Hints and Tips
In the sections below, I set out some tips for visiting Venice that everyone discovers but usually too late in their trip to use them to full advantage. These should be read as additions to the information in the other pages on this website and treated as a "get savvy quick" resource. I hope they help and if you have any to add or update, please email me through the Contact page 

When to Go 

Naturally this is a matter of personal choice and circumstances. Venice is always popular but in the summer months it gets very busy indeed. It is also hot and the canals take on a certain "piquancy" although its not as bad as some rumours make out. High season runs from Easter through to September. July is mosquito heaven particularly on the Lido. 
I find March quite a good time to go as you get a reasonable balance between temperature and crowds. Generally, it is reasonable warm in the day and a bit chilly in the evening. February is an interesting month in that it has one of the lowest average rainfalls. It can be  cold although this is combined with bright blue skies. On some days it gets positively warm in the sunshine. Remember that Carnival usually happens in February/March and so if it's not your thing you'll need to visit away from the last hectic days or do your best to avoid it if there (nigh on impossible). I find that the period between the madness of Carnival and Easter (ie Lent) is usually quite quiet although during my last visit (March 2023)  it was noticeably busier.
Further advice is available from this helpful site 

Getting in the Mood 

Before arriving in Venice, I recommend whetting the appetite. It's worth getting some feel for the history of Venice and there are a number of books that I have found quite useful in this respect: 
"Guide to Venice and the Veneto", Dorling Kindersley. Includes a quick and easy introduction to the city and its history. 
"Francesco's Venice", Francesco da Mosto. An easy to read but detailed account of Venice's history by the architect, historian and TV presenter (and Venice resident). There is also a DVD available that contains the TV series and provides an evocative visual introduction to the city. 
"A History of Venice", John Julius Norwich. This is a very detailed academic work and is probably best treated as a reference document to follow up on the earlier reads. It's all here complete with lavish illustrations. It's great to own but is expensive and a bit heavy going. If you fall in love with Venice, you should have a copy on your bookshelf. 
And finally, why not pick up a cheap copy of the brilliant and chilling, "Don't Look Now" starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie?. Don't worry, I've never seen a tiny figure in a red macintosh creeping around the city at night! 

Top Ticket 

For me, the best buy in Venice is the ACTV tourist ticket. You can buy these from main vaporetto ticket offices such as those at San Marco, Rialto, Piazza Roma and the tourist offices. They come in 2, 3 and 7 day passes. They give you unlimited travel on all waterborne and land services operated by ACTV. This means that you can travel up and down the Grand Canal and all around the city, hopping on and off as you wish, travel to the islands of Murano, Burano and Torcello and even travel around the southern part of the lagoon on the larger double decker ferries (motonave). Given that, at the time of publication, a 3 day ticket costs €45 (Cheaper if you order online inadvance) and a single journey ticket €9.50 (one hour duration), it's a bit of a no-brainer...
Please note that the ticket is not valid for the Alilaguna lines that service the airports and other areas of the lagoon. 
ACTV now use an electronic ticketing system (RFID) where you touch your ticket to a reader when you board the boat. I have had conflicting advice as to whether you touch it just once to activate it or need to have it read every time. As it's no effort I just do it every journey. 
The more eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted the fact that I advocate walking around Venice in another section. Trust me, once you've explored, got lost, explored some more, the thought of sitting down for a leisurely return journey on the vaporetto is very attractive indeed. Also walking to the island of Murano etc can be a bit tricky as well as damp..... 

Top Ride 

There is absolutely no beating the No 1 vaporetto ride. With your single or tourist ticket ticket in hand hop on at St Marco in the direction of Piazzale Roma and prepare yourself to take in all the sights of the Grand Canal. Some vaporettos have seats outside at the front and are worth grabbing if you can, but wrap up unless the weather is warm as the breeze from the Canal can get a bit nippy. If you want to get a better chance at getting a seat at the front (photography perhaps?) and you have the time, then travel south to the Lido and start your journey there. The trip along the Canal can be enhanced with the DK Travel Guide (see below) as it has easily digestible descriptions of all of the major buildings you will see as you travel along this stunning waterway. If you want to do the trip a little quicker, take the No 2. It follows the same route but does not stop at every point. 
Above all, check the direction of travel when boarding as you need to be in the right "channel" or board the right boat at the various vaporetto stops. 

Travel Guide
For me it's Dorling Kindersley's Guide to Venice and the Veneto. Apart from offering the most concise introductions to all the major sites, it gives a very easy to understand background to Venice and its history. The clinchers, however, are the 3D street walks in the various sestieres, the cut out guides to the major sites and a building by building picture view of the journey up the Grand Canal. Available from all good bookshops. 
Everyone seems to think that taking a ride in a gondola whilst in Venice is an absolute must. Personally, I don't see the attraction of paying a large amount of money to bob unsteadily around the canals suffering from motion sickness to a not-so-tuneful rendition of "O Sole Mio". I am also saddened by the sight and sound of tourist guides at the main gondola harbour shouting "Group Number Four, please" and handing over a bottle of cheap Prosecco and a collection of plastic cups to their charges as they embark on their trip. It's like a gondola mule train! 
However, if you don't think your visit would be complete without the experience, then your gondola awaits. Gondola prices are regulated by the City authorities but I'm not sure they ever told the gondoliers. Expect to pay €60-80 for about 40 mins with the less expensive fares to be found away from the San Marco area. If trade is slow, you can make an offer and might manage to negotiate €10 or so off the price but this isn't guaranteed. 
And, of course, Venice wouldn't be Venice without the gondolas and the gondoliers have to make a living, so by taking the trip you can be said to be preserving one well known feature of the Serene City. 
For a real, cheap but somewhat less showy trip in a gondola, why not take a traghetto? The scarcity of bridges across the Grand Canal means that there are small ferry services at strategic points where you can be rowed across the water for €1-2 or thereabouts. The locals tend to take the trip standing up - feeling confident with that new digital camera in your hand? A couple of suggested ferry points are Sant' Angelo - San Toma or San Samuele - Ca' Rezzonico.