto lenses, none of the 3D, anyway.

PHOTOGRAPHIC TRICKS IN VENICE

Well, since I already gave away one trick, the wide angle thing, I can as well tell you about my main trick for taking pictures in a Carnival situation, here it comes: THE ELBOW. Left or right, same thing.
Getting close enough to the masked types, and in the right spot, is usually almost impossible, so use your elbow (lightly, and forget it was me who told you) and be VERY, VERY FAST in shooting, shoot one, shoot two, and get the hell out of there before the "elboweds" start getting real mad.

THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO LEAVE HOME
WHEN TAKING PICTURES IN VENICE

That heavy tripod, that expensive flash that doesn't fit in the bag, the extra zoom, all filters (except polarizing), extra camera as a backup (just in case something happens to your camera, relax, go get a "sprizzi", go see an extra museum, or some Commedia dell'Arte play, and buy some postcards ...

THINGS YOU HAVE TO BRING WITH YOU
WHEN TAKING PICTURES IN VENICE

Extra sets of rechargeable batteries, huge memory card, plastic bag to protect your camera in case of heavy rain, creativity, small light bag to protect camera in the crowd, good comfortable shoes, a map of the city. A paper map - yes - take your eyes off the cell-phone for a change, you're in Venice for looking at the city and its Carnival, not for being "social".

HOW TO HAVE SEX IN VENICE

Usual way, face to face, face to back or watching TV, it's up to you. Missionary, some exquisite Indian position, it's your call.
Just remember two basic things:
1) safe is always better
2) in Venice everything is very close to everything else, rooms are usually small, and walls have ears.

A buon intenditore, poche parole.

 

Have fun,
Roberto Delpiano


Copyright by Roberto Delpiano 1997-2021 - visit my website www.delpiano.com