Venice: A City in Love with Itself

© Maurizio Rellini/SOPA RF/SOPA/Corbis

Are the metropolitan legends scaring away prospective tourists to La Serenissima true?

A destination often used as a background to incredible and fabulous stories, Venice is known both for being a mecca for lovers the world over, as well as for hosting that most exquisite and romantic of events – the Venetian Carnival.

We have all heard how historically rich, decadent, pricey, and smelly Venice is, but is this the truth or is it just ‘one of those things’ which everyone seems to know, even though they have never actually visited the place?

Well – having just come from a holiday in Venice myself, here is my tuppence worth:

Can you really get around Venice only on foot?

No. There are bus ferries, with specific routes and times, which can take you anywhere. There are also water taxis, and of course, gondolas (I suggest you reserve these for special occasions only as they do not come cheap). Cars have no access to Venice, except for coaches and such, which only stop at the Piazzale Roma.

Is Venice really so expensive?

No. Well… not if you know how to budget and choose the restaurants you eat in carefully. Don’t pick the first Osteria you come across just because it looks pretty. Ignore all the ushers, gondolieri, and hawkers selling unnecessary wares at every corner and canal. Look instead for some modest friendly pizzeria (yes, these are numerous), or choose instead a ‘Tourist Menu’, which provides a starter, main course, and drink/coffee at a reasonable price.

Is it possible to find an average-priced accommodation which doesn’t reduce one to bankruptcy?

Yes. You can actually find quite nice and relatively cheap hotels within Venice itself (the main island). I suggest using websites like www.booking.com, www.tripadvisor.com, and www.venere.com.

Is it true that Venice is slowly being submerged?

Yes. Unfortunately, day by day, the Adriatic Sea keeps rising, Venetian buildings keep on sinking, and the aroma of stagnant water and humid ponti cannot be denied.

So, is it really worth it?

DEFINITELY!! Every corner, every building, every canale, has its own particular history, which is even more enhanced and given flavour with the passage of time. Venice is a collage of masquerades and murders, wars and merchant princes, love stories and brutal legends. It is a rich counterpane reflecting all the tragedies and victories prevalent in the struggle to create a link between the Mediterranean and the Orient.

So, reach out and embrace that legend, mostly because, unfortunately, it is certainly not as everlasting as we might believe.