"The Deciphered Code"
Finding your way around Venice because its different!
You need to know about the unique issues in Venetian map reading.

Venice is a walker''s city and so anyone planning a trip to Italy ''s Venice will cherish this information about "The Deciphered Code" to finding your way around Venice because it is so different. It was once a mystery to the writer - all is now clear.

Having an address and a map [buy a good quality one on arrival] is not enough when finding your way in Venice. It is most often a challenge. It is different from anything you will find in any other Italian city.

VEV118 in Venice, Veneto
What are the districts of Venice?
Let ''s go over the basics that will aid your enjoyment of Venice when you commence exploring this wonderful place.

Venice, made up of many small islands, is divided into six districts or sestiere as follows:

VEV114 in Venice, Veneto

San Marco is the district at the centre of Venice Cannaregio is the northern district of Venice
Castello is the eastern district of Venice Dorsoduro is the western district of Venice
San Polo and Santa Croce in the north west of Venice Giudecca - is an area in the southern district of Venice [further south again is the Lido]
What does this address mean?!
You will be wise to get to know the different types of streets in Venice - understanding these will assist enormously in finding your way as it will be too easy to see them as place names or part of place names rather than descriptions of a type street etc;

Sottoportego - is a path that goes under a building
Canale or canals
Rio - a narrower canal
Riva - a quay
Corte - a courtyard often at the end of a street going nowhere else [denoted on your map as Cte]
Rio terra - was once a canal but now a path
Ramo - is a small street connecting two larger streets or canals - consequently a Ramo may end at the waters edge and take you nowhere
Calle - is used in Venice to denote a street [elsewhere in Italy a via] [denoted on your map as C or Cl]
Fondamenta - is a path along side a canal [denoted on your map as Fondam, F or Fond]
Ruga - is a walkway with workshops or shop outlets on each side of the path
Salizzada - a main paved thoroughfare [denoted on your map as Saliz or Sal]
In Venice remember there is only one piazza - Piazza San Marco or St Marks Square and the others are called campo [denoted on your map as Cpo] or if very small a campiello.

Narrow"Calle" winding through Venice

Now navigating Venice is...easy!
Street names are often difficult to locate. In addition districts and not streets are numbered - a Venetian tradition that has been retained. Finding a building using these numbers can be very difficult and time consuming. It is often the only way but very frustrating. Generally you know if you are headed in the correct direction if the numbers are coming closer to your destination number - otherwise turn around and try again. It doesn't always work though as there appears to be no logic in how the numbers run. It sounds like a crazy system and is at the other end of GPS in finding a destination address.

Once you get the hang of this system you can find addresses in quick time, to your own surprise. There must have been some intuitive logic in how ancient Venetians laid out their city of commerce and culture. It works - after some initial wrong moves that we all take.

Crossing Venice to and from the major landmarks to places such as the Piazza San Marco, the Accademia, the Rialto and the Railway Station are easy following well marked signposts. Its amazing how one goes with the flow almost with blind faith finding the desired location in short time. You will lose your way from time to time but Venice is not that large to be lost for long. Enjoy Venice.

This sign in this article is from an alternative style of accommodation not yet familiar to many visitors to Italy - places run by religious orders. Hospitality to pilgrims is a centuries old tradition. Some religious houses open their doors to tourists. Look at Monastery Stays website www.monasterystays.com for further information.
About Monastery Stays
Monastery Stays Pty is a typical innovative small company established to provide a superior service for people wanting an authentic experience in Italy of staying in unique and value for money lodgings conducted by religious orders, showing warm hospitality to all travellers.

Monastery Stays Pty Ltd
Angela Hoban
VP Customer Relations

Email: info@monasterystays.com
Website: www.monasterystays.com

Note: The author is David Hoban, a director of Monastery Stays Pty Ltd. This article may be freely reproduced if acknowledgement is given to Monastery Stays Pty Ltd or a link to our website provided.