Walking in Venice
Buy a good map
We prefer maps that are reasonably detailed (such as the Touring Club Italiano's 1:5000 Pianta della Città:Venezia), but if you aren't near a large bookstore, you can buy a simpler map--such as the popular map shown in the inset photo, which is available at most tobacconists, newsstands, and souvenir shops.
In fact, some of the cheaper maps (such as the one shown) have one advantage over more detailed street plans: They show Venice's six sestieri or districts in contrasting colors, which can help you figure out where you are when you see a sign like the one at left.
Use the map only when necessary
It makes sense to look at your map before leaving your hotel, the railroad station, etc., just to get your bearings and to figure out a rough route. But don't stop at every corner to check the map: If you do, you'll quickly become frustrated, because street names in Venice change constantly, and a surprising number of streets aren't shown on even the most detailed maps.
The same rule applies to smartphone and tablet users. We recently saw a man walking along, staring continuously at the map on his iPad while his wife enjoyed the sights.
Remember: Venice is a compact city, and when you get lost, you're probably no more than a two- or three-minute walk from a square, a church, or another landmark. When in doubt, follow the crowd and the directional signs that are scattered all over the historic center (see page 3 of this article).
Next page: Directional signs
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