at the end of my little "post"-series about Venice, I thought to myself, that unlike usual here, I would get rid of some critical words and thoughts that came to me during the last days while looking at my holiday pictures. But especially because I liked the city as such apart from tourism I would like to show you not only my nice experiences and great places, but also what the "stream" of tourists means for the city, in the positive as well as in the negative.
With me, if a place particularly fascinates and excites me, then I want to learn more about the city. With this I do not only mean the history and the historical buildings but also the living possibilities for the locals and the offers for the tourists. I think now is a good time when reading in the newspaper that the canals of Venice are crystal clear and you can even see fish swimming in them - unthinkable when we visit Venice in summer 2019.
One thing only briefly: My last posts about Venice have certainly given an impression of Venice from a tourist's point of view and that will not change because I don't live there ;) I just wanted to say that I experienced Venice as very beautiful and enjoyed the time there very much.
An honest look at Venice and tourism and thus also at my own travel behaviour
Now for the more critical part of my post: I have experienced Venice to be a very touristy place. The city districts Cannaregio and Castello are two small exceptions, but by looking at the touristical places, I saw a city that was "overrun" by tourists.
What I specially noticed is that many of the tourists were travelling in bigger groups. Additionally, some numbers: 80% of the visitors do not even stay one night, and the museum with the most visitors, the Palazzo Ducale is only visited by approximately every twenty-fifth tourist, and this although it is a very symbolic place.
Okay, and now to my truth: unfortunately I did not visit the museum either. That was because we took a day trip to Venice and therefore only had a few hours stay in the city.
But this is exactly the problem that Venice partly has: Only one tourist in five stays overnight in Venice. Thus, you can rather call it a "sightseeing tour" drastically expressed than to really get to know the city. And we partly did this. But just to counteract this, a look behind the scenes is certainly very nice (check out my last two posts, where I described which places in Venice are quieter and are also visited by locals).
And all this mass tourism brings both advantages and disadvantages. Venice lives almost exclusively from tourism. But for example in times of Corona this is rather difficult. Also remarkable: it is hardly possible in Venice for the Venetians to find a house for rent.
Also, we only found a few Venetian shops, but instead, mainly at big tourist miles, typical American fast-food chains. But not only that, there are barely any normal shops in Venice as for example a hairdresser, they are all pushed out of the city. In order to buy something, a Venetian has to travel to the mainland or shop online at Amazon. American shops or souvenir shops are gradually giving way to local shops.
Another problem: Airbnb has spread throughout the city. It offers almost ten thousand accommodation possibilities in the city, which is almost twenty percent of the total number of apartments in Venice. For the locals it is becoming more and more expensive to live in Venice.
Okay, now you could say: Well, the only consequent possibility for each individual to put an end to this course would be not to travel to Venice anymore. But I think this is the wrong way. Once Venice and also many local people live exclusively from tourism. But on the other hand, we all could also change our's shopping and sightseeing behaviour in Venice. For example visiting the city for longer than one day in order to support the local museums and churches and not only to visit the main attractions. Or do not book via Airbnb. But everything has its two sides: A longer stay in Venice is more expensive and therefore may not be an option for many people.
Shortly at the end: I don't want to say that I wasn't aware of all this before I went to Venice. But I think there are some things I can learn from. I would visit Castello and Cannaregio again, it was a great experience. But I would also do some things differently, for example if my purse allows it, instead of spending a single day in Venice, I would spend a week and also visit museums that take a little more time. And what else will be on my travel list: An insider tip for Venice should be the lagoon landscape further out. There, there are sporadic cafés that are managed by Venetians who cannot afford to run a café in Venice anymore. I will keep our trip to Venice in good memory despite the article that was very critical for me - I think we all can learn from everything.
On the post I attached some photos that show some nice corners of Venice. Admittedly, pictures of tourists, for example at St. Mark's Cathedral, would have fit better. But the idea for the post did not come to me while taking pictures. So be merciful ;)
I'm curious how you liked the article because it was different, more critical and I questioned a few things. Feel free to write me your feedback :)