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June 2010

Bicycling in Venice


ABOVE: An illegal bicyclist in Venice's Centro Storico. INSET BELOW: Spiderman can flout the law (but only because he's an arachnid who hasn't reached adolescence).

We don't know if the bicyclist above and her offscreen companion didn't have a clue, or if they were simply ignoring Venice's feet-and-boats-only law while hoping they wouldn't get caught. Either way, cruising Venice's historic center on wheels qualifies as a Stupid Tourist Trick unless you're a child or a disabled person in a wheelchair.

Bicycling, roller-skating, and skateboarding are forbidden in the city center, and for good reason: Many of the streets and lanes are narrow, and they're often filled with pedestrians.

Spiderman on a bicycle in VeniceItaly is a child-friendly country, so young children can get away with riding around squares on their Barbie and Ken bikes or Hello Kitty Rollerblades, but adults are expected to park their bikes on the Lido, in Mestre on the mainland, or--if they can find a space--at the Piazzale Roma (the vehicular gateway to Venice), where the municipal Autoremissa Comunale parking garage has free parking for 25 bikes with a limit of one day per visit.

For information about bike parking in Venice, see the city government's English-language On Bicycle page. 

Tip: If you're biking to Venice's historic center from the mainland and plan to stay overnight, we recommend staying at either of two hotels by the Piazzale Roma that offer bicycle storage for guests:

Hotel Santa Chiara

Best Western Hotel Olimpia


Johnny Depp at The Venice Experience

Corgi in Venice  

ABOVE: Leopold, the Hendersons' Corgi, pines while Karen and Mike of The Venice Experience get up close and personal with Johnny Depp.

In previous Venice movie and celebrity posts, we've chronicled the exploits of Cheryl and Maggie, our celebrity-sniffing service dog, who kept an eye (and, in Cheryl's case, a lens) on the paparazzi who stalked Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie during the shooting of a movie, The Tourist, in Venice over the last few months.

To the great chagrin of our in-house paparazza and her pooch, they--and our Venice Travel Blog--were upstaged recently by private-tour guides Karen and Mike Henderson of The Venice Experience, who were lucky enough to get within 20 feet (about six meters) of Johnny Depp during last-minute retakes of scenes from The Tourist in the Piazza San Marco.

You can read Karen's account and see Mike's photos in Karen's blog post, "Johnny Depp in Venice."

UPS deliveries on the Grand Canal

In many cities, big brown United Parcel Service trucks are more commonplace than Bearded Collies. That's not the case in Venice, where--as the late humorist Robert Benchley once e-mailed his editor at The New Yorker--"Streets [are] filled with water. Please advise."

UPS deliveries in Venice arrive by boat and handcart. For that matter, so do deliveries by Fed Ex, DHL, Poste Italiane, and other courier or postal services: