I'm searching for hard data on the tourist volume (number of visitors, even if they don't have a room there) in Venice for the entire year, but had no luck so far.

I've read a lot of common sense advice, but, uh, I already imagined that there are less visitors in November than in July! A bit more detail is needed.

What I mean is this: when is the city the least crowded? And does it make a significant difference if I go there in the winter months (as long as I avoid the obvious problematic dates like carnival) and put up with bad weather and short days? How much? Is this somehow quantifiable? A broad estimate is fine, too.

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    Does specific quantity really make a difference? Is being told it is really crowded in July less reliable than being told there were 1,956,235 visitors in July?
    – user13044
    Feb 9 '17 at 2:13
  • @Tom I have now the data, thanks to pnuts, and I say yes it makes a difference. The linked statistic states that the number of visitors in March is really much lower than in October (the month which I originally had in mind). It's nearly a third less, which makes it at least worth researching how bad the March weather really is (since the daylight length is around the same).
    – viuser
    Feb 9 '17 at 3:10
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    On a busy summer day, in the most popular section of the city, tourists can outnumber Venetians 600-1. There's no strategy for attempting to avoid the crowds, it's unpredictable; all year around cruise ships pull up and dump off thousands of visitors. The same with tour groups arriving at the airport. The bottom line is it doesn't matter when you go, finding the 'authentic' Venice is essentially impossible. I am fond of taking a water taxi out to one of the smaller islands in the lagoon. Great food, great company.
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 9 '17 at 3:11
  • @GayotFow: no problems with big crowds, I'm just scared of what I've heard from a friend like drowning in herds of tourists. I wanted to stay around 7 - 10 days, cruise ships can't dump their visitors on every day, right? And the month must make a very noticeable difference. If you go in January instead of July, linked statistic says you have 65% less visitors! Of course January is out of question, I have a high tolerance for bad weather, but I don't have it for short days!
    – viuser
    Feb 9 '17 at 3:25
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    @wolf-revo-cats right so go in the Winter when there's only 200 visitors per Venetian. And there's just a scant 1,000 people queued up for the Guggenheim every day because during peak season there's 1,300 queued up. There's a restaurant I've been going to for about 20 years, but otherwise you'll find me in Burano or some place else in the lagoon. But if Venice is on your bucket list, do it and remember that you'll be back again.
    – Gayot Fow
    Feb 9 '17 at 3:45

There's always load of people in Venice.

The Venice municipality publishes documents about tourism every year.

On page 23 of the 2014 document, you can see a graph by month of the demand (i.e. the number of tourists).

enter image description here

The months with less tourists are November, December, January and February.


My experience in Venice is that at times it is insanely crowded, and that you should accept the crowds as part of the Venice experience. While there may be half as many visitors in December as in July, that doesn't mean the lines at St Marks will be any smaller, nor the shoulder-to-shoulder walk along the waterfront any less jostly. Especially when a boat arrives.

In March 2011, I took this picture from the Bridge of Sighs:

enter image description here

Look at all those people! Right around St Marks it was always like that. The squares were full, and the lineups were long. (My guidebook recommended going to St Marks first thing, and we did, and when we came out the lineup had swelled to ridiculous lengths that we were very happy not to be part of.)

To experience uncrowded Venice, sure, go in the spring or winter (but watch out for aqua alta, the high water) but also plan your days, get up early, be prepared to wait in some lines, and keep an eye for the cruise ships. When they come through, that's your cue to go the places they don't, like the outer islands or just a few blocks inland from the Grand Canal.

Here we are just a tiny bit east of all that action (you can recognize the landmarks), headed for Castello and as you can see, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. That's the real trick.

enter image description here

Here's another picture taken very close to there. Not what most people think of when they think Venice, but undeniably uncrowded and lovely:

enter image description here

I had a wonderful (and mostly uncrowded) time thanks to the routes in a book called Strolling Through Venice, which I recommend.

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