Beyond the usual typical tours in Venice, visitors staying for a few days, or already familiar with the city who come back to know it better, have some other options which offer a different perspective whether staying with the crowd or almost alone.
You can get to know Venice more deeply by exploring the city on foot and wandering around its narrow streets and small squares in search of its hidden corners, which are off the well-beaten tourist path.
A unique and pleasant experience can be had by taking part in an event known as “Su e zo per i ponti” (up and down the bridges). This is an annually held non-competitive walk that takes place the first Sunday in April. This year will be the 39th such event.
Two routes can be tackled, a full or shortened one depending on level of ability, and the event attracts all age groups. Entire families from grandparents to grandchildren follow one of these routes that start and end in Piazza San Marco and pass through lesser known parts of the city. There are no winners and everyone gets a medal to mark the occasion.
Another more characteristic and typically Venetian way of exploring the city is by boat. Every year, on the last Sunday in May or the first Sunday in June, the “Vogalonga” (a paddling/rowing race) is held, which traverses the entire lagoon. It is a demanding race, involving 33 kilometres of rowing and is a challenge only to be taken up by the well-trained.
Besides the quintessential gondola tour through the city’s canals, Venice can also be explored by boat through one of its kayak tours. These have been going on for several years now and start from the Isola della Certosa. These guided group excursions by kayak offer a chance to discover the city “from the water’s edge”.
At one time, you could rent row boats, but this is something which has now disappeared. Nowadays, you can rent only motorised boats, which are perhaps more suitable for transporting goods than people. You can tour the city’s canals on these boats, but you need to have a basic knowledge of how to manoeuvre them. You must also pay attention to traffic and the many limits and restrictions which exist on water in Venice as they do for automobile traffic in other cities.
Finally, another option for being on the water is to rent a “haus-boat” or house boat. You can then tour the city further by exploring the lagoon and islands as well as the remote, but no less enchanting corners of Venice. Obviously, due to the size of these boats, or “trailers on water,” you cannot enter the city’s canals with them.
The city can also be explored from the air, not only by climbing up its bell towers, but from even much higher up.
Lido’s Nicelli Airport is the oldest in Italy after the Roman ones. From its well-preserved original 1930s terminal, you can take helicopter tours of varying lengths and prices over Venice and the lagoon.
This offers a view of the city, its canals, the lagoon and its numerous islands, big and small, which captivates and dazzles even those who know the city well.
Isola della Certosa