Venice weather

Venice weather

Here we are, sitting in the shadow of a big elm tree. Not really doing anything just suffering and trying to move as little as possible. The temperature is 32° Celcius, 90 Fahrenheit and it makes your thoughts evolve slooowly. Just reflecting and thinking about the Venice weather and the Venice climate makes you sweat. It’s that hard. And here’s why…

If you want the weather forecasts, go here. This is the best and most accurate site.

Venice weatherThe Venice weather, the climate is not nice. It is cold in the winter and warm in the summer. Nothing strange about that but it is colder and warmer than in many other places in Italy. And the blame falls heavily on the humidity.

Venice weather in the summer

Ok, we know Venice is damp. There is water under the city and water in the canals around the houses. The water also falls from above and it flows in from the sea at high tide. So Venice is a damp city, nothing new under the sun.

But Venice is also located in the northeastern corner of the mighty Po Valley, the largest plain in the whole of the European Mediterranean. The Po Valley, Pianura Padana, was created after the last ice age of sediment from melting water. It has a large river in the middle, namely Po and lots of smaller rivers flowing in from the north and the south. Between the rivers, there are canals for distributing water to agriculture. For the Po Valley is amazingly fertile. Everything grows here and it grows fast under the hot sun in the rich and moist soil.

And that’s fine … We have something to eat.

It’s just that the very high humidity of the whole Po area as well as the wetness of the floating city, makes life unbearable at times. The moisture makes the cold feel colder and the heat feel hotter.

If the temperature is 30 ° Celsius, 86 ° Fahrenheit and the humidity increases, then the subjective perception of the heat increases too. Let’s imagine that we are sitting by the sea and there’s a nice breeze and the relative humidity is 50%, then it feels just like 30 °, 86 °. But if we leave the Venice weatherbeach and walk back to Venice, sneak in between the houses, the sun’s still there but there’s no wind anymore and the humidity rises to 90% … Then the subjective temperature is suddenly 41 ° Celsius, 106 ° Fahrenheit. 

That’s what often happens in the evening. In the middle of the day, the temperature is 32 ° / 90 °. It’s hot but still bearable. In the evening when you lie down in the warm and uncomfortable bed, the humidity rises to 95%. Although the temperature is a bit lower… let’s say 29 ° / 84 °, the subjective heat is 39 °, and now it is getting painful. You get up, open the fridge and grab an ice-cold Peroni. Then you sit down by the window, open the bottle cap but realize that just the effort to lift the beer bottle to your mouth makes you sweat even more.

So what do you do about this?

Because there are a few ways to cope with the summer temperatures. 

  1. Stay in the right place. Airconditioning is the keyword. Choose a hotel with airconditioning and you will at least sleep well. Although in Italy it’s considered unhealthy to shoot too much cold air around. Maybe rightfully so, but I always prefer sleeping to avoiding getting a cold. If for some reason you don’t have airconditioning, then staying at the bottom floor is always cooler, staying at the beach at Lido or Cavallino is cooler and having air flowing through the room is cooler even if the air is hot. Open the windows. Just make sure they have mosquito nets, otherwise, you won’t sleep because of the mosquitos. 
  2. Move as little as possible. The humid air penalizes moving. If you’re absolutely still then you’ will suffer less. Now that’s difficult cause you’ve come to Venice for the attractions, but still, take a lot of brakes, drink a lot and walk slowly on the shadow side. 
  3. Get someone to invite you to an Altana, the famous Venetian rooftop terrace. Up there it’s definitely better. And the view is nice. 
  4. Don’t come in the summer. This is the best advice of them all. Instead of summer, come in spring or autumn, or even in winter. Summer isn’t a good time to visit Venice. It’s not a good time to visit any city in the warm part of the world but Venice is a particularly poor choice in the hot season. 
Venice weather
Courtesy of Lucciano Bellesso

Venice weather in the winter

Ok, it’s not only for the summer weather the humidity is an important factor. Even in winter, there are a few things to be aware of. The relative humidity actually doesn’t have very much of an impact on the subjective temperature when the air is cold. Hot air, yes, but when it’s cold, the atmosphere around us can’t hold very much humidity anyway, so it isn’t significant. But… If you yourself get wet, then that’s a totally different story. And in Venice in winter there’s the rain, the fog, and the high waters.

The biggest threat, I would say, is the rain. Not that is rains on you but when the water comes down it stays on the top of the ground. The pavements of Venice are all floor tiles made of trachyte. And the stone blocks aren’t flat. So when it rains you have a myriad of puddles on the ground, irregular, deep and very difficult to avoid. If you wet your feet, then you’re in trouble. So what do you do about it?

Obviously, you wear waterproof shoes or rubber boots… Together with the warm jacket, gloves, and a warm cap you’ll be OK. 

The wind is a cooling factor though. When it’s freezing outside, every tiny increase in wind force increases the feeling of cold. So wear not only a warm jacket but a warm and windproof jacket. 

The Mediterranean climate

Another big issue is the Adriatic sea. If you look at the map you see that the eastern sea is a rather closed basin. In the south, there is a little opening between Italy and Albania but it isn’t much. It’s less deep too. Much shallower than the rest of the Mediterranean and these two facts make the Adriatic less temperature storing. In winter the water is cold. On occasions, the lagoon freezes.

On the border with France on the other side of the Peninsula, you can sometimes go swimming even in December. If you do that in Venice, you better have good health insurance.

Enough complaining!

An hour and a half with a car going north you find Dolomiti Superski. That’s 1200 kilometers, 750 miles of slopes, 450 ski lifts and  3000 square kilometers, 1150 square miles of ski area. About half of it is directly connected but the whole system features one single ski pass. 97% of it is covered with artificial snow capacity. 

On the coast towards the northeast, an hour by car, there are a few of the biggest seaside resorts in Europe, Jesolo, Cavallino-Treporti, Caorle, Bibione, etc. The touristic capacity is enormous and around 25 million people go there every year, more or less the same numbers as Venice. 

This is another effect of the big differences in temperature summer and winter.

So, maybe the Venice weather isn’t all that bad, after all?

Cruise Ship Incident

Once again there has been a Cruise Ship incident. A ship went out of control in the Giudecca Canal right outside Saint Mark’s Square. This time it was the Costa Deliziosa run by the cruise company Costa Crociere and it happened yesterday the 7th of July 2019. Terror struck once again as the 294 meters long and 32 meters beam vessel wasn’t able to make the turn as it was supposed to. The right turn between Riva degli Schiavoni and the island of San Giorgio Maggiore is extremely narrow. It’s a little more than 300 meters wide and the bend is almost 90°. 

Bad weather could have caused the Cruise Ship Incident

The weather was at the time very bad with heavy rain, hail and strong wind. According to the port authorities, it could have been these extreme conditions that made the passage develope into a situation of panic. There were three tugs connected to the ship, two at the bow and one at the stern. The two tugs at the bow did all they could to try to pull the ship away from the dock, but even with their powerful engines, it was a question of just a few feet that avoided a collision with an anchored Yacht. Even further ahead at Giardini, where two local Vaporettos were landing and leaving the platform for the pedestrians, there was a moment of panic. And on land at the Riva dei sette Martiri people couldn’t decide if they should start running or if the ship would pass without crashing into the quay. 

The foundation of Venice is wood poles stuck into the mud. If a ship like this hit the ground, it could tear down half of Castello. We’re talking about a ship of around 93.000 gross tonnage.

The responsibility

Now, just like so many times before, an investigation will be opened to try to understand the reason why this incident could happen and if there is anyone who can be held responsible and maybe even prosecuted, something that strangely enough isn’t at all certain. There are so many circumstances to consider and it could very well be determined that the weather was causing it, or a technical problem or something else.

The truth is that the problem for starters is that a boat that practically is bigger than the city itself is allowed to pass in the middle of Gondolas, Vaporettos and medieval palaces and houses. 

In the second video of the cruise ship incident, you can see how the two tugs are overloading their engines to try to keep the ship clear of the Fondamenta. You see the black smoke pouring out of the funnels of the two tugs coloring the grey sky in black. This time they managed to keep the Costa Deliziosa out on the Canal. 

Well, do something about it then!

There are various projects to resolve this situation. One idea is to build a canal from Venice to Porto Marghera in a straight line northeast. That way the cruise ships can anchor at the cruise terminal in Venice without passing through the central parts of the city. There could also be a ban for ships that are too big. They should stop at Porto Marghera and from there, the passengers could be shuttled to Venice by bus or by boat. Mayor Brugnaro is in favor of this idea since he is the owner of the land to the north of where the cruise ships would moor. There are already big plans for a huge hotel and tourist complex to the south of the Venice bridge. 

The problem with this solution is that a canal that big, that deep and that close to Venice would cause a lot of damage to the sea life as well as to the flow of water going in and out of the lagoon. On the other side of the scale, we have the increasing high tides and dredging big canals back and forth in the shallow waters doesn’t help to say the least. 

The alternative

Another way would be to build a new cruise port on the east side of Lido, maybe at Malamocco. From there the passengers visiting Venice have to be shuttled by boat. The Ships would avoid having to go into the lagoon with the tricky navigation that comes with that option. If you’d want to stay on the ship, Malamocco is a whole lot nicer than Porto Marghera to make strolls or just sit on the balcony sipping a prosecco. 

The backside of this idea is that it will cost more money. Building a Cruise Terminal isn’t cheap and then the people of Malamocco could have some objections. Having thousands of cruise ships passengers running up and down the sleeping village would change the life for many. But it could also mean a boom for local business, restaurants and all kinds of other entertainment. 

What the Mayor should do though, is to start doing something… Anything. Because sooner or later there will be a major accident if we just keep on like this. In June it went well, yesterday it went well… But luck is to an uncertain factor to build security upon.

cruise ship incident


Redentore – The Redeemer

The Feast of the Redentore is a traditional main event in Venice. Fireworks, Mass, eating and drinking. This year it takes place the 20th and the 21st of July, the third Sunday of the month. A happy celebration. The origin of it isn’t all that happy though.

The terrible Origins

The plague, the deadliest disease mankind has experienced. An eerie terror that for hundreds of years knocked out most of Europe’s population and left the few survivors in misery and fear. It also meant a unique opportunity for all kinds of doomsday theories to gain a foothold. Perhaps the most obvious was the Catholic Church’s pursuit of dissent… The Inquisition.

The first time the disease struck was in the mid-14th century. In 1346, the disease reached Constantinople and Crimea and then via land further north into the countries of Eastern Europe. In 1347 it came to Sicily and from there it spread northwards in Italy. It arrived in Venice with ships from Dalmatia in 1348.

RedentoreDoubts about the origins of the Plague

Some scientific theories, however, claim that the plague has existed in Europe ever since the Roman era, but that it could not be defined. In the Middle Ages, large cities with a lot of people had grown up throughout the continent and this was a prerequisite for the spread of the disease. But perhaps the plague existed already before that, though mortality was much smaller.

Throughout Europe, the disease changed the living conditions of millions of people. Not only because people died, but also because those who survived had to live on in a far more uncertain world. In Venice, drastic changes were made in shipping. A system of quarantine for arriving ships was introduced and in 1423 a state-run hospital was created to cope with the sick people, the first in the world. Despite all these severe measures, the plague struck 69 times in the following centuries. Every time with consequences that can hardly be understood today.

RedentoreThe church of the Redeemer – Redentore

In 1575 there was yet another wave of pestilence. From July 1, 1575, until February 28, 1577, one third of the city’s 180.000 inhabitants died. After summer 1576, when the disease appeared unstoppable, the Senate decided to pray for the divine help. They decided to build a church in the honor of the Redeemer – Il Redentore, the one who lifts all our sins.  In the autumn, when the natural cold limited the movement of the rats as well as the proliferation of the fleas, the Venetians could see a significant slowdown in the spreading of the disease. And in spring it was over. 

The Senate kept its promise and the same year the construction of one of the most impressive and lavish domes in Venice started, following Antonio Palladio‘s drawings; Basilica del Redentore. Already in the summer of 1577, a bridge was built over the Canale della Giudecca with wooden boats lashed together. The Doge, Alvise Mocenigo, promised solemnly that every year throughout his life and every year during all the Doges who’d follow, a Mass would be held on the third Sunday of July, to celebrate the salvation of the city. 

RedentoreIn 1792 the church was finished and since that day, La Festa del Redentore is one of the most important and most frequented of all of Venice’s festivals. It is also something as rare as a genuine Venetian feast. Many locals and even more tourists. You can attend Mass or just check out the fireworks.

So, this is what’s happening

First of all, it’s another Village Feast… Or really a boat Feast. The tradition is to experience the marvelous fireworks from a boat floating around on the Canale della Giudecca. The boats and ships are decorated with all kinds of artistic colored lights and balloons. On the boat, you eat the traditional dinner, pasta e fasioi (pasta and beans), bovoleti (snails).. (..srrgh!), sarde in saor (sardines), and anara col pien (stuffed duck). 

Now, the best idea is to have your own boat and eat and drink together with friends on it. But most people coming to Venice don’t bring the boat if they have one. So instead you can book yourself on a small cruise – leisure ship, have your dinner there and then see the fireworks from parquet.  

If that’s not your thing then almost all of the hotels, restaurants, and trattorias facing the canal, will offer dinner with fireworks. Even those not close to the canal will try to attract customers. 

If not even that is on your list favorite location, you can stay out in the streets. At the Fondamenta facing the Giudecca island, there are outdoor kitchens serving the traditional treats as well as local wine. From there you have an excellent view of the Basilica del Redentore and the water. 

Village Feast in Venice


This is the program of the Redentore 2019

On Friday the 19th, the day before Redentore at 8.30pm

As usual, this year the Musica Venezia Cultural Association, Roberta Reeder Artistic Director, will present an evening of sacred music at the church of the Redentore. Performed by the Ensemble Musica Venezia, 

Saturday the 20th of July

7.00 pm Opening of the votive bridge that connects the Zattere with the Chiesa del Redentore to the island of Giudecca

11.30 pm – Fireworks display in the San Marco Basin

The Zattere side will be crowded. The Canel della Giudecca will also be crowded, with boats. The best spots are still on the other side though, at Giudecca. The bridge is closed from 10.30 pm until 00.30, so you have to be on time. 

From 5.00 pm – 00.00 at  Serra dei Giardini – Live music with live bands 

Sunday the 21st of July

The Redentore regattas  – Giudecca Canal:

At 4.00 pm, regatta for the youngest rowers. Pupparini with 2 oars
4.45 pm, regatta. Pupparini with 2 oars
5.30 pm, regatta. Gondolas with 2 oars. 

7.00 pm – Holy Mass at Basilica del Redentore on the Giudecca Island.

At midnight at Serra dei Giardini between Via Garibaldi and Giardini, there’s a Silent Party with 250 headsets and 3 DJs. 

But as always when it comes to Venice, the best tradition of all is just strolling around, eating something, drinking something and meeting people.

Baggage Carousel

The Baggage Carousel

So, I came back home again. This time I traveled from Copenhagen in Denmark and just like many times before I lost my luggage. You know the feeling… You stand in front of the baggage carousel. You’ve booked a good spot where you can see the bags coming down and then just grab yours before it passes you and disappears on the belt and you can’t reach it because of all the other passengers who also got good spots. And you have to wait until it comes back from the other side.

Baggage Carousel
by courtesy of Rachel Amito

Actually, it was my own fault, sort of. In Copenhagen, flying with SAS, there is no manual check-in. You have to do it all by yourself. Get the tag from the machine, put your bag on the scale, scan the tag, and… And that’s where I missed it. The bag shot away with such speed and force that I found myself with the tag in my hand while the suitcase disappeared behind the desk. 

So, a Danish lady who would have made Miss Trunchball, the headmistress in the wonderful book Matilda by Roald Dahl look like Cinderella, made a few phone calls. Then she assured me that the bag would turn up in Venice. So much for that.

The baggage claim desk

Well anyway, mine didn’t show. So I checked the baggage ticket and walked up to the baggage claims desk. 

    –    Color… well, it’s blackish… Kind of grey, black… Ish. 

And the lady convinced me to go home without my bag and wait for her call. But the call never came. Instead, I called… Many times, and each time I spoke with someone who didn’t understand why I called when it’s obvious that they’re the ones that should be calling. And every time they said that my suitcase is in Copenhagen and will be delivered the day after. Even the day after they said that.

Baggage carouselUntil I got hold of someone who said that it should have been flown to Venice but Venice hasn’t confirmed it. And now it gets interesting. Because this is when nobody knows where the stupid suitcase is. It’s not in Copenhagen and it’s not in Venice, so where did they drop it?

And I remember another time when I flew into Milan from somewhere I can’t remember. The luggage was gone. — Baggage claim, it’s black… ish, a referral number, a PIN code and then we went home. The day after I called, and the day after, and the day after that…

To sum it up, the bag was lost. And after almost a month it was still lost. I had been to Venice airport a lot and I had called all kinds of numbers but all anyone could ever say was:

     –     We’re very sorry about this and we do our best to find your luggage and we’re convinced that we will find it. 

At this point, I even had to write down what was in it, for compensation reasons.

Round and round on the Baggage Carousel

About a month after I’d lost it I was at the airport again to pick up a friend and I went to the counter once more just to check. And this time I found someone who really knew what she was doing. It was amazing. A young girl, smiling and charming. With one hand she answered the phone and with the other, she checked every airport in every corner of the world. When she got back to me, after ten minutes she said:

     –    Actually, there is a bag in Frankfurt that matches your description. 

     –    Is it black? … Ish? I asked.

     –    Well, they’re all black. That’s not the issue. But this one has your things in it.

??? If a bag is found on the baggage carousel or elsewhere, the tag is lost and there’s no address, then it is opened and all that’s in it gets listed. 

     –    One pair of grey underwear… Not new condition, she said.  One pair of socks, black… Not new condition. 

And in fact, it was my stuff. 

     –    Great, I shouted not being able to understand that after a month I was going to get all my laundry back. When can you fly it here?

     –    It will be delivered tomorrow, she answered.

At that time I was only glad and hopeful. I hadn’t yet understood that the phrase “It will be delivered tomorrow” really means “I have no idea. But you just go home and maybe in a few days it will show up and if it does, maybe I will send it to you if I can arrange delivery.”

No sign of it yet

So it didn’t show up the day after. And not the day after that. In a very short time, I was back to calling people who didn’t understand why I wasn’t just waiting for them to call. Something one imagines only happens in old films with a bad manuscript had happened to me. They managed to lose my suitcase twice. 

So, after a week I was back at the airport to drop my friend off and I went over to the lost luggage desk again. A miracle… I found the same girl. 

     –     No, it hasn’t shown up. I don’t know why, but there’s no record of it here.

And after a bit of arguing and small talk, she said:

     –     Why don’t you come back here and check the luggage room yourself? Maybe you could find it as you know exactly what it looks like?

baggage carouselSo I went through the rigorous security controls, passed bleeping machines and angry looking guards and police officers and finally ended up in the inner hidden domains of the building, together with pilots and stewardesses. My friend, the super-woman, guided me to a huge room. There must have been a thousand bags in there. I started looking while the valuable employee talked on the phone, finding things, helping people with the computer and telling them where this and that document where. 

After 15 minutes I had to accept the sad fact. It wasn’t there.

     –    Well, she said, at least we’ve tried. 

The Baggage Carousel Super-Lady

Then she looked at me and her eyes narrowed just noticeable. I almost thought she was going to make a pass at me…

     –     There is one other room, she whispered and now I was convinced that she was hitting on me.

I didn’t know what to say. But she led me to another door a bit further ahead, opened it, and there, in the middle of the floor was my suitcase. In a huge, almost empty space my bag waited for me all alone and abandoned. I shouted with joy. It was as if I was looking straight in the eyes of a close friend or a lover after thinking he or she was dead. Like finding the tressure you’ve been looking for all your life. 

     –     O my God, I shouted. Where have you been my darling… After all these years!

fondamenta dei gavariWell, the thing is, there are two (2) systems. Since there are too many companies to be handled by one computer system, they have two. The first room was the room for Lufthansa and others. The second room was the room for Easyjet and others. Since my flight to Milan was Easyjet the bag had been stored in the Easyjet-room. But the flight from Frankfurt was with Lufthansa, and therefore, it entered the Lufthansa system and should have been stored in the Lufthansa-room.

Another funny thing is that the Lufthansa-room was crowded while the Easyjet-room was almost empty. My bag shared the space with maybe 15 other suitcases… Poor thing.

Conclusion: If they don’t find your baggage, ask them to look in the other room. Just to be sure.