We went in search of the “quiet” Venice on Friday, hoping to avoid wall to wall people, many pulling roller bags.
Venice is actually quite a large city and much of it is not terribly affected by tourists. You just have to be willing to walk outside of the usual areas, and we did just that, logging about 12 miles between two walks that were separated by a nice nap.
During the day, we walked to the areas known as Dorsuduro, S. Polo and S. Croce. The first includes the area where you see the biggest ships and is on a waterway wider than the Grand Canal. We had lunch in front of a 275 foot mega yacht, but the streets and squares in that area were empty.
We found a local antiques market in one peaceful square. And, we found several painters focused on a quiet boatyard for gondolas with the face of the building covered with old gondolier hats. Occasionally, we saw a few local children and families in the squares, clothes hanging out in front of homes, but still lots of antique grandeur.
And, even the busiest areas after 8:00 at night were walkable without bumping into people. The bars and restaurants, even on back streets, were full, but the sidewalks were enjoyable to walk.
The craziest place during the day is large St. Mark’s square, and by evening the four pricey restaurants there, with numerous outside tables were empty or nearly so. But each had a 5-piece orchestra performing on stages with beautiful and upbeat classical music. Almost everyone there, maybe 200 people (a small dent in St. Marks square), were standing and enjoying the free show at one of the restaurants. As soon as those performers took a break, the orchestra at the next restaurant started, and the 200 people moved over there. It was funny to watch, but probably not for the white jacketed waiters who had little or no business.