I took the advice of a traveler who had been to Venice before and left my map in the hotel room, opting to find my own way through the narrow winding streets of the city. What passes for "streets" in Venice would be considered "alleys" most anywhere else. But there are enough signs indicating the direction of the major landmarks of the city that one can find his way without too much trouble. Taking a wrong turn, of course, quickly becomes a dead end unless you can walk on water. But you can't really be off course for long in this place.
Venice truly has maintained its Old World feel. Part of that is the lack of traffic and its accompanying noise: quite simply, there are no cars, buses, or cycles anywhere in sight or in earshot. Nor does one see skyscrapers dominating the landscape. Also missing are the logos and advertisements for multinational brand names one is accustomed to seeing all over a modern city. That's not to say that Venice isn't commercial; indeed it's clear this place thrives on the tourist trade. It is possible to stumble onto a McDonald's and a Burger King, but they are well out of the way, rather than prominently positioned in Piazza di San Marco, the way such establishments are clearly visible in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus, or even Red Square. And so Venice seemingly has kept the more obvious signs of globalization well hidden in preserving a traditional appearance that still has a lot of charm for the visitor.