Venice might be crowded and dirty, but there’s a lot of history hidden here. One of the world’s oldest cities, Venice began somewhere around 400 A.D. As the Roman Empire collapsed, the barbarians came sweeping down from northern Europe, and people scrambled to take cover in the Venetian islands. A city that was built from fear, grew to be one of the most dazzlingly beautiful cities in the world.
Venice is art, architecture, history, traditions, festivities, and lots of food. Sadly, it’s a city that’s crippling under the pressure of over-tourism. Locals from Venice soon realised that life was a lot more stable on the mainland, and thus left the islands to pursue a more secure life on land. Today, only 30% of the population in Venice is made up of locals. The rest are all tourists.
Venice sees up to 1,00,000 tourists in a day! Today, lakhs of people walk around this island. Locals have converted their homes into AirBnbs, or sold them to business owners who have converted the homes into bars and shops. Today, Venice earns money through tourism. But at the same time, the tourism is a problem because tourists don’t respect the city – cases of people jumping into canals, camping by the Rialto bridge, throwing trash into the water, etc are commonplace, and heartbreaking.
You know what else is heart-breaking? To realise that the locals see their city being crushed under all the pressure from over-tourism, and the city being reduced to a beautiful prop for photos on Instagram. Efforts to restore the city and monuments are failing, and the government isn’t helping by imposing heavy taxes. In order to sustain their livelihood, the citizens of this city are converting their homes into AirBnbs and increasing prices of services so that they can pay their taxes. Most of the locals have left the city for chances of a better life on mainland.
The city is slowly sinking, and #responsibletourism is on the rise. The aim is to cater to intelligent travellers who want to study the art and history of Venice, and to keep out all other tourists in order to reduce the pressure on the resources of this city. This is why Venice is an expensive city, & the prices are going to rise even further.
I learnt about all of this on the walking tour, & left feeling a lot more empathetic towards the people. I really should have done this on day 1 ?
The people of Venice have a simple request – don’t do anything here that you won’t do in your hometown. Respect Venice. #EnjoyRespectVenezia ?
The view from Rialto Bridge – I managed to brave the cold winds, rain, and about 13985084508 people to get here. Quite underwhelming, but that’s because of the number of people.
If you ever get a chance to visit Venice, I’d recommend starting your trip here with a walking tour so that you’re introduced to the city in the right way.
The Jewish Ghetto of Venice- a neighborhood rich in history. I’d recommend taking out half a day to visit this area and the museum to understand all that it stands for.
When I was here, I saw the Chabad of Venice buzzing with activity. There was a separate room for men and women. They ate and spoke animatedly, and I stood there for 15-minutes just observing it all. There’s just so much history and culture down here, it’s one of my favourite memories from Venice.
Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo – It’s the biggest church in Venice, and is a mix of Gothic-Renaissance-Roman styles. The construction is still incomplete (the facade is missing) This church is also the end point of the funeral procession, and is connected to the cemetery.
A Naked Bridge- when bridges were first built in Venice, they didn’t have the pillars that we see today. Many people would fall in, many would even die. This is the only naked bridge in Venice.
The famous Rialto Bridge – the oldest of the four bridges over the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy . This is a tourist hotspot, and you’ll see the entire bridge lined with tourists clicking selfies. We got lost and ended up at an opening just under the bridge, which is how we chanced upon this surprisingly clear view.