“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” ~ Truman Capote
For Tikka’s three day visit to the capital of the Veneto region of Northern Italy, Venice was like eating a box of dog biscuits in one go. Where else in the world can you walk through every single street of a bustling city, without a single car or bike stopping you and your dog at every corner? It’s a dogs playground with all the new sights, smells and noises to take in and many Piazza pigeons to put in their place.
After a long drive up through Ravenna and along the coast from our overnight in Assisi we looked forward to parking our car and spending some time on foot and on the water. Vehicles are completely banned from the islands that make up Venice, so you need to make arrangements to park your rental cars for your time here. There are multiple garages only a short water taxi distance from your hotel, or you can park on the other side of the lagoon and take a longer ride across the open water. We chose the Venezia Tronchetto Parking structure and it couldn’t have been easier. Clearly marked, lots of parking and only 20 Euros per day. Bye bye car!
We had our hotel book a water taxi for us, and we called to let them know that we were parked and ready, and our sleek water chariot arrived within 10 minutes to whisk Tikka and us to the canals. She was a little unsure of the boat situation as water is not really her thing, but she quickly curled up on the comfy leather seats and watched the view out the windows. Once again, incredibly dog-friendly. There are no issues with dogs taking any private or public boats in Venice.
A quick drop off of our bags after pulling up to the hotel and we hit the streets, eager to start exploring, get our bearings and find the famous Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). Within 1 minute we were lost. Expect this on your first trip out the door and just go with it. You will eventually start to figure out the streets and remember some distinct corners and alleyways to make your way around, but for your first time, just take a deep breath and enjoy being ‘lost’ in a fantastic world of tiny shops, hidden courtyards and out of the way cafes. You can always turn on Google maps…
We wound our way to the wide promenade of Riva delgi Schiavoni which lead us straight to St. Mark’s Square. The crowd was busy but manageable and we knew we’d be back early morning to have the place more to ourselves. One tip, don’t stop for drinks or food in the cafes that surround the Piazza, unless it’s your lifelong dream to have a 14 Euro cup of regular black coffee. As with all of Italy, the cafes and restaurants in Venice welcome canine travelers and there are throngs of places to eat, drink and relax with your dog beside you, at a fraction of the surcharge for stopping by a landmark.
Back out on the promenade we found Giardini Reali, a great little grassy park next to the S. Marco Vaporetto stop (public ferry). For a dog that lives in a rainforest (West Coast of Canada), Tikka had some adjusting to do in Venice as public parks that contain any green are very few and widely spread apart from each other. We jotted down some of the parks before we arrived in each city and used this as a loose walking guide, making a note on which ones were close to our hotel for night time relief. It wasn’t so easy in Venice but Tikka adjusted by finding the smallest of weeds poking out from the stones to relieve herself.
We were greeted by a good number of friendly Venetian off-leash dogs as we took our evening stroll back to our hotel. All happy to say hi to the little Canadian dog visiting their home, giving her tips on how to find the parks and which pigeons to chase.
This is the first of a three-part series on visiting Venice with your dog as we walked many a street, crossed many a canal and visited many a gelato stand. Up next, we visit the main sights of Venice, explore some less visited areas and Tikka decides that pigeons aren’t so great after all.
Just found our roundup of traveling through Italy with a dog? Catch up on our Dog Friendly Travel Page and our visits to Florence, Rome, Amalfi Coast and more!