Venice is different from most of the western cities you have ever visited: no cars, no roads, no malls, no clubs, etc. This is therefore normal not to understand it fully and that’s why we wrote about the common questions and misconceptions about the city.
If understanding Venice better is key to your relationship to the city, understanding the Venetians better is, at least, of equal importance. We try to collect here a few tips and hints, which will help you understanding the Venetians and having a better interaction with them. A better relationship means a better experience of the city and a far better service all through your stay.
Two General Rules:
- Remember that Venice is a city. A city with inhabitants, workers, children, visitors, students. If you remember this while visiting Venice, you will already be a favorite of the inhabitants!
- When possible, try and behave like the locals do. On a 7,98 sq.km surface, that hosts 27 millions tourists, basic respect of manners and local rules helps people getting along and the city to be livable both for the inhabitants and for the tourists who are visiting it.
Wherever you will go, people will greet you with a “ciao” or “buongiorno/buonasera” or “salve”.
Visitors aren’t expected to speak Italian, not even one word of it, but greeting back in any language is something that Italians expect others to do. A smile or a wave of your hand is just as appreciated. The greeting to be formal or informal is not a key point of the Italian culture, but the lack of any form of greeting will put the locals in a negative disposition towards you.
In Venice, you’ll notice that authentic shops, quality shops and family businesses all have a common point: the customer service. Local shops have an approach that is similar to that of a boutique, rather than a big mall.
The staff, often the owner him/herself, is there to provide you with their help and expertise, to help you shopping and to find the right choice for you (Italian clothes, for example, have different sizes than any other country).
The offer to help you is not a way to be pushy or to force a purchase, it is the traditional way to welcome and help the customer. This practice, indeed, avoids messing up the little shops and makes it possible for the worker to serve more customers at once even in a tiny and busy space.
If you are willing to try something or to shop let the people help you, it will be easier, nicer and more fun. If you are only willing to look, people will give you time.
Trash and wastes
If you’re spending the whole day out, we would recommend you to bring a little plastic bag for collecting your trash. We apologize for having to ask you this.
Unfortunately, as most of the things that should be managed by the public administration, garbage collection is a big problem. There are way too few trash cans in Venice, and those few that exist are only in the main streets and end up being filled (and not emptied until the following morning) before midday.
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