Of all of the places we visited recently, Venice has to be one of the most memorable. We arrived on a cold, misty afternoon and were prepared for the weather to stay this way as we’d been under thick cloud all the way from Rimini…

The lagoon, on either side of the road bridge into Venice was eerie, but still very beautiful,  in the mist. Huge cruise liners, like floating cities, suddenly appeared out of the fog, signalling that we had reached Venezia…

Driving to Venice is a bit daunting – even after negotiating much of the length & breadth of Italy! – but through trial and error this is what we found out & hopefully it may be helpful if you too decide to take the car.

Obviously, being all canals and water and bridges, you have to leave the car in one of the designated car parks outside the centre. Here’s our advice so that you’ll hopefully get there without attempting to kill one another 😉

  • At the end of the road bridge which connects Venice to the mainland, stay in the right hand lane and follow the signs for Garage San Marco. Stay in the right hand lane as this takes you to the SHORT STAY CAR PARK – relatively cheap, considering you’re in Venice (we paid about 12 euros for 5 hours)
  • Turn left out of car park and left again – walk across the bus concourse, up the steps/bridge and you’ll find Santa Lucia train station on your left & the Grand Canal on your right

We walked from this point to St Mark’s Square – it’s a long walk, through winding streets, piazzas, up steps, over bridges and you WILL get lost, but it doesn’t matter as it all leads eventually to the spectacular Piazza San Marco & the stunning Basilica. It is touristy. It is busy. The pigeons will dive bomb. But, it is one of the most breath-taking sights we saw in all of Italy. A fine reward after a very long walk…

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From Piazza San Marco, it’s very easy to get a shuttle back. (There’s also the options of water taxis, and if you’ve more money than sense, a gondola). The journey from St Mark’s to Santa Lucia (where you need to get off if you’re parked in Garage San Marco), takes about an hour and is probably the best way to see Venice. Carabinieri. Ambulances. Private gondolas. Speedboats. They’re all there – a magical experience!

Biggest surprise of all about Venice? Marc Quinn’s controversial “Alison Lapper Pregnant” statue across the water on San Giorgio Maggiore. Unexpected. But very beautiful…

(Photo from Design Boom – mine didn’t come out too well…)