Venice's streets and waterways are so narrow because the first settlers were fishermen with no intention of staying for long and also when the city was founded more than 1,500 years ago there was no such thing as town planning. More importantly, however, there is simply a lack of space.
Venice – Fact Check

How not to get lost in Venice (*)

Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Venice – Fact Check How not to get lost in Venice (*)

Having an address for your hotel in Venice is not much use because the numbering system does not follow a system that is easily understood by strangers.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

Venice is divided up into six districts or sestieri (singular sestiere), and every house in the district has been numbered sequentially. So an address such as Sestiere Castello 4196 (for the Hotel Danieli) just means it is house 4,196 in the Castello district – useful for a bureaucrat but not for a visitor. To find any destination, you will also need to ask for the name of the calle (alley), campo (square) or fondamenta (quay). If you are wise, you’ll also ask for a nearby landmark as sometimes two different streets may have the same name.

The easiest way to navigate is by major landmarks and, fortunately, they are well signposted as you are not the first tourist to get lost. Official yellow signs point out destinations such as “S Marco” (Piazza San Marco), “Ferrovia” (train station) or “Rialto”. Signs on churches will also tell you what district you are in. There are also plenty of informal signs put up by helpful locals – or just those tired of giving directions to bewildered foreigners.

If it makes you feel any better, even Venetians accept they will get lost when they leave their own sestiere. It’s the only way to discover the best side of “La Serenissima” away from the usual sights.

(*We lied.)

Travel? Join TRVL and earn! Find our more.

032-jdp9030507-041p

Although the Carnival is an inherently Catholic celebration, these priests seem rather indifferent as they gather at Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio (Church of St Mary of the Lilly). Built for Admiral Antonio Barbaro between 1678 and 1681, the church has one of the city's finest baroque facades featuring relief maps of places where he served, including Canada and Corfu. Photo by Jurjen Drenth

Jurjen Drenth

Jurjen Drenth

Canon EOS-1DS

Aperture
ƒ/8
Exposure
1/125
ISO
200
Focal
24 mm

Although the Carnival is an inherently Catholic celebration, these priests seem rather indifferent as they gather at Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio (Church of St Mary of the Lilly). Built for Admiral Antonio Barbaro between 1678 and 1681, the church has one of the city's finest baroque facades featuring relief maps of places where he served, including Canada and Corfu.

Other stories about Venice