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Is Venice succumbing to tides or tourists?

I was truly amazed to discover that the magnificence which is Venice is on a list of 12 places to avoid visiting in 2018! Not only is this one of the most precious and beautiful cities in the world, it is in fact an open-air museum and should be treated with the utmost respect and care. Venice is an unforgettable and touching experience, no matter the season or weather. She can be grey and secretive on a foggy day, and colorful and vivacious when the sun is shining. One cannot fully appreciate the wonders of this city without knowing some basic historical facts. An architectural miracle Built upon wooden stakes driven into the swampy ground, this was the worlds longest existing republic. Not only did this floating city offer refuge from invaders, it also allowed it’s inhabitants to drift away from Italy and fix their attention on trade with the rich eastern powers of the time. They not only imported material goods from the east but also cultural, artistic and architectural knowledge. Walking around Venice one cannot but notice how this eastern influence lives on in it’s eccentric decor, buildings and narrow lanes. Glassmaking The ancient art of glassmaking was another precious expertise acquired from the Byzantine Empire and soon became the city’s major industry. In the 15th century the Venetian glassmakers were the only producers of mirrors in Europe! The glassmakers are now all located on the island of Murano where this ancient art lives on passed down from generation to generation. A city of art Venice has an incredible variety of art in its museums, churches and imposing palazzos. From impressive facades, gilded ceilings, intricately carved statues and grand staircases. The treasures are abundant and challenging, and hidden among all this ancient labyrinth lies a world-renowned contemporary art scene. The first International Art Exhibition of the City of Venice, later named Biennale, was held in 1894 and has now become the world’s most prestigious contemporary art exhibition. Held mainly in the Giardini and in the majestic Arsenale shipyard, many exhibitions are also held in museums, churches and pretentious palazzos not normally open to the public. Hordes of tourists Yes, it’s truly crowded! But the crowds can be easily avoided. All one has to do is avoid the few areas that the tourists actually frequent. With so much to see it is very easy to find many interesting and beautiful places where you will meet only locals. It’s incredible that just moving slightly off the beaten path you can find yourself completely alone! Another way to skip the crowds is to go off season when the cruise ships are off duty. This also has the advantage of finding lower prices and special deals on great hotels. Venice may be dirty, unkempt and drowning in tourists but it is also a remarkable and precious tribute to when and how it was built. There are many replicas around the world which are clean and new but they will never have the charm and wonder which is the real Venice. And lets also ask ourselves if it’s only the city that is at fault or also the unruly tourists who have no regard for the precious historical assets they are privileged to admire. Anna Moggia is Owner of Boutique Hotel Zenana. Boutique Hotel Zenana is a charming, family-run B&B in the mountain town of San Candido/Innichen in the UNESCO Dolomites. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. This article on Venice is really admirable and all of us should learn from it and teach to our friends how to behave abd how to visit this centuries old magical city. The last time I personally visited Venice was 30 years ago, on a 1st of january, and the city was under the snow. What a amazing scenery it was !

  2. Even though I’ve lived in Italy (Sardegna, Florence, and Rome) both as a child and a grown up I’ve never visited Venice. It’s on my bucket list, but so are so many other places.

    All these magnificent places, so little time and money. Sigh! :-)

  3. Very interesting article. I’ve visited Venice many times and think more should be done to regulate tourists in busy periods. Dubrovnik faces the same issue,but how does a city balance the commercial benefit of tourism with the preservation of ancient sites?

  4. The architecture in Venice really does need to be seen to be appreciated. And you’re right about it having such a rich history, that’s one thing I love about travel when you can step back in time and learn of things you might not have known before. It broadens your horizons and I imagine that’s what a lot of people like to feel when travelling, to have more of an enriching experience. I’ve already learned something new here as I hadn’t known they were the only mirror makers in Europe during the 15th Century, I bet they had a booming businesses with it back then.

    So to miss the crowds, when would you say is the best off season time but while the weather is still reasonable? It’s a shame to think it’s getting overcrowded, ‘dirty’ and ‘unkempt’ as you say, but I haven’t really had that vibe. I’m not sure how well Venice does with eco friendly initiatives either, to reduce pollution and rubbish and such. Hopefully things can be turned around because there’s so much beauty to be appreciated there.

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