Venice is the most famous tourist city in Italy. The number of tourists here is even larger than in Rome.
The symbol of Venice is a gondola. There are about 400 gondoliers in the city, their number is strictly limited and licenses are inherited, so it's quite difficult to become a gondolier. The ticket rate is set officially - 40 minutes cost 80 euros for the entire boat, which fits for 6 people. The price is higher at night. Better ride through the small canals where there are no tourists.
You can also use cheap gondolas that carry people across the Grand Canal, the price is only 50 cents.
In addition to the gondolas, you can ride in the water buses "vaporetto". This is the main and only form of public transport in Venice. The fare is €7 (2013), the ticket is valid for one hour. Vaporettos ride not only around Venice, but also to the surrounding islands, which are also very popular among tourists. Current prices can be found here together with descriptions of the various multi-day tickets.
The next symbol of Venice is the Rialto Bridge. It looks most beautiful in the evening, so we planned our trip to get to the bridge at the right time.
The third symbol is San Marco, the main square of Venice. In recent years, it is often mentioned in the news because of high water. The problem is compounded by the fact that Venice is slowly lowered into the water. To protect the city against the seasonal rise of water in the lagoon, the government is now building a "Moses" dam, which costs more than 5 billion euros.
There's a tall bell tower (Kampanilla) on San Marco with an observation deck on the top. Visit it, but be aware that the queue can be too large. Also there's the Doge's Palace on the square - a monument of Italian Gothic architecture and a popular museum.
Venice is a home to 270,000 people, and the daily number of tourists in the city reaches 60,000 people. Because of the mass tourism the locals continue to leave the their homes from year to year. In 2012, the government even introduced a new program - anyone who left Venice would receive 60,000 euros. The general idea is to make the city a fully open-air museum.
At the same time, residents hold a protest against the growing number of tourists. It would seem that the large number of visitors is good. However, not all people agree. Life becomes more complicated, grocery and hardware stores are closed, hairdressers and shoemakers too.
The number of tourists is really impressive, like in an anthill. However, 99% of them walk on the same route. Just find a parallel street and you'll be all alone. We always used this tip and looked for various interesting patios.
It makes no sense to give advice about the walking routes through Venice, and if someone does, it's a mistake. Venice is a city where you have to know only the starting point, such as the railway station. You won't miss the major attractions, but you still need a map, especially in the evening, when you can easily get lost. For example, we spent half an hour to find a way out of the blocks between the Rialto Bridge and the train station :)
The price of hotels in Venice is quite high, starting from 80 euros per room, and the average price for a room is about 200 euros. Alternatively, you can stay in Mestre, which is in a 10-minute train ride from Venice.
There's a multilevel parking lot in Venice near the port, but it's quite expensive. We arrived by train and left our rented car in Mestre.
Getting there: The nearest airport is Marco Polo. From the airport take a bus to Piazzale Roma, which is not far from the train station (6 euros one way, 11 euro return). In a 10-minute walk from the terminal there's a pier where you can take a water bus to Venice (15 euros, 75 minutes to go). There are several places in Venice where they stop, so sometimes it's more convenient to travel by water bus directly, than by bus + water bus to the hotel (map and schedule). Individual water taxi from the airport will cost from 110 euros.
The Treviso airport is 40 kilometers away, but it's used by lowcosts, especially WizzAir and RyanAir, so many tourists fly there. Use the bus service from the airport to the city, the price is 18 euros for a return ticket (information).
Venice has its own railway station. Don't confuse it with the station in Mestre, which is on the continent.