As soon as we walked out of the train station, we knew we weren’t in Kansas anymore. Venice hits you immediately. We were taken aback by the sight of the Grand Canal and the huge cathedral across on the other side.
The second thing that caught our attention, though, was the sheer number of people! The place was so busy. It kind of bummed us out. It took away from the charm of the city.
But that was until we started walking and we lost ourselves in the maze of tiny zig zagging streets of Venice. They were so quiet and tranquil.
Sometimes they’d get so narrow that you’d have to close your umbrella just to walk through, and then other times you’d emerge out into a huge bustling square teeming with tourists, cathedrals, restaurants, and monuments. Every turn held a surprise.
The only sad thing about it all is that the tourists are pretty much taking over. It’s becoming more and more impossible for locals to live in Venice, as tourists are continuing to move in. On the mainland, many people rent out their homes to tourists to make money, and on islands like Burano, tourists are simply moving in. We spoke to a local old man on Burano who had been born and raised there, and he said more tourists continue to buy up property on the small and colourful island. Apparently there is a long-standing history of tension between Burano and Venice that stems from the needs of the tiny island being neglected as a result of living under the shadow of the mainland city.
Nonetheless, Venice was a truly unique experience. The city retains its charm and character in the kindness of its people, the intimacy of the homes, the history of the buildings, and the energy of the city squares and markets.
Also, I just have to add that the gondola rides are ludicrously expensive. 80€?! Eighty?! 8-0?! Thanks, but I think I’ll walk.