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ABOVE: Waiting lines at popular attractions can
cut into your vacation time, so bail out and explore Venice's quieter back
streets when the mobs become unbearable.
Mistake #4: Following the crowd
Everybody who comes to Venice wants to see the
Piazza San Marco, and for most people,
deciding to visit St. Mark's Basilica is
a no-brainer. Other monuments, museums, and attractions are iffier: Depending on
your tastes, you may enjoy yourself more--and make better use of your time or
money--by heading off the well-trodden path.
attracts group tours and mobs of individual tourists who feel obliged to see
it, but during peak season or on holiday weekends, the entrance lines can be
horrendous. Admission isn't cheap, either. Unless you have an irresistible
urge to see large, ornately-decorated rooms with paintings by artists like
Tintoretto and Veronese, you may be just as happy visiting places like the
island cemetery of San Michele (inset photo) or the
Naval Historical Museum
at Arsenale, which is a few minutes east of the
Doge's Palace along the St. Mark's Basin waterfront.
Rialto Bridge is an impressive sight, and you'll appreciate the views of
the Grand Canal from its balustrades. Still, that doesn't mean you need to
imitate the lemming-like crowds who linger around souvenir stands and have
lunch at tourist restaurants near the bridge. You'll get a better feel for
Venice (and suffer fewer bruises from other tourists' elbows) by heading
inland from the Grand Canal and exploring typical Venice neighborhoods.
- If paying 20 euros for a small glass of peach juice
with sparkling wine doesn't appeal to you, don't feel obligated to join the
tourists of Temple Fielding's generation who splurge on Bellinis at
Harry's Bar. (While you're at
it, avoid the
Hard Rock Café unless you're desperate for a t-shirt.)
Bottom line: Instead
of following the crowds or a guidebook author's itinerary, follow your instincts
and inclinations. Your best holiday memories are likely to come from watching
daily life in Venice
or discovering Venice's
lesser-known sights on your own.
Mistake #5: Paying too much for