Venice is one of my favourite cities, and that's probably not that uncommon. What I like the most of Venice is not only the amazing architecture, the canals, the unusual, unique, decadent look: it's the silence. You wouldn't believe it since it's crowded with tourists, but the silence that you can experience in Venice, won't greet you in any other city in the world: it's the silence that you can hear at night because there are no cars, and you can freely wander around, not worrying about traffic lights and road junctions. It's an amazing example of pedestrian city....Sorry... I just let my feelings go and I was going out of topic! Let's talk now about 10 things you didn't know about Venice!
1) Fishing in the canals of Venice
Fishing is not forbidden in the lagoon: it has some restriction according to the different areas, but if you are an amateur with a single fishing-line you can even fish in Canal Grande (but probably you wouldn't catch anything), you just need to pay a yearly license. Even this gondolier is taking advantage of a free moment from his job to fish from his gondola.
2) Taking a free boat ride to the Venice Casino
If you are on a budget and you can't afford renting a Gondola, you can rejoice taking a free ride offered by the Venice Casino. It's a good way to experience the canals without paying a penny. The starting point is next to Calatrava bridge on the other side of Piazzale Roma. You don't need to gamble to use it, nobody will ask you anything, just jump on the boat or stand in line.
3) Entering for free at the Venice Casino
After you took your free ride to the Casino, you can even visit it for free. An admission fee is usually required, but there are flyers distributed at hotels or on the road that give you free entrance to the Venice Casino. Sometimes it's enough to ask at the entrance. A jacket must be worn, but don't worry if you don't have one, you can borrow it for free at the Casino.
4) The smell of the water in Venice
No, don't trust this picture, the water in Venice is not smelling like a toilet; that Venice is smelling bad is just a urban legend. At the worst you feel a light smell of seaweeds as in every other place on the seaside. People probably forget that in the canals there is sea water. If there is a smell, it might be from the garbage, because of delays to collect it in summer.
5) How are transported the dead in Venice?
Even if it's a macabre fact, it's interesting to know. Tourists live their lives as tourists and usually don't get involved with local life. But people living in Venice have to manage all aspects of life. So since there are no roads, instead of a hearse it's used a funerary boat to transport the deceased at the cemetery. But where is the cemetery?
6) Also the cemetery is an island in Venice!
San Michele island, very close to Venice city on the way to Murano, is the most important and most known cemetery of Venice. Active since 1807, it is standing on a separate island (actually two connected islands) for sanitary reasons. It is also a touristic attraction, since it is hosting famous personalities like the Russian composer Stravinskij or the Argentinian football player Helenio Herrera.
7) Parking gondolas at night
During the day gondolas are busy strolling tourists around the canals, but when the night is coming and the demand is falling, where to "store" the venetian boats? Similarly to cars, also for gondolas there are parking lots in the canals!
8) Where to find quietness in Venice
Yes, Venice is really crowded with tourists, but it's easier than you can imagine to find a quiet spot. As long as you stay away from the main streets, you hardly will meet anybody. Often it's sufficient to just go to the next parallel road to find a quite alley, to explore and enjoy on your own.
9) Is it allowed to feed pigeons in San Marco square?
If you are thinking of taking the typical touristic photo in Piazza San Marco while feeding the pigeons from your hands, you should know that you are risking an hefty fine. In fact it's strictly forbidden to feed the pigeons, that are damaging with their guano all the monuments and the beauties around.
10) Graduation pranks in North of Italy
If you happen to be in Venice during graduation day, you might stumple upon herds of students partying around the city. In the north of Italy it's very common for guests of honor to be congratulated with pranks by their friends. It's not unusual to meet people dressing like crazy and singing "Dottoooore, Dottoooore dottore del buco del cu', vaffancu', vaffancu' vaffancu'!" Literally translated is a little bit vulgar, but the meaning is something like "Doooctor, Doooctor, a two-bit doctor you are, go away go away go away!"