From the time of booking our flights to Italy, we debated if we were going to Venice. It seemed everyone we talked to said, “don’t go”, or “we hated it”, and “it’s overrun with tourists”.
Never the less, in our typical fashion of not taking advice, we decided to go. We only booked one night in case we hated it. Even though some of the Venice neigh-Sayers were right, we actually didn’t hate Venice.
The beauty of Venice is undeniable. It’s a one of a kind town that keeps your finger on your camera, and makes you wonder how they built it. Venice is a maze of tiny streets surrounded by canals in every direction.
Ornate gondolas floating under beautiful stone bridges. Venice is something out of a picture, a real-life postcard. Unfortunately, the pictures never tell the whole story.
Sadly, everyone was right, it is completely overrun by tourist. My first thought leaving the train station was “this is tourist hell”. The island sees several cruise ships every day of the year. The ships dock and let thousands of people loose on the narrow streets and bridges of Venice.
The city has become somewhat of a floating Disneyland. Everywhere you look strollers being painfully pushed up and down the cobblestone bridges. Kids running and screaming. The constant photo taking anywhere and everywhere with complete disregard of the surroundings. It’s enough to make you want to push someone off of a bridge and catch the next train to the mainland. However, it doesn’t have to be.
Even with the 60,000 people piling on to the streets of Venice every day, it’s not all lost. Venice can still be a beautiful place to visit, you just have to get lost. We spent our one afternoon actively trying to get lost. Basically going the opposite direction of everyone else. Venturing down small narrow alleyways and uninhabited bridges.
For as many people visit Venice it’s amazing that there are still plenty of quiet places to explore. It seems everyone sticks to the main streets and piazzas, which are beautiful in their own right. However, for me the true beauty of Venice is in the peaceful spaces away from the hordes of people.
Even with its flaws I am glad we went. Have you been to Venice? Did you love it or hate it?