Thu, February 2nd, 2012 - By

Spotlight: Venice in Winter


Ever thought about Venice for the winter?  It’s technically a holiday on the Mediterranean, although perhaps not exactly the one you were thinking of.

As I said in my spotlight of Venice, this isn’t my favourite city in Italy, but winter is actually a better time to go, for many reasons. The biggest bonus of all is that it is less crowded – and that is perhaps one of the worst problems with Venice, in that the crowds tumbling through those tiny streets and alleyways can be overwhelming. In winter, not so much.

Venice at Sunset

I won’t lie: the weather in winter can be fickle – and damp. But you can also get some dreamy sunrises and sunsets with the clouds, and misty canals can make for very romantic setting. It’s hard to not like glasses of wine or steaming mugs of Venice’s famed hot chocolate while watching the world go by out a cafe window, then retreat to your upgraded hotel room that was a steal because its off season. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a dusting of snow, which can look lovely and is great for photos (though those old cobblestones can be slippery – careful!)

Festivals

The only exception to winter crowds is in February, when the city whirs into life for the famed Carnevale festival, where visitors and locals alike don amazing costumes and face masks and the entire city parties hard for a fortnight. I’ve never been, but the photos look surreal (a bit like a renaissance Vegas meets Mardi Gras), but this also means crowds and higher prices.

The big Carnevale isn’t the only festival; to combat the dreary days (and no doubt celebrate the fact that the city has a little bit of breathing room), there are a number of theatre performances ongoing throughout winter.

Get Out and About

While the winter means some attractions have reduced hours, most aren’t closed, and with no queues, you can zip through a bit more quickly than normal. But I’d encourage you during your winter travels to get out. Go visit the glassblowers in Murano, or a daytrip to the Lido to watch the waves lap up on the shore. Padova (Padua) is another charming and city brimming with history and an easy train ride.

The pigeons are a year-round "attraction."

For further help in planning your winter trip, the city of Venice has its own winter website (in English and Italian) featuring the latest news on events and special promotions. Sadly this just covers more of the Christmas and New Year-related events, but there are some good tips. Their Facebook page looks even better – sadly it’s only in Italian!

Been to Venice in winter?  What are your tips?

Photo by Joanna Penn, Jon Lean, Stefan Insam

Andy Hayes

Andy Hayes is a travel journalist currently based in Seattle, Washington. When not soaking up the Pacific Northwest lifestyle or enjoying life on the road, he is spending time hanging out on his own travel lifestyle magazine, Sharing Travel Experiences.

Posted : Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 at 11:00
Category : Spotlight
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