Venice is an amazingly unique city, full of twisty streets, water transportation, and…tourists. It is absolutely FULL of tourists. Granted, my mom and I visited the city at the worst time of the year; a weekend in August is basically asking to be smothered in visitors wearing shorts and sporting cameras around their necks. And it didn’t help that we had just come from Slovenia, which is a country that boasts wide open spaces and mostly short lines.
But okay, can I really complain about Venice? I KNOW how ridiculous and privileged that sounds. I’m not ready to give up on the city, and I would love to return in, like, November or February and see if the experience is more enjoyable. But I cannot tell you how much the presence of tourists made the place feel cheap and fake. I mean, one night we returned to the hotel early to watch Heath Ledger in Casanova, because an ACTUAL fake Venice seemed more appealing than the real thing.
Not that there weren’t great things. The city really is beautiful, and the winding streets are fun to get lost in. The food is great, though I recommend buying street food rather than sitting at a seems-fancy-but-is-actually-just-expensive-cheap-food restaurant. Ugh, sorry, I’m complaining again. I really WANTED to love Venice. Maybe I was also just tired after traveling for a week?
The Doge’s Palace was great. It is fancy, historical, and full of fun things to see. I 100% enjoyed it.
We didn’t go into the Basilica, though, because there was a line stretching around the front, down the side, and past the Doge’s Palace, and we weren’t in the mood to stand in the sun for hours.
Okay, you know what, I’m complaining. Waterbuses are the easiest and cheapest way to get around the Grand Canal, but they are 7 euro per trip (or a 24-hour pass for 20 euro). The four times we took one, we were crammed into airless corners or left balancing without handrests for 30-40 minutes. The water taxis are 15 euro to begin and then an EXTRA 2 euro per MINUTE, and gondolas start at 80 euro (we did neither of these things). Even if we had wanted to shell out the money for the quintessential experience of riding a gondola in Venice, the canals were clogged with boats, the gondoliers were half-hearted, and all the other tourists were snapping pictures of them.
Oh, AND, I fell in love with historical Venetian Casanova and bought his memoir The Story of My Life, which was super enjoyable and entertaining, and I really loved that here was a Christian man who had found a way to live confidently and shamelessly, but 150 pages into it, he GANG-RAPED a woman and claimed that she enjoyed it (despite his own descriptions of her hesitancy and discomfort) and I generalized my frustration and disgust with him onto the whole city.
So. Visit Venice, I guess? But not in August.