Venice Warnings Or Dangers Tips by suvanki Top 5 Page for this destination
Venice Warnings and Dangers: 272 reviews and 301 photos
Saint Marks Piazza September 22nd 2009
Venetians are used to carrying on their lives during times of Aqua Alta (High Water). Although most common between October and early March, It isn't unknown for it to occur at other times.
Raised platforms (passerelle) (pic 2) are placed at points most affected by the high waters, and are efficiently laid out by special teams of council workers (pic 5)
When using these, the idea is to keep to the right side of the platform, and keep walking.
Last Christmas (2010), the waters were especially high, and I endured the platforms along Lista de Spagna, which was quite nerve racking as people trundled along with their suitcases/rucksacks, some stopping to take photos!
Some hotels will loan out rubber boots, or you can purchase them quite easily - around 11 Euros for plain colours, to upto 50 Euros and above for the funkier designs. Street vendors sell plastic bags to fit over your shoes, but these aren't very useful.
As San Marco Piazza is one of the lowest parts of the island, it is one of the first places to experience 'flooding' especially around the main doorway of the Basilica (pics 1-3).
Water seeps up through the Squares pavement first - I've visited in June and September and have seen some flooding here.
On a plus side, you can take some interesting photos of the reflections of the buildings and lights.
There are also many places that you can walk and enjoy Venice that aren't affected by the Aqua Alta.
Acqua alta poster - info about new warning signals
From December 7th 2007, a new digital sound transmitter system came into operation, to warn of imminent 'High Water' or Aqua Alta.
So, first a siren is used to alert everyone of the high tide alarm.
Next, a signal indicates the expected level of high tide - this signal has between 1 and 4 notes.
1 long sound (8 seconds) on the same note = 110cm level of high tide
2 sounds in an upward scale (4 + 8 seconds) = 120cm " " " "
3 sounds in an upward scale (4+4+8 seconds) = 130cm " " " "
4 sounds in an upward scale (4+4+4+8 seconds) = 140cm and above
So, you need to count the sounds, to know the expected level.
These signals are repeated several times.
Apparently these alerts can be sent by text message - I was wondering how those with hearing difficulties managed, now I know.
Bridge of Sighs December 2008
Venices' churches, buildings, monuments, canals and pavements etc are no different to those in other cities, they all eventually need cleaning or repairing - So don't be surprised to see some of Venice's famous sights taking on a different appearance.
On my visit to Venice in December 2006, one of my favourite views was of Santa Maria della Salute, I took lots of photos from the Molo etc day and night.
Returning 6 months later, I was poised to get my first shot of it from the vaporetto. I was stunned to see the elegant dome was covered in scaffolding. It had an appearance of a hairnet covering its glory! This was still in place when I returned December 2007.
At my 2006 visit, another of my favourite churches San Zaccaria was hidden under plastic sheeting. A year later boarding was in place in front of the entrance, but this was quite interesting - it had information re. the restoration programme, but when You moved position, the info changed. (Like one of those childhood puzzles that you move to alter the picture)
December 2007, I noticed that the statue of Goldini in Campo Bartolomeo was hidden behind boarding - again with info about the statue underneath and the restoration work.
The church of San Simeone Piccolo that sits on the Grand Canal opposite the train station, is a church that has intrigued me each time I've passed it, and I was hoping to visit it - again it was covered up.
Entering Plazza San Marco from the Piazetta dei Leoncini, I noticed that part of the Basillica was encased in scaffolding and plastic sheeting. It wasn't until my last day, sitting outside Quadris that I noticed that one of the flagpoles in front of San Marco was also encased.
So for those hoping to get a pristine photograph of these sights, you might be disappointed.
On the other hand, You'll get a different view.
After all, despite criticism that Venice is nothing more than a theme park/ Disneyland, it is a working city, and Tinkerbell doesn't appear with magic dust to transform the buildings overnight!
Hopefully some of the locals are employed in the work.
UPDATE September 2010**** At my recent visit- the work is completed on Salute, but the also The Bridge of Sighs is visible from Ponte della Paglia still. but the walls of the Doges Palace either side of the Rio del Palazzo are encased in plastic sheeting, and behind the Bridge, so you can't view from the small bridge behind. it looks quite stunning at night though! San Zacharia Church is now uncovered, tho' Piccolo is still encased!
The Campanile is undergoing rennovation
You should have your ticket purchased and validated prior to boarding. If you can't do this, for example the vaporetto stop doesn't have a ticket office, (As I found at Rialto Mercato) you must notify the bus 'conductor' immediately on boarding - where they will issue a single ticket. It's not worth trying to get away without paying as Ticket Inspectors issue hefty on the spot fines - about 30 Euros-also, if you have a ticket, but haven't validated it.
You must get a receipt if you have to pay a fine. If not, You can report the inspector and file a complaint at the next vaporetto station.
Some of the popular stops ie San Zaccariah/ Rialto Bridge have staff inspecting your ticket before boarding. It's not just tourists that are checked-it's locals too.
Train and Bus tickets should be validated too.
Even if you've purchased a 12 hour/48 hour etc 'Saver Ticket' it should be validated prior to the first journey, then swiped at the beginning of each journey - I've only just found this out - I thought that you only made the initial validation - I'm not sure why you have to swipe it at each journey, as you are entitled to unlimited travel during the allocated time limit. (Unless it's to 'track' useage/popular routes etc, for future costings)
Validation machines are available at each Vaporetto stop, the new 'swipe' machines, mean you just have to hold the ticket in front of the screen - the first validation 'sets the time of expiry. Subsequent swipes remind you of the date and time of expiry.
The old yellow machines are for the ticket to be inserted and stamped.
So, you've planned your trip to Venice with your loved one, and a Gondola ride is a must do... maybe there is a plan for a celebration...or a proposal.....!!!!
You know it will be expensive...80 Euros plus!!! But it's surely worth it......
Is it so romantic when your gondolier is smoking, or talking on his mobile?
I just caught these pics within a couple of minutes of each other near the Santa Maria dei Miracoli. The first gondolier was passing the 2nd, and I heard him say cigaretto...I thought he was telling him off for smoking-but he was asking for a ciggie! well he might have been on a break, but, it wouldn't entice me to hire him...
The 3rd gondolier was on his mobile phone, but the couple seemed oblivious.
Now I've got a soft spot for the Venetian gondoliers, even though I've got no intentions of hiring a gondola ride-I'd much rather take the 50 cent traghetto ride -standing up across the Grand Canal,(and I've written about the Gondolas and gondoliers in my Local Customs tips), but these characters seem to be taking the p*&$s and going against gondolier etiquette
Cute or Horrific?
Another reason for my preference to visit Piazza San Marco at night time is that there are NO PIGEONS flying around! (They're still there, but not at ground level!)
I can't understand why they are encouraged to gather in the square, by having vendors selling bags of seed, so that tourists can feed the vermin, and even attract them to settle on their heads and hands for photographs and amusement.
For those trying to view the sights of Piazza San Marco, or just trying to pass through, it is fraught with pigeons refusing to budge from by your feet, to flocks of these winged rats suddenly taking off a few inches from your head, flapping their wings and dropping feathers (and worse!!!) onto those below.
Although I try not to get too close, it's not hard to see that most of these birds look unhealthy, with parts of their claws and wings missing, strange lumps and bumps, and dirty oily looking feathers.
These creatures are Feral pigeons, (aka city doves, city pigeons or street pigeons), and are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic variety
was originally bred from the wild Rock Pigeon, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains.
All three types readily interbreed. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, and have easily adapted to Urban life.
Besides the nuisance of them gathering in large numbers - estimates of 13,000 birds per day flying through this square alone, they are a health hazard and are proven to be causing damage to the structure of the historic buildings.
These feral pigeons carry ticks and mites, and cause lung diseases and salmonella (particularly at risk are children and the elderly) One of my work colleagues was hospitalised last year with a near fatal viral pneumonia. She'd returned from a weekend break in Venice, and although she'd avoided the pigeons as much as possible (due to a slight phobia), had spent some time in Piazza San Marco. The consultant pin pointed this as the cause of her illness.
The pigeons have been shown not to be carriers of the Avian bird flu though.
The sheer weight of roosting birds on the ledges of buildings and the high acid content of their excrement has contributed to the gradual erosion of the stonework.
Apparently thousands of tonnes of bird faeces are created here each day!
Pigeons breed when the food supply is good—for wild rock doves this might be seasonally so they usually breed once a year. In the urban environment, because of their year-round food supply, feral pigeons will breed continuously, laying eggs up to six times a year.
Scavenging discarded food from bins outside restaurants and shops oh and bread and seed from tourists provide a continual banquet.
Short term attempts to reduce the numbers in other cities include casting nets to catch the pigeons, introducing predators such as hawks and peregrine falcons that feed on the birds and their eggs, introducing contraceptive medicine to their feed and poison.
The most effective method has been in food reduction, as this cuts down the population safely and humanely over a period of a few years.
Since April 2008, it has been illegal to feed the pigeons in Piazzo San Marco, with fines being issued to tourists flouting this law ($80-$700)
The seed vendors have apparently been banned from the Piazza (with reports of possible compensation and/or concessionary licences to sell souvenirs etc instead of bird seed)
During my recent visit at Christmas 2008, I wasn't aware that this law had come into effect, though I knew there had been threats for a long time.
Well there were as many pigeons in the Piazza, and as many tourists strewn with them on their bodies posing for photographs! I can't remember if there were any seed vendors there or not though!
So is my photo of the little girl cute or a horror pic?
At each of my visits to Venice, I have been aware of the many posters and notices displayed around the city, exhorting 'Good Behaviour' for visitors and residents, and signs with lists of 'Do Not...' activities.
At my most recent visit, there seemed to be even more (or perhaps I'd just become more aware of their presence!). At one vaporetto stop, there were at least 4 different such notices (I would have taken a photo, but there were quite a few locals waiting, so I didn't feel it was appropriate).
San Marco Piazza 'You can't sit here' team
After wandering into San Marco Piazza, I'd sat down to rest my feet and was looking for something in my bag, when I was approached by a young woman with a large canvas bag who said something to me in Italian.
I explained I was English and didn't understand. She then told me (in English) that I wasn't allowed to sit there. I jumped up! I then wondered why I wasn't allowed - as there were lots of others also doing the same thing. She had moved onto the next person and was repeating her warning.
I noticed one of her colleagues, so decided to find out more.
Apparently the Mayor of Venice is troubled by the huge numbers of tourists sitting around the square and surrounding area, so he's employed this team to go around telling people that they're not allowed to sit there!! Apparently for those who refuse, there is a quick phone call to the police!
I asked why there weren't notices saying that You weren't allowed to sit in the Piazza. She said that it was against the law for notices to be put up in the Piazza!
Apparently You are only allowed to sit and eat in the public gardens.
I now remember reading a small newspaper article in one of the UK travel supplements, stating that the Mayor had employed a team to 'clean up' the Piazza especially targeting men without shirts or anyone eating or drinking.
This doesn't apply to the Piazzas cafes, where You pay dearly for your refreshments.
Perhaps he should have sorted out the pigeons who eat and s*it all over the Piazza first!
I don't know how much these policing the Piazza are paid, but it wouldn't be my idea of a holiday job - the girl I spoke to admitted that it was very stressful, with lots of annoyed people to deal with.
Presumably they're qualified first aiders too - as I'm sure there will be a few tourists keeling over in the summer heat from lack of food and drink and no where to rest!
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