Does this subject seam boring? Pedestrian maybe? Those of you who have been, will be, or are currently in Venice will understand why it's a useful subject. I often encounter the lost and weary in Venice. I often get lost myself. There's no shame in it. It happens to everyone. But, what I hear from other out-of-towners, nearly universally, are reiterated directions which have not been followed, but were, in fact, absolutely correct. And it is because I completely understand the urge the ignore directions that seem counter-intuitive, that I popped in today to tell you: FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS THAT PEOPLE GIVE YOU AND KEEP THE FAITH. If you do this, no more and no less, you will arrive at your destination.
With this in mind here are a couple tips:
1. Listen, trust and be polite. Venetians know how to give directions in Venice. They live here and many of them give directions thousands of times per week. Venetians will give you accurate directions. So, if someone has taken the time out of their day to direct you, listen carefully, do what they say and don't forget to say "grazie!"
2.The the blue signs with the white writing, the white signs with the red writing and the yellow signs with black writing are all accurate. The graffitied signs are accurate. Even the sign pictured here is accurate. You can reach St. Marco and Rialto by walking in either direction. One way is significantly faster than the other, and it is not the one you think, but that is not important. What matters is that, if you're lost and exhausted from wandering in the labyrinth, these signs will show you "the way".
3. Do what the signs say. Do not do anything that the signs don't say. If you follow a sign and arrive at a crossroads without a sign, do not make any drastic turns. If you need to turn, there will be another sign above the street you need to turn down. That said,
4. If the street turns, you should turn with it. Sometimes, in Venice, a street just runs smack into a wall, and another street leaves from a 90 degree angle. In that instance, in Venice, just think of turning 90 degrees as the same as going straight. Keep going!
5. When in doubt: Follow the schotsky. Seriously, the streets most commonly used between the major tourist attractions in Venice are lined with shops.
6. Relax. You're not going anywhere. Venice is an island. OK, it's a series of islands. The great part of being on an island, or series thereof, is that you really can't go too far from home without swimming. So, if you hit water, you can turn back, take a boat, or have a spritz and enjoy the view.
7. Keep the faith. If you haven't arrived at your destination yet, it's not because your directions were bad. It's because you're not there yet!
All that said, The labyrinthine streets of Venice are a major part of what makes this city so unique and beautiful. And, even with all of our tips, OG Venice still holds by the nearly universal Venice Guide advice that losing yourself in Venice is the best way to explore the city and will turn out to be one of the most rewarding parts of your visit!
NOW GET LOST!