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What Not to Do in Venice

by Lee Marshall

Don't…
Visit in high summer

Venice doesn't do summer well. The lagoon generates heat haze and mosquitoes, and the locals go into survival mode, shutting down all but their most essential social graces in the face of the tourist invasion. And yet for some reason (school holidays?), travelers seem to assume that what goes for Tuscany goes for Venice. June and July are peak visitor months, with sticky August only slightly less crowded. Odd years (2011, 2013, 2015…) at least have the draw of the art Biennale, which runs from early June through the end of November, but otherwise summer can be lean on the cultural front, with most major exhibitions and concert seasons starting up again in September or October.

Instead…
Visit in late autumn, winter, or early spring

In misty November, Venice reveals its true self: a maritime republic replete with glorious art and architecture, yet possessing the soul of a close-knit northern Italian town. This is the season when locals, having reclaimed their city, meet up for a spritz or a prosecco around 7 pm. Join them at the city's new aperitivo hub in the Rialto market area, where bars like Naranzaria or Al Mercà are abuzz, even in subzero temperatures (213 Campo Cesare Battisti, San Polo; 39-347-100-2583).

Next: Take the path less travelled >

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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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