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rain 15 °C

We are in Venice and we awoke to a very watery world today, leading us to question whether the city is sinking, the tide is rising or the sky is falling. It seems that all three are true and we are all to blame. Venice was built on marshland and, as the city is slowly sinking into the mud, global warming is raising the sea level and dumping more rain. Northern Italy has been drenched for a couple of weeks now, although we've been lucky enough to dodge the worst of it, but the net result is that St. Mark's Square became St.Mark's Lake this morning...

Canny trinket purveyors quickly hung rubber boots alongside their richly adorned Venetian masks and flashy Murano glass...
It will take more than a few pairs of wellies to keep the tourists coming and a gargantuan effort is underway to save the city by barricading off the inlets from the Adriatic, but the perilous state of the Italian economy may yet scupper the multi-billion euro project.

Venice is a pedestrian's paradise, devoid of the noise, smell and danger of the dreaded machinas that plague most cities of the world. Ancient alleys, squares and canalside walkways are as uncluttered by motorised monstrosities as they were in the city's heyday five hundred years ago. As we stroll the quaint laneways, unaccosted by cars, trucks and motorbikes, it is easy for us to imagine ourselves in a quieter, calmer, era, when elegantly dressed Venetians stepped ashore from their gondolas and walked to their palaces on the banks of the Grand Canal...
The palaces are still here, but most are now uppity hotels or havens of the nouveau aristocracy, but there are plenty of side canals where the proletariat live and work...
The gondolas are also here, just for the tourists, although there's not a lot for a gondolier to do on a blustery wet November day...
Venice is still packed with tourists, but the big spenders left months ago and most of the hoteliers and restaurateurs are happy to squeeze what they can out of us latecomers. But hold onto your hats - two cappuccinos and a couple of small pastries still cost $33.00 if you take a seat at one of the high spots on the Grand Canal - location, location, location - just around the corner the same can be had in a cozy cafe for $7.00
Even in the November rain Venice is probably the most beautiful and romantic city in the world and it should be on the top of everybody's bucket list. There is so much to see here - the gold-plated ceiling of St.Marks; the Doge's Palace; dozens of historic houses; and the magnificent paintings of Tintoretto that entirely plaster the inside of the Scuola di San Rocco - no photos allowed.

If you don't love Venice - you don't love life. But come soon; if the Italian economy sinks further it may well take the barrier and Venice under with it.

Posted by Hawkson 11:55 Archived in Italy

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Ah, the old saw--"Into each life a little rain must fall." In your case a lot, I see. But sun will follow I'm sure and you'll be right back on track.

by R and B

Jeez looks a lot like the west coast's rain slicked streets! What a gorgeous city. I can't wait to be noveau aristocracy and move in. I'll make my fortune on glass wellies. It seems that the Gap or LL Bean have a lock on clothing the gondoliers.

by Tom

Looks like you got you brand new Stupid Meter today. They came in a huge caravan,more than 20 trucks and we were chasing them around and found they has started on Berry Point.A lot of people refused and so far so good.Elections coming up 19th...see you soon we hope...


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