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Venice in peril

(40 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 04-Apr-13 09:03:25

In our other guest blog post this week, Polly Coles describes what it's like to live in a city swamped with tourists. Whether you've visited Venice - or live in a spot where people spend their holidays - do add your comments here. We have 10 copies of Polly's book, The Politics of Washing, to give away to gransnetters who post.

inishowen Thu 04-Apr-13 16:06:57

It's a vexed question. I've been to Venice and of course it was full of tourists. However, is it not the tourists who bring in the money to keep everything looking good?

Lowslung Thu 04-Apr-13 16:51:43

I went to Venice as a teenager over 50 years ago and the place was heaving with tourists - and this was at Easter, not high summer. We were continually harrassed by touts trying to get us to buy this, and go wherever - all at great expense. I would think that the plague of tourists has been thoroughly exploited by locals, so they should be happy with their lot. Where would Venice be without the tourists? Crumbling into the lagoon.

Bags Thu 04-Apr-13 17:10:47

Back in the early eighties it was possible to walk along Princes Street in Edinburgh and not hear a word of English during high tourist times. The best bit was when Mons Meg was fired at one o'clock. Then you could make out who the locals were because they didn't jump.

sunseeker Thu 04-Apr-13 17:14:00

It does surprise me when people who live in a place which is popular with tourists always complain about the numbers who "spoil" their town, yet are more than happy to exploit those same tourists.

I went to Venice some 20 years ago and the cost of everything from a cup of coffee to a trip in a gondola was a joke even then.

betsysgran Thu 04-Apr-13 17:32:57

My DH and I were there for my 60th birthday last year. He had been there about 40 years ago and I had always wanted to visit. I fell in love with the city and its surrounding islands. Yes, it was expensive but not unexpectedly so. Another thing off my bucket list but somewhere I will return to (once I have saved enough smile). Most large cities in the world need tourists so we are in fact contributing to their economies. In some ways that's how locals earn a living. When they try to rip us off though it is very annoying.

j08 Thu 04-Apr-13 17:40:22

I've got some beautiful Murano glass DD brought me back from Venice. I guess if you live in a place like Venice you have to take the tourists in your stride.

Butty Thu 04-Apr-13 17:51:33

Lucky you J. I love the depth of colours that Murano glass achieves - although not always the designs.
Yep, with you on the tourist thing. Goes with the territory.

BAnanas Thu 04-Apr-13 18:06:26

I went to Venice when I was very young 18 or so and hated it, didn't stray far from St Mark's Square. Went back a couple of years ago, got away from St Mark's Square stayed a 20 minute walk away from the centre in an area called Santa Elena near Lido and just loved it. Hope to go back.

Galen Thu 04-Apr-13 18:13:28

I've visited Venice over 20 times. I love it so much my DD is named after the serene republic

Galen Thu 04-Apr-13 18:15:27

I think my favourite bit is the island of Torcello. It's always been green peaceful and tranquil when I've visited.

nonnanna Thu 04-Apr-13 18:20:47

If you live in a touristy area it goes with the territory that you will have to share your beloved local attractions with the tourists. Coastal Britain is fine - it goes back to the locals in winter but all city dwellers pay the tourist price. Venice is such a wonderful place that it's popular all year round.

constance Thu 04-Apr-13 18:21:47

We took a family trip to Venice a few years ago for May Half term week and we all loved it - even though there were horrendous downpours and our ice creams got soaked.
We stayed in an apartment near one of the few children's playspaces and our son who was 13 spent some time each evening playing five a side soccer with local university students from all over the world. It was great to hear the kids practice their little smatterings of foreign languages.
My daughter, who was 10 at the time, insisted on going for the breakfast rolls every morning, except one day she forgot the word for little and ended up with seven loaves of bread.
I would love to go back - we were lucky enough to see the Vogalonga (?) the morning after we arrived, with hundreds of boats of all shapes and sizes rowing around the islands for hours. There were so many people arriving at the same time as us that the airport cash machines were empty, but we didn't feel that it was overpoweringly overcrowded. It is definitely on my list of places to visit again, probably not in August though.
I have family on the isle of wight, which is not quite Venice (!) but similarly has influxes of tourists, but you accept them as part of the local economy. As long as the tourist needs don't drive out the people who live there all year round, which can happen e.g. if house prices get driven up - I expect that happens in Venice too.

Enviousamerican Thu 04-Apr-13 18:30:28

I was in Venice in 1971 July and St.Marks sq. wasn't crowd at all! Not very touristy and it was a very good experience for me.

annodomini Thu 04-Apr-13 18:38:42

My sister and I visited in October when it wasn't overwhelmed with tourists. My sons had given me a birthday present of a gondola trip and a historic walk. The latter was the more fascinating, I have to admit - it took the gilt off when the gondolier was on his phone most of the time! The prices were fairly staggering and we were glad, for that reason - and that only - to go to Verona where we could eat without ruining ourselves financially. Agree with you, Galen aboutm Torcello. We both loved it.

BAnanas Thu 04-Apr-13 18:47:55

I'll make a note about Torcello as a must visit when we go again, I regret not seeing some of the outer lying islands in the lagoon.

Enjoyed using train station on the Grand Canal went to Padua for the day only 30 minutes away and worth a visit.

constance Thu 04-Apr-13 18:51:12

Our kids liked the "Chuckle-Brothers" bikes, complete with horns, that you can hire on the Lido. I wonder how many locals use those to get around?

johanna Thu 04-Apr-13 18:51:53

Visited Venice for the first time only 5 years ago.

It took my breath away.
You can actually " smell" what went before.
History is oozed from every building, every bridge, every back alley, the corruption, murders ,the powerplays,
etc. etc.

I would have to be a scholar to do that city justice.

Although we have John Julius Norwich!
Whose history of Venice is considered unsurpassed.

ninathenana Fri 05-Apr-13 00:17:39

OH and I met in Venice in 1972 St Marks Sq was flooded up to our ankles grin
We've not been back since but I'm planning to surprise him with a trip for our ruby wedding in 2015.

We live in a seaside tourist area. Don't mind the grockles but do object to shops putting up prices for the season.

stephgr Fri 05-Apr-13 01:12:37

Given the state of Italy's economy (dreadful as are many European economies) tourists should be warmly welcomed.

mazgoli Fri 05-Apr-13 08:50:13

I would love to visit Venice for the incredible history, but have been put off by friends who went there for their honeymoon and found everything far too expensive.

moleswife Fri 05-Apr-13 11:27:51

Venice is such a beautiful city that it cannot fail to move and inspire anyone who visits - that is if you can see past the crowds! Some time ago the peril that Venice faced was due to decay of the buildings, now it's the contagion of numbers - so perhaps there is a need to restict visitors both for their sakes and those of the residents.

KatyK Fri 05-Apr-13 16:55:25

I've been to Venice 4 times over the last 10 years and absolutely love it. It does get very crowded around the St Marks area but you can wander off into the side streets and it's not too bad, depending on the time of year. September is good. Very expensive though. We were told by a local about the work being done to save the city from sinking. Listening to the orchestras in St Marks Square at night is wonderful.

Galen Fri 05-Apr-13 17:18:51

I'm picking up the QE in Venice in September for my Black Sea trip.

j08 Sun 07-Apr-13 08:44:26

So this woman went to live in Venice five years ago and now resents others experiencing it for a week or two now and then. And it's all the other people buying up the property, making it too expensive for the locals to buy. Not her? hmm