Italy is a truly magical destination, but it can feel overrun in certain areas. There are plenty of guides out there on how to avoid tourist traps, but The New York Times ran a quick little piece last week with a few good suggestions on maximizing an Italian trip:
Go to Venice. There’s just nowhere like it. Don’t expect the cuisine to be anything like what you imagine Italian cuisine to be. It’s a legume-based cuisine, and you find small aquatic creatures fried in batter and pickled dishes and goodness knows what else. Drink wines from the area. Don’t go to Venice, order Chianti and expect that you’re going to get something good. Order wine from the Veneto.
Try to get as far away as you can from Piazza San Marco. Look for areas of the city where there are still Venetians living. There are parts of Cannaregio where you can walk a number of streets and not come across a tourist.
That’s absolutely true. I visited Venice again a few months ago and while I did not particularly enjoy Piazza San Marco, I fell in love with the city again while wandering the quiet, back alleys far from the tourist crush.