As we began our descent to Venice’s Marco Polo airport, I tried to catch a glimpse of the city from the airplane window and all I could see was water, scary! Venice is surreal, it’s just different from what you are used to. Getting off the plane, we went straight to buy tickets for a water-taxi to where we were staying. You can get on land transportation from the airport but it all depends on where you are staying and what’s easier for you.
For Nigerians, you require a SCHENGEN Visa. The amazing thing that happens is, if you fly into Italy from another Schengen country, France in my case, you would not have to pass through immigration. It would be like a local flight from Abuja to Lagos. I had initially planned to take an inter-country train from France passing through Germany, but 12 hrs stuck in a train for prices almost same or even more expensive than the plane ticket (£80 approx. on Easyjet) oh no.. I gave it a pass, might still try it later in life.
Depending on where you are traveling from, flight costs should be no more than £600. There is no direct flight from Lagos or Abuja so you have to connect via France (shortest flight), Istanbul, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Frankfurt etc. An additional £500 should be enough to cover you for a max of 5 days. You will be spending Euros so factor this in, don’t buy Euros on the island if you want good rates.
Language & People
As Nigerians, you are likely to understand where a typical Italian is coming from, they are very expressive. They are an extroverted bunch. Everything is pretty much in Italian, try to learn some. You can get by with just English but it’s helpful knowing a bit of Italian words.
Where We Stayed
I thought that with it being Venice I should stay on a boat and I did. We were on a little piece of island called La Certosa. Not many people go there, so it’s relatively quiet, but still close to the main island.
Getting Around Venice
You can get water taxis which would cost upwards of 5o Euros or you can just wait for the public water buses which are quite cheap, sometimes you may end up paying nothing.
Food & Shopping
Best to eat where the locals eat, Castello, Guidecca etc You will find Chinese food if that’s what you want but I had an amazing plate of pasta, good food. You will find some designer shops in San Polo.
Things to do in Venice
Believe me, just being in Venice is enough! Venice is good for celeb-spotting if you are into that sort of thing, especially when the Venice film festival is on. Got to see Gabrielle Union and her beau at the airport. You may go to Lido for beaches and or just explore the main island which has a lot of things to see. A good thing to do is walk from Isola san Pietro all the way to the Rialto Bridge/San Polo and then take a boat which will pass through the Grand Canal.
The end of August/Early September is a good time to be in Venice, the hoardes of tourists are beginning to lessen and it’s not very hot. People always talk about Venice being smelly but I didn’t smell anything that bothered me.
Venice is fun! you should go, it is not just for the honey-mooners or couples. I saw a Nigerian family, complete with about 3 children, having a good time. I thought I would be well scared because of all the water and the fact that I cannot swim but it was completely fine!
You cannot regret Venice for one second, I promise.