“What time does Venice close?” So bumbles the sadly
mistaken tourist in an oft-repeated query. This
island city, Venetians are quick to point out, is decidedly not a museum, nor is it an Italian Disneyland.
It is, however, a place to get lost in. Locals will often, in fact,
advise visitors to wander. Which is a lovely idea, too—that is,
until you’ve passed the Peggy Guggenheim Collection six times
in an hour, and you’re still not sure where the Accademia Bridge
is. Yes, the city is complex and confusing, but there’s a method to
the madness. Venice is divided into six sestieri, or neighborhoods
, each with its own personality, its own pleasures. And
so this highly curated handbook is peppered with guides from
six insiders who’ve revealed the secrets of their favorite sestiere.
Because many, if not most, of the 16 million travelers who
come to Venice each year never get any farther than the welltraversed
wonders of the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco.
But beyond those icons, and past the touristic shops and restaurants
that surround them, there lies a different city altogether.