1- Buy a map. Don’t try to be brave, don’t try to be cool: you need a map in Venice. (And I totally recommend a real one: ok, maybe it’s 60% because I personally don’t like devices, but a good 40% it’s because Google maps gets confused by irregular Venetian’s calli).
Venice is different from all other Italian cities: all famous Italian cities have been founded by Romans, who loved building grids-like roads. This structure helps everyone find their way even if they got lost, while this is not possible in Venice because there isn’t any straight road and a lot of them end in water.
2 – If you get lost, ask people who look like students. If you ask students, you are more likely to find someone who know your language, and they surely know Venice like their pockets. Besides if you are in Dorsoduro you can find a lot of language students so, you won’t have any problems (even if you speak Chinese).
3 – Get lost, (even if it might seem strange because it may look like the opposite of Point 1 but please keep on reading). I know that the majority of you will surely get lost even without trying to do it, but my point is: go see places where no tourists usually go. I have lived in Venice for two years now and I still find places where I’ve never been, glimpses I never seen. And every time is really amazing how beautifully Venice can surprise you.
4 – Don’t buy souvenirs near touristic places. I know that it’s common sense that the more closer you are to San Marco the more expensive items will be but trust me when I say that masks and Murano glasses can really dazzle your eyes, making you think that you never find something as beautiful as those shining treasures. Don’t fall into the trap! Don’t buy in the first souvenir shop you see! Stay focused! You can find exactly the same thing on San Marco or Rialto Bridge than in Strada Nuova for a small price.
5 – Check for ‘acqua alta’, as Italians call high tide. I recommend this website!
Basically, if water level is higher than 80 cm it might be flooded (it depends on where you are: San Marco is the first place where gangways appear). In any case don’t be sad and don’t panic: Venice is fantastic even when there’s high water, in fact it reveals its own peculiar beauty!
6 – If you your hotel is in Mestre and you’re planning to stay for more than 2 days, buy a 10 tickets carnet. It will cost just €1,20 each rather than €1.30, and you can share it with you travel companions!
Did you tried this tricks last time you went to Venice? Let me know in the comment if you have others tips for travellers in the Serenissima!