An outdoor concert at Caffè Florian
VENICE: The Grand Canal

Coming to Venice? Bring comfortable shoes.

Red high-heel shoes

ABOVE: Are you ready to accessorize your red heels with purple toes and white blisters? 

The phrase "practical shoes" may evoke a mental picture of Victorian matrons, but take our word for it: Venice isn't the best place to show off your new four-inch spike heels, unless you're traveling with a podiatrist or being carried around in a sedan chair.

To be sure, Venice is mostly flat (if you ignore the city's 400+ footbridges), and the pedestrian streets are paved with neatly-fitted blocks of stone, not the rounded cobblestones that can make walking treacherous for footwear fashionistas in many European cities.

No, the problem in Venice is simply that you're likely to walk. And walk. And walk. 

Vaporetti or water buses are useful for longer trips, or to reach islands like Giudecca or Murano that are separated from the core of Venice by water, but most of the time you'll find it more convenient to move around the city on foot. 

Also, if you need to catch a traghetto gondola ferry to the other side of the Grand Canal, stepping into a small boat while wearing a pair of Jimmy Choos could be tricky.

Our advice: Wear comfortable shoes. They don't need to be trainers. Birkenstocks, or Z-CoiLs (which are about as far removed from Jimmy Choo as a shoe design can be). Any good pair of walking shoes will suffice. But do take pains to protect your feet, and to keep podiactric pain from spoiling your trip to a city where you're likely to walk far more than you do at home.


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