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5 Reasons Not to Visit Venice

Updated on August 23, 2017

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 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.

Ferri da gondola, by JUMPINVENICE
Ferri da gondola, by JUMPINVENICE

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.

San Marco Pigeons, by Argenberg
San Marco Pigeons, by Argenberg

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?

Venice is Kinda Crowded, by timatymusic
Venice is Kinda Crowded, by timatymusic

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.

Walking in Venice, by Roberto Trm
Walking in Venice, by Roberto Trm

5) Flooding

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!

What is the best part of Venice?

See results

Tell Me What You Think!

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    • profile image

      othellos 4 years ago

      I've been to Venice once. I mostly experience the points you have on your report. Thank you for publishing this lens. It was an enjoyable read.

    • randomthings lm profile image

      randomthings lm 5 years ago

      I haven't been to Venice for 30 years, but I hear what you are saying. Maybe too many people go there...not good for Venice. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My husband and I was in venice last week for a whole week holiday, I did enjoyed our trip even though we had ups downs. Venice is unique, with all the small canals and the small bridges around it. I think 90% of people in Venice are tourist, and the sad thing about it,locals are taking advantage, asking too high prizes of drinks for ex. cokes cost 5euro for a bottle or a glass, the cheapest one we had is 3.50 euro,so better buy your own drinks in local shops if you are on a budget. If you need to go to the toilets in the city it well cost you 1.50 euro which I find rediculos. We had been in so many countries in europe the highest price we had to pay for a toilet is 0.50 euro cent. We had meet friendly locals but most of them are just so unfriendly. For us, venice seen it than that check!,

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Well, floods happen in other parts of the world too, a lot of people, as in your picture, are there during the carnival. It's not always like that. I've seen it with my own eyes. Pigeons are elsewhere, too, but it's the people's fault, because they are feeding them. Canals are the sight itself. And people in Egypt, for example, are much more difficult to bear. Interesting point of your view, but fortunately many people disagree. If we judge by the visit of Venice. Interesting lens, though.

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 5 years ago

      I truly would love to visit parts of Italy, but I do have reservations about Venice. I would like to see it before it is gone, but I hate the thought of sooooooo many tourists. Did you take the photo that introduced your article? It is beautifully framed.

    • BookNympho LM profile image

      BookNympho LM 5 years ago

      This was a really interesting lens. You certainly don't see many lenses about reasons not to visit a place. And I definitely agree about there being too many tourists. When I was there you could barely walk in places because there were sooo many people. But I still loved my visit just because the city is so unique and beautiful. I'd go back in a heartbeat...maybe not in tourist season though! :)

    • BookNympho LM profile image

      BookNympho LM 5 years ago

      This was a really interesting lens. You certainly don't see many lenses about reasons not to visit a place. And I definitely agree about there being too many tourists. When I was there you could barely walk in places because there were sooo many people. But I still loved my visit just because the city is so unique and beautiful. I'd go back in a heartbeat...maybe not in tourist season though! :)

    • DiscoverWithAndy profile image

      DiscoverWithAndy 5 years ago

      @sybil watson: I know what you mean - not disappointed that I went, but didn't really enjoy it. Maybe I'll give it another shot some day though...

    • DiscoverWithAndy profile image

      DiscoverWithAndy 5 years ago

      @Millionairemomma: Wow, sounds amazing! Saving up money and FF points now to get Becki and I on our way. We're looking at fall of 2013 for our big trip - heading to the southern hemisphere for their summer. Thanks for liking my honesty!

    • profile image

      sybil watson 5 years ago

      I think this was a great angle for a travel lens - I much prefer the opinion of someone who will be truthful. I'd still like to visit Venice jus to cross it off my list.

    • ceejaycmarshall profile image

      ceejaycmarshall 5 years ago

      cool lens, i like your point of view :)

    • xriotdotbiz lm profile image

      xriotdotbiz lm 5 years ago

      Liked the reasoned "did not like this" vacation spot. It is always nice to get varied opinions but so much travel writing is pro-destination. It is hard to weigh the pros and cons of a destination that one has never been to when a person cannot find any cons.

    • Millionairemomma profile image

      Millionairemomma 5 years ago

      I wish I could nominate this one for a purple star. I've never been to Venice but I love honesty! I went to Florence, Italy.....the art is jaw dropping but everything else gave me a bad vibe there. I hope you succeed in taking your round the world trip. Pause and read my bio if you have a sec., I kinda did that. I look forward to reading your blog when you actually take that trip. I was able to master a foreign language. You might too.

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 6 years ago from Kent, UK

      I'm afraid I think you're completely wrong. Venice doesn't lend itself to whistle-stop or whirlwind tours. "If it's Tuesday, this must be Venice". You need to take time to appreciate the atmosphere and history.

    • DiscoverWithAndy profile image

      DiscoverWithAndy 6 years ago

      Hey Tom, thanks so much for the SquidLike!

    • Tom Maybrier profile image

      Tom Maybrier 6 years ago

      10/10, I love this lens!

    • Enigmaa8 profile image

      Enigmaa8 6 years ago

      Liked your flip side view of the romanticised city of Venice. I loved it but I'm a hopeless romantic!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 6 years ago from Somewhere in England

      I enjoyed reading this, you make your point well, but I'm still going to go here someday. I passed Venice once while filming in Italy, didn't have time.

    • profile image

      coolmon2009 lm 6 years ago

      Thanks for the warning; I would still like to spend a couple of days there.

    • profile image

      yummytrips 6 years ago

      This is the most interesting article on Venice I have ever read. An eye-opener, I can say. Good work and written fantastically.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      like to have a thought again when you mention about too many tourist. its getting crowded

    • magictricksdotcom profile image

      magictricksdotcom 6 years ago

      Hilarious! Really enjoyed this lens.

    • CoeGurl profile image

      CoeGurl 6 years ago from USA

      Wow, I now feel a bit more prepared to visit Venice. Thanks!

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 6 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for your thoughts on Venice.

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 6 years ago from Guatemala

      Interesting lens. I like that you aren't gushing over all the amazing stuff . . . when I went to Belize, everyone ranted about the beaches, so I expected amazing things. Instead, I ended up with my legs looking like I had chickenpox from the sand fleas. While Belize was a beautiful place, I would have liked to know that I would need to slather on bug repellent if I wanted to spend more than a second on the beach. So good for you telling the truth about Venice!

    • DiscoverWithAndy profile image

      DiscoverWithAndy 6 years ago

      @Lindrus: I live in a city with almost no tourism, and I'm sure it would get very tiring having to deal with it all the time. Especially when it's so unbalanced there between tourists and locals.

    • DiscoverWithAndy profile image

      DiscoverWithAndy 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Of course everyone should decide for themselves, but I wanted to present a different opinion than the norm. Thank you so much for the comment.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      I've never been to Venice, but appreciate your article about it. Good to know what to look out for in case I ever do visit.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I think this is an amazing and honest evaluation of Venice that should help people who are thinking of going there, but may hate overcrowded tourist areas.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      All of the problems notwithstanding Venice would make for a memorable part of anyone's vacation. See you around the galaxy...

    • gardendoll426 profile image

      gardendoll426 6 years ago

      My boyfriend got this amazing blue glass bead bracelet from the Murano glass factory, and kitty earrings! I love them to death! :)

    • profile image

      Lindrus 6 years ago

      I've been to Venice and enjoyed it, but I do agree with the negative points you mentioned here. And if I was living there I would be tired of all the tourists too...

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 6 years ago from Maryland

      Wow, very interesting! I suppose there are negatives to any location. I think I'd still like to visit Venice someday, but it's nice to have the heads-up! :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Interesting approach! Very enjoyable page.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I enjoyed the two days I spent in Venice. Loved the architecture and bridges!


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