Last updated on November 12th, 2023
Featured image: Explore safely with these Venice travel tips for women over 80 | Photo by dibrova on Envato
Embracing our own version of ‘slow travel’
by Diana Eden
For those 80 and over travelers, Venice, for all its charms, is not an easy city for those with mobility issues. Getting from one place to another within the various districts that make up Venice requires walking, not to mention going up and down steps to cross bridges over the many small canals that interlace the neighborhoods.
For five of us traveling together, two of us in our eighties, three in their seventies, the experience was breathtaking. Our apartment was in the Canareggio area, a quieter than around San Marco but still close enough to major sites and to Vaporetto stops, and with shops and places to eat near by.
We managed to ration our strength for the walking needed, spent many an hour at our local neighborhood bar in the square, Bar Ai MIracoli, either drinking compari and soda or eating gelato, and watching the locals walk their dogs. It was our version of “slow travel”. In fact, I’ve noticed I can bring back to memory the feel, the sounds and the sights of Venice far more vividly than I could before when I rushed around and tried to see too much.
Venice travel tips for women over 80
Travel by water: The only transport is on the water, which means by Vaporetto (public ferry), water taxi (expensive), or the touristic gondola. Private tours use any number of styles and sizes of boats. We were lucky enough to travel in a simple but classic “Bragozzo”, a flat-bottomed local boat, colorfully painted.
The vaporettos run frequently, and though noisy, cover many areas and stops. However, there is a movement called Electrifying Venice to petition the government “To transform Venice’s motorised waterborne traffic, particularly its public transport from diesel/petrol engines to zero-emission electric propulsion.” They want to reduce the fumes, the noise, the vibration and the wave-making to better conserve a beautiful city.
Quiet canal in Canareggio / Photo by Diana Eden
View from under the Accademia Bridge / Photo by Diana Eden
Colorful homes on Burano / Photo by Diana Eden
For safety and comfort
Wear classic sneakers: I do not recommend wearing any open-toed shoes or sandals as there are too many opportunities for stubbed toes or tripping on uneven surfaces. I wore my classic Keds the whole time which worked well.
Bring a walking stick: If you need extra balance, a walking stick can be an asset. Canal-side paths and ancient alleyways can be quite uneven. These ones from Trekology are lightweight and collapsible.
Have a portable stool: For the occasional need to sit down, I tried out this portable stool for the first time. It’s 3 lbs to carry and worked well when I got tired touring the Palace of the Doges and needed to sit, though I’m not sure I’d want to carry it around the whole time.
Where to eat
Ristorante Galuppi: On the Island of Burano, our local Venetian guide recommended Ristorante Galuppi where I had the best scampi risotto I have ever had! I hadn’t expected such excellent food and service in the middle of a tourist hub.
Ostaria da Rioba: In the Canareggio district, near where we were staying was the Ostaria da Rioba where, after a lunch of excellent salads and pasta dishes we indulged in the most divine desserts made in-house. Situated on the Fondamente Miseracordia, it is a quiet area where we were able to sit outside under the awning and feel a slight breeze from the water.
Locanda Cipriani: The crowning achievement was the final lunch we had on the island of Torcello, about a 40-minute ride from Venice proper. We had a private boat that took us across the lagoon to the door of the famed Locanda Cipriani, in existence since 1935, Here we dined like movie stars under an arbor of trees and vines, surrounded by fields and rose gardens. It felt like another world.
Lunch at the famed Locanda Cipriano / Photo by Diana Eden
Tiramisu made in house at Ostaria da Rioba / Photo by Diana Eden
Traditional Venetian cichhetti / Photo by Diana Eden
More to Discover from Italy
Jane Christmas’s funny memoir of her 780-kilometre trek across Spain on the Camino de Santiago to celebrate her 50th birthday and midlife.
Located in French Polynesia, Bora Bora is a magical ocean paradise well worth the trip, even for women in their 80s.
For women with mobility concerns, Karen Gershowitz wants you to know you can fulfill your travel bucket list, even to Antarctica.