Venice a city of wonders and of...tourist traps
We love to show you the beauty of Venice, its traditions, its places and its events and hope to make many of you desire to come here. For this reason, we also feel responsible towards every single one of you and want to avoid you any possible hassle or problem.
First of all, let us assure you that Venice is an incredibly safe city. In Venice, Murano and Burano, a girl can walk around even very late at night in whichever part of the city and never be in danger.
Most of the dangers or annoyances in Venice, unfortunately, are caused by people who want to trick and exploit unaware and trustful tourists.
We tried to summarize a few of these (mainly economic) dangers, in order for you to know what to stay away from and to make sure you have a beautiful time all through your stay in Venice.
P.s.: as we will mention more than a few criminal behaviors, if we should suddenly disappear, please call 911
They might look like official taxis but they are not. Hopping on a fake taxi is an expensive mistake.
While taxi drivers might be perceived as expensive by a broad audience, their price has been established together with the city and it is fixed for certain routes, usually between 80€ and 110€ in daytime.
Fake drivers, on the other hand, won’t tell you any price and will, illegally, get you on board. Only at a later stage they might tell you their staggering high personally-made-up-cost for the ride and force you to pay.
Keep your eyes open! You really don’t want to be in a boat with someone forcing you to pay 300€.
If you’re urged into a restaurant by an “Italian looking” person, who calls after passers-by and invites them to check out their “Italian food” menu… RUN!
While high prices are not always a guarantee for quality, a “tourist menu” is almost certainly a guarantee for some underwhelming frozen food experience.
For Italian standards, Venice is an expensive city, and so is the food, even in the supermarkets. It is by no means possible to offer a full menu with fresh ingredients at 10 or 12 euros.
Masks costing less than 20 euros can't be made in Venice. Chances are you're looking at made in China masks, a threat to your Health.
In the past 10 years, Venice has been flooded with cheap, made-in-Asia, mass-produced souvenirs shops that have replaced shops essential for the life in Venice, and have made the life of genuine artisans much harder.
Besides the social and economic consequences Venetians are facing, there is a something else at threat: “just” your Health.
Among the extremely cheap souvenirs that can be found all over the city, there are clearly also masks.
These masks do not comply with EU legislations regulating the colors and substances allowed for wearable products: the contact between these masks and your skin is potentially dangerous and harmful for your health. Why on earth do vendors get permission to sell them?
In Italian we say that once a law is written, a loophole is found: these masks are allowed to be sold “for decorative use only“, and are labeled as such.
These labels, however, are extremely small, “tend to fall off”, and those salesmen somehow tend to forget to tell you about them…
We personally have and wear a few masks each, and our skin is in perfect health. We let you guess if we got ours from an artisan or if we picked the “for decorative use only” ones…
The picture above shows a genuine and beautiful handmade mask.
There are no real beggars in the street of Venice. Don't fall for this organised extorsion.
It saddens and frustrates every Venetian when we see generous and good-hearted visitor giving money to beggars. “What?! Why?!”, you may wonder.
Venice is a small pedestrian city, and inhabitants and workers tend to know each other’s faces. Among those faces we learned to recognize, there are also those of said beggars who fake disabilities and terrible diseases.
These well-organized healthy people and their cunning faces can be seen reaching early in the morning from the mainland, all straight and in full health, and getting ready to mischief the good-hearted people who think they’re helping someone in need.
Money given to these people is money given to criminal organizations.
Like in every other city, there are homeless people in Venice, some of them being very well known and loved by every one of us.
These people are given food and some help by the inhabitants themselves, receive free assistance from the State, and are followed by amazing volunteers that offer love and help to those in need.
These people do not stay in the most crowded area nor would they call after you asking for money.
If you see people wearing costumes asking for money around Venice, they are not legit and they might even blackmail you.
A new illegal trend that started back in 2014, consists of people standing in busy areas wearing horrible plastic costumes and makeup, inviting you smiling to take a picture with them.
Besides the fact that it is an illegal activity since those people don’t have any authorization, there is more to it. Once you will have taken a picture with them, they will insist on being paid up to 10€ and go as far as taking the phone/camera off your hands and not return it until they will receive a payment.
Such a scenario can happen as well when in Saint Mark: an illegal seller will offer to take a picture of you in front of the Basilica, and then ask for money to return your gear.
In case you couldn’t tell, we hate these behaviors!
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Mind your belongings in crowded places. Pickpocketing is rare but it happens.
Even though it is a not a common problem, for good measure we suggest you pay attention to your belongings especially when in very (over)crowded places as on water buses, San Marco square, and the Rialto bridge. Thousands of people in a very small place create confusion and make an easy target for pickpockets.
In case you're tempted, do not buy from street vendors. You could get in big trouble.
Do absolutely not buy products from illegal vendors on the streets. Not only does it nourish the illegal market, but it can also lead you into big troubles: for example, if you buy counterfeit goods such as bags, glasses, etc you could be fined for up to 7.000€.
Avoid taking or giving anything to people in the street. They will hussle you to pay for this rose, gadget or service you didn't want.
If it hasn’t already happened to you, it’s bound to happen, especially in an area such at St Mark’s square.
When strolling around Venice minding your own business, you will see people walking in your directions to then try to literally force into your hands the rose or gadget they are trying to sell.
Do not take it, not even for a moment, or they will chase you until you pay them for what they initially gave you “for free”.
Oh and never never step on the Infamous Green Step
What’s that?? Every local has seen dozen of visitors stepping on it and… flying straight into the canal!
All over the streets of the city, there are steps that were built to give access to the canals, providing an easy way to step on the boats.
Over the centuries, however, the levels of the seas have increased and the lowest steps are now covered by water for many hours per day, and therefore covered by green algae.
High and low tide alternate every 6 hours, leading those steps to be exposed for some hours every day.
During those hours, many people are lured into stepping on them to take some beautiful pictures from an interesting angle, but the moment they place their foot on that slippery ground, they end falling straight into the canal.
The water is not cold, nor are there strong streams, but houses in Venice have been flushing their toilets for centuries straight into the canals, and some still do… we guess we need to tell you no further!
Now you know what to look out for when visiting Venice. To best plan your next visit, however, make sure to check out also the following resources to make the best out of your stay while making a positive impact on the local:
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