Widely known for its history and tourism, Venice is in fact a major international center for higher education, too. The city has three successful universities, one being the Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (founded in 1868). With almost 19,000 students, this large institution has a variety of departments for expat kids or those expatriates looking to study in the city themselves. The Iuav University of Venice (formed in 1926) specializes in architecture courses, and was originally named the ‘higher institute of architecture of Venice.’ Lastly, the Venice International University is based in an old monastery on the island of San Servolo. Founded in 1995, it is an international center for research and higher education.
The city of Venice may be best known for its universities, but for expatriates with families it also has private international schools (such as the English School of Padua, 25 miles west of Venice) and local schools in the area. However, it is advised that children are enrolled as early as possible as spaces fill up quickly.
As one of the most popular and important sites in the world, Venice sees, on average, 50,000 tourists a day. Tourism has played an important part of the town’s economy since the 18th century and there is plenty to do for expats living in Venice, which is defined by its waterways and canals. Attractions include St Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal, and the Piazza San Marco.
Due to its architectural beauty and historic art, Venice has been the setting of many films, novels and poems, such as Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. The Gothic style buildings are centuries old and those on the waterfront, known as palaces, are still accessible today.
In the 19th century, it became a popular destination for the rich and still has a reputation for parties today. The Carnival of Venice is a festival that is famed for its elaborate masks and is celebrated in the city each year. Today, Venice is furthermore a major Italian center for music, fashion, and shopping.
Venice is unique as the city is built on 117 small islands, surrounded by 177 canals and a lagoon, with more than 400 bridges connect these. In many cities, roads are how residents get around, but in Venice it is by boat on the canals. This makes it the largest urban car-free site in Europe.
The most famous Venetian boat is the gondola, although they are now mainly used for tourists or traditional ceremonies such as weddings. Many commuters who work in the city get a ferry into the main station, and walk across the bridges while there. Walking distances are short as the city is fairly small, but waterbuses and water taxis are also available.
As an expat living in Venice, you’ll easily be able to get around the city without having to buy your own boat. However, the Venetian locals also use co-called traghetti, local gondola ferries, to traverse the 4km-long Grand Canal, as only a handful of bridges cover it.