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What Not to Do in Venice

by Lee Marshall

Don't…
Stroll freestyle

Going with the flow is not a good idea in Venice. The flow heads from the station to the Rialto down the tourist souk of Strada Nova. Then it veers south to San Marco, running a commercial gauntlet of pricey carb meals, frothy cappuccinos, plastic gondola souvenirs, and tacky Carnevale masks. However, the flow is all you'll get if don't have a good map, because Venice is a city of baffling dead ends and alleyways that somehow send your internal compass spinning. And don't rely on your GPS: This is one place where a combination of poor mapping and unreliable mobile reception can turn your smartphone into a not-so-smart brick.

Instead…
Come with a good map

A waterproof map is all you need to head off the beaten track. Northern Cannaregio, around the church of Madonna dell'Orto (where you'll find Tintoretto art works), belongs to a less hurried and less mercenary world, affording long walks by the canal and dreamy views over the lagoon toward Murano. Or cross the Ponte dei Scalzi from the train station and you'll find yourself in Santa Croce (pictured), one of Venice's most traditional and atmospheric districts, which is traversed by the less-trafficked southern route to the Rialto. Halfway there, you'll emerge into the lovely square of Campo San Giacomo dall'Orio, where kids play in the shade of a 13th-century campanile. Break the journey by grabbing a salad or one of Venice's best pizzas at Il Réfolo (1459 Campiello del Piovan, Santa Croce; 39-41-524-0016), a charming, good-value alfresco pizzeria set up by the son of the owner of Michelin-starred foodie temple Da Fiore.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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