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5 Reasons Not to Visit Venice
5 Reasons Not to Visit Venice
In 1999, I went on a whirlwind trip around Italy through my high school. It was a very interesting trip and is what kicked off my love of travel. I mean, how could it not? It's Italy after all!
We spent the first three days in Rome/Vatican City (it was Easter Weekend, and I went to a Catholic high school... so you know, it was a pretty natural thing to spend the first three days in and around the Vatican, and it is honestly an amazing thing to be in the Vatican during Easter Weekend), then went to Florence, Pompeii, Assisi, Milan, Lake Como and of course... Venice.
Now I'm sure you've heard of Venice being so nice and romantic, but for whatever reason (okay, at least five since that's what this lens is about) I just didn't care for it too much. I normally try to write vacation guides on my blog http://www.discoverwithandy.com for my favorite destinations so you can visit them too, but this time I'm writing an anti-vacation guide so that you can steer clear of this dud. Follow along and I'll tell you - in no particular order - why the city just didn't mesh with me, what to watch out for, and its one saving grace. And if you think I'm wrong about all of this, come tell me on my Facebook page.
1) The Canals
So, my intrepid reader, what do you think Venice smells like? Lavender and wildflowers? Not likely, since it's all brick and water. Well maybe it at least smells like the salty sea, right? Not quite.
I know the picture most people have of the canals is a relaxing gondola ride through the romantic city, with a burly gondolier powering the boat and singing Italian opera at professional levels, but that's not quite the case. Most traffic on the canals is power boats, both public and private, and their diesel fumes permeate the city. The other factor in the smells of the canals is that they're also the sewer system.
So if the prospect of smelling a monster-truck rally held on top of a garbage dump is appealing to you, then book your trip today. Otherwise, you might want to steer clear of this tourist town.
2) Angry Locals
The natives are restless
Venice is a tourist magnet. Look up "tourist trap" on virtual tourist's guide to Venice and it'll show you a picture of the whole city. And the locals are a little tired of it all.
This notion of grumpy locals who are sick of tourists cemented itself in my mind when our group was standing on the Bridge of Sighs and someone came barging through, pushing girls and boys aside and blowing a whistle. We asked our guide (after she finished yelling and waving her hands at him) if he was some form of Police Officer. Nope, just another one of the locals that was so sick of tourists they actually carry whistles on them to scare and trick people into getting out of their way.
Not exactly a friendly welcome.
3) The Pigeons
Venice is essentially Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" come to life! There is no escaping these things; they swarm all the piazzas and try to eat your food, wait on all the towers and tops of buildings to flock around intruders, and there is pigeon poo everywhere. Everywhere! You'll walk in it, probably get pooped on at least once, and just when you're far enough from the canals to stop smelling the diesel and garbage is when the smell of pigeon poo starts creeping in.
I never thought of pigeons as a nuisance bird (like seagulls are) until visiting Venice. Now I know how bad they can be.
What do you think about Venice?
I'm proposing that Venice is not exactly the impeccably lovely, floating, magical city that most would have you believe. But maybe I'm wrong; do you feel like I'm unfairly giving Venice a bad name just cause I had a bad experience there? Did you vacation in Venice and have a great time? Tell me about it!
Do you think it's worthwhile to visit Venice?
4) Too Many Tourists
As noted in #2, there is no such thing as a "tourist trap" in Venice because the entire place is a tourist trap. If you've ever wondered what Vegas would feel like if it was built on the sea and made of buildings many hundreds of years old, then go to Venice. It might be missing the overbearing glitz of the neon signs, but there are just as many street vendors and hawkers doing everything they can to get your attention so you'll buy their wares.
If your idea of a vacation is constant pestering and people getting in your face so you'll buy something, head to Venice. If not, move along.
The sea level is rising, and Venice is taking the hit
Venice is now being flooded (acqua alta) on a regular basis. It used to be that during an unusually high tide, the lowest parts of the city would flood and it wouldn't be too bad. The tide would come in, but in short order it would go out again and things would go back to normal.
But now, through a combination of rising sea levels (six feet over the last 1600 years) and sinking soil under the city, high water is spreading to the rest of the city, more frequently, and when it comes it stays around longer. Make sure you pack your rain boots!
Is There Anything Good About Venice?
Okay, so I think there is one big saving grace to the City of Venice, and that is The Murano Glass Factory. It is steeped in history, the glass-blowers are master artisans very eager to demonstrate their craft to the tours, and they make completely unique and beautiful items there. I even picked up a bracelet and earrings for my girlfriend there.
But maybe you think there is something else that is great about Venice. Vote in the poll and let everyone know!