Tourist Traps That Are Worth It
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Tourist trap cred: It may be pushing it to damn an entire European city—nay, a major civilization—as a tourist trap, but let's be real: No place on earth is as utterly transformed as Venice is each summer—from a magnificent city of canals, churches, cafés, and art to a seething pit of humanity. Venice has 60,000 full-time residents and an estimated 20 million annual visitors. The Serenest Republic? Not by our standards.
Why it's worth it: Frankly, it's hard to justify a visit in July or August, when tourists jam the bridges, museums, and piazzas. Come in November, however, when fog creeps through the picturesque alleyways and late-afternoon light creates mysterious shadows, and you'll swoon at the romance. This is the time to get to know the real Venice and appreciate its many treasures: the Tintorettos in the Doge's Palace, the Picassos at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a glass of wine in a dusky bacaro near the Rialto Market.
Insider tip: The touristy restaurants that line the main streets have done a grave disservice to Venetian cuisine's reputation. For an authentic taste of the city's pasta and seafood dishes, head off the beaten path to eateries like Alle Testiere or Anice Stellato.