The Venice entry

Posted on April 20th, 2011 @ 22:53 in Uncategorized

Right. Usually I do blag entries about my trips and it shall be the same here. Unfortunately I forgot to make a note of all the things we did, and I can’t reconstruct it all with my photos (which are here) cuz often you weren’t allowed to take pics inside churches and museums. So I’ll try to remember the main things, and will give a “general impression”. Not that anyone cares. *lol*

Okay. My first impression was pretty bad. Not horrible, just a bit… sad and scary. I read an article a few weeks before we went about Venice being nothing more than a tourist Disneyland, that most locals lived on the mainland, and that everything was going to the dogs. This is pretty much true and it became painfully obvious the first night we were there. There’s a very busy tourist area between San Marco and Rialto, like, a network of maybe 2-3 parallel streets going from one to the other, and a few perpendicular ones to link them. And around these few arteries, there is almost complete darkness. You turn off into a small side street, and there’s nothing. You end up at a narrow canal, and you see maybe 3 illuminated windows, the rest is pitch black. Through that canal however, and in that utter darkness, there’s a steady flow of gondolas. It’s a frickin’ eerie effect, like they’ve taken the tourists backstage and they haven’t noticed it.

So as a first encounter with the city, that was pretty disconcerting. If I hadn’t read the article in question I may not have paid so much attention to it and possibly not even drawn the conclusions I did. But I had. It made me kinda sad too, cuz I love “connecting” with a place, both feeling at home and comfortable there, and also getting a sense of its history. Oddly enough, despite Venice’s past being so impressive and overwhelming when you visit, I had real trouble doing that at first. I just wasn’t feeling it. I can’t really explain this, it’s not something based on any sort of logic. My mum pointed out that Venice is essentially a dead city – it doesn’t have a future, only a past. This may explain the sadness I felt, and the pity.

Howeverrrr, despite all of this negative talk, this did actually much improve. I “made friends” with it, tho I still felt sorry for it. I also found pockets of life, with real locals, and areas that weren’t teeming with fucking tourist vermin. I know, I am one too, but gosh I do hate them. So anyway, here’s a breakdown of most of the stuff we did as I remember it (in no particular order):

  • San Marco, the Basilica, the Doge’s Palace and Museo Correr.
  • Tons of churches. Notable: Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, San Geremia/San Lucia, and the aforementioned Basilica of course.
  • Tons of palazzi too, mostly from the outside. My favourites: Ca d’Oro, Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti. Most overrated: Palazzo Gritti. Most disappointing: Palazzo Fortuny cuz we went all the way back and then it was hidden behind scaffolding. *lol*
  • Museums: Peggy Guggenheim collection (good), François Pinault collection at the Punta della Dogana (meh), Jewish museum in the ghetto (same as many others), Leonardo da Vinci exhibition (only went cuz I didn’t wanna go see Tintoretto with my mum, was fun tho).
  • Trips on the vaporetti – up and down and up and down the canal, by night and by day, plus once we went round the outside (west side), and I also took a trip to the Lido.
  • Yeah so, Lido too, which was… fun (was free since I had a day card on vaporetto). Not really worth it tho (the guides had warned me! But I had to try).
  • In the ghetto I also did a guided tour of three synagogues, which was interesting, don’t think I’d ever been in one before.
  • Lots and lots and lots of walking around, as usual. I’ve been to each of the six Sestieri. Venice is really rather small.
  • Eating ice cream, sitting in the sun, getting worked up about tourists.

Here’s some of the stuff we didn’t do: take a gondola, visit the Campanile, buy much of anything.

I think I can say, after over 4 days there, that I do like Venice. I don’t love it the way I love Paris or New York or Hong Kong. But it’s definitely pretty – in all its decay and sadness. And it does have character. And it’s… schnuckelig. There isn’t a good way to translate that. A mixture of cute and cosy and appealing. I do miss it, tho I don’t know if I’ll go back. I’ve seen it, and that’s that. Besides it’s no good falling in love with so many places, you don’t have enough time to go back again and again! Did I mention I’ve booked my flight for New York in September? 😛


Vega said on Apr 21, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Its so refreshing to read about someone’s holiday and theyre HONEST about what it was like. Every single place on earth that people visit can’t all be perfect even if people try and make it look like that when theyve been on holiday. Im glad tho that you found some enjoyment there eventually and that your first impression wasnt all that Venice had to offer. Now im off to Flickr to check out your photos 🙂

Clarissa said on Apr 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm


L.J. said on Apr 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Typically, the one question I was going to ask before reading this was “what were the gondolas like???” Lol. Every time I think of Venice now, I see The Tourist. Oh well. Shame about it really, I had no idea it was… futureless.

Clarissa said on Apr 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

I didn’t think of The Tourist AT ALL while there (like, I’d actually totally forgotten about it, tho when we booked hotels I did check out the one where they stayed). I didn’t see anything where I thought “oh, I remember that!” either – but then I do have terrible memory.,

PS gondolas are overpriced rubbish!!!


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