Although running has been a common sport around the world, it surged even more during the pandemic due to the closure of most or all indoor sports facilities.
Given the simplicity of running, more Italians are also turning to it as their main form of exercise. The picturesque views of the country are also a motivating factor to run often, explaining why many marathons, athletics events, and other running activities are held in Italy.
What about Venice - a city mostly known for its boats as the main transport to navigate around? Luckily, there are some running routes that are easy on the knees (less hilly, etc), and suitable for all levels of runners, from beginner to advanced.
Giardini della Biennale / Venice Giardini (opening hours: 11am - 7pm)
Perfect for runners who love art and nature, this garden boasts lush greenery and traditional artworks at the La Biennale Art Exhibitions to spice up your run.
Start your route at the Piazza San Marco and make your way down to the garden. Once you reach Giardini, you can either run through the park or along the lagoon’s shoreline, away from the crowds of Venetia.
If you want to clock in more miles, you can run to Santa Elena which also has a park lining the water. Instead of exotic structures and greenery, it is filled with playgrounds and park benches.
Credits: The Guardian
Once you are done with your run, cool down with a refreshing drink or snack at the Serra dei Giardini coffee house, which is just a stone’s throw away from the pavilions of the garden.
Credits: Serra dei Giardini
Fondamente Nuove to Torre dell’Arsenale
This route traverses the Venetian waters, allowing you to admire stunning views of the northern lagoon and the Murano island. Unless teeming with tourists, the path is more than spacious for easy running.
Credits: Le Campiello de Venise
Run west along Fondamente Nuove for around 2.8 km before turning slightly inland to run past the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo and the San Francesco della Vigna Church. Then, run to the Torre dell’Arsenale museum in a complex of former shipyards.
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo (Credits: Wikimedia Commons)
Torre dell’ Arsenale (Credits: Wikimedia Commons)
An example of the route, mapped by Greatruns
Chioggia center to Sottomarina
Bask in views of the waterfront as well as several tourist attractions in Chioggia which is just south of Venice. End your run with more seaside and beach views at the small town of Sottomarina. About a 1-hour drive or a 45-minute ferry ride from Venice, you first arrive in the center of Chioggia, which can be the start point of your run.
If you do not mind the occasional crowd, run along the Corso del Popolo thoroughfare to take in the exquisite St. Andrew Tower Clock, one of the world’s oldest still-working clocks which rests on an ancient tower.
Credits: Notizie Comuni Italian.It
In addition to the tower clock, you can see the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, a Romanesque masterpiece that showcases the prestige of the Maritime Republic of Pisa at its zenith. Architectural styles, such as those of Byzantine and classical culture, are embodied by this church, reflecting the internationality of the city’s merchants back in the olden days.
Afterwards, leave Chioggia by journeying along on the Granatieri di Sardegna bridge.
Granatieri di Sardegno (Credits: Наталiя Михайлюк)
Then, run to Sottomarina using the Passeggiata Padoan which winds around the Lusenzo Lagoon for around 3 - 4 km.
Credits: Chioggia Sottomarina
After you have completed around 8 km, you may stop your run to take the Isola dell’unione bridge back to Chioggia or continue for another 1 - 2 km to check out the San Felice Fort.
San Felice Fort (Credits: Mario Zaramella)
The entire route mapped on MapMyRun
Municipal Stadium Armando Picchi
If you are a more seasoned runner looking for more intensive track workouts, be it intervals or tempo sessions, do train at this multi-purpose stadium in Livorno, which is the closest one to Venice. You might want to travel light if you plan on running without touring around or staying in for the night.
To reach Livorno, hop on bus 10A from Lido Di Jesolo - Autostazione and alight at Jesolo Autostazione, with the whole bus ride taking around 45 minutes. The operating hours of this bus are from 6.15 am to 7 am on Monday to Saturday. Once you have arrived, walk (or run as your warm-up) along the streets of Equilio and then Silvio Piola to reach the stadium.
Credits: Google Maps
Due to well-maintained facilities such as even running track lanes and a regularly mowed football field, the stadium has been used to host several sports events such as the European Masters Athletics in 2019, and to house the home matches of the football club AS Livorno Calcio.
Credits: Wikimedia Commons
There are plenty of other running routes that you might discover as you become more familiar with the lingo and areas of Venice. It is time to be high on endorphins and adrenaline as you explore the wonders of this Italian city on foot, one step at a time.
After all, running is essentially putting one foot in front of the other without having to spend a single cent for every run. You may need to buy proper running gear such as shoes and airy clothing, but these often last for hundreds of runs, if not more.