Running in Venice

Earlier this month, I had flown through Venice to get to Croatia to meet up with family, as it was the easiest route, and took advantage of my return flight to stay in the city for a couple days. My trip coincided with training for the NYC Marathon and I didn’t want to stray too far from my plan. I got plenty of great runs in Croatia, but I really needed to get in a decent long run while I was in Venice as well.

I didn’t have a computer with me to help with plotting a route, so I took my handy street map, and started figuring out my options. With the city being on canals and the narrow streets often leading to dead ends, I tried to look for as many long embankments as possible.

I started the route in Cannaregio, near the old Jewish Ghetto, which is where my hotel was, and planned on winding my way from there to Castello (Arsenale), where I would be able to get onto a long embankment that leads to 2 large parks. From there, I would take the same embankment in the opposite direction, run past San Marco before the tourists got there, cross the Academia Bridge into Dorsoduro and make a loop around Punta Dogana, with stunning views of the city, and then end up on Fondamente Zattere, which is another long stretch along the water, and sig-zag my way back through San Polo and over the Scalzi Bridge back to Cannaregio. I took careful turn-by-turn notes, which I would carry with me, since the map would be too cumbersome, and I was already planning on carrying a water bottle and my phone.

Here’s what an hour of plotting looks like:

venice 1

venice 3

and here is what the Garmin map showed when I got back from my run:

venice 2

I definitely took a few wrong turns here and there, you can see a good deal of circling around on the North East side of the island, but overall, the planning worked out well. I left the hotel at 7 a.m. and got to have most of the city to myself.

I came across the fish monger on my street and the local older ladies doing their daily shopping; I saw vegetable markets being set up; I saw virtually no one in San Marco, which was incredible; I ran up and down a thousand steps; and of course, as I hit the embankment that lead to the public gardens, I saw a lot of other runners. 11.5 miles allowed me to see a lot more of the city than I would have otherwise. It’s an incredible place to experience. It was definitely the slowest long run that I have ever done, but the places I got to see and the images that I was able to capture were worth the slower pace. Sometimes you have to remember that you’re on vacation and really enjoy every moment of it.

Masha Portiansky was born in Moscow, schooled in New England, and is a print and packaging designer living and running in Brooklyn, New York.