Venice- A city full of clichés?
After our roadtrip through Greece Michael and I decided to also visit the city of Venice, since our ferry arrived really close to the city and because Michael loves Venice and wanted to visit it again and show me around. To be honest: I was always in doubt whether I should visit Venice. Too full. Too much. Too cliché. Those were my thoughts before my visit and therefore I did not expect much from the city.
Venice- Much more than a cliché!
AFTER visiting the city I can say: it’s full and sometimes it’s so picture perfect one could say it’s cliché. Before my visit I thought that there are literally NO real Venetian citizens anymore, I was far away from being true! I strolled through the University, observed how the local garbage team set off on their missions, how Venetians move houses (yes all their stuff is on boats!) could catch a glimpse on the DHL Mailman who was busy delivering it’s packages and a handyman tying up his boat and rushing to a client with it’s tools. Venetians are busy in their city! I saw posters for a petition to fight for Independence from Italy, saw a poster calling to join for protests to fight against the giant ferry boats that cross Venice and release 1000 of tourists every day.
Venice is in danger- because of you and me!
But more importantly I learnt a lot about the threats that put the city at major risk. Mass tourism has a huge negative impact on the city and it’s citizens. Daily there are 10000 of tourists in that tiny city. They sit and relax on the streets and bridges which are important for providing the city with the essential goods and services. Of course they produce an immense amount of garbage and most of the time the tourists don’t indulge into locally produced products but consume products from the main “tourist traps” which are often bought off from foreign comapanies like Chinese traders. And as always in trendy cities: affordable housing facilities become less and less for locals since most of the space is rented out to tourists in forms of hotels and (Air)BnB’s.
How to travel Venice responsibly
I guess now you are wondering: I don’t want to be a threat to the city but admire it’s beauty! Amen to that and here is a quick guide on how to best do that.
READ THIS WEBISTE! “Venezia Autentica” really was an eye-opener for me. Their aim is to preserve Venice and help tourists experience Venice in a responsible way. Their main points to help us do this are:
- Shop locally– Support the craftmenship from real Venetians and therefore help provide for Venetian families- the organisation is busy labelling those shops, watch out for their sign. Stay away from the trashy souvenir shops and restaurants with “tourist menues”!
- Behave respectfully towards the locals– don’t block important roads and bridges, greet locals politely, and let the local shop assistant help you in finding the perfect gift for yourself or others
- Stay for several days– In order to fight the trend to visit Venice only for one afternoon and therefore being flodded with even more tourists: Book your stay for several days and induldge in the city- there is lots to discover
- Use the hashtag #veneziaautentica- to share moments of real daily life in Venice with the community on social media. To help spread images and experiences that portray the city in a different way than it’s normally done.
Let’s preserve this amazing city so that many more generations of Venetians can enjoy their city and share it with people who would love to visit-in a responsible and respectful manner! What are your experiences and tips for travelling in a responsible way?
“Wherever ou you-go with all your heart” <3