Venice is supposed to be romantic city that is a must see destination in Italy but our experience was far from it. Bottom line is there are way too many pigeons, way too tourists and way to many advertisements. All of these way too many’s ruin the Venice experience you read about in magazines and see in movies.
First, lets start with the pigeons. They are everywhere and very disgusting. In Saint Mark’s square you can feed them and every tourist that goes by does which means there are hundreds of them. You can’t walk through the square without getting crapped on.
Next, way too many tourists. We’ve visited a lot of touristy sites during our travels but this was the worst. ’ve never seen so many people packed into such a small place and I’ve lived in Tokyo and Hong Kong. The idea of strolling down the small romantic streets hand in hand with your loved one just isn’t possible. With so many people you have to walk single file to go anywhere.
The worst thing from a photography perspective was all the advertisements. This I just don’t get. Why would you cover up beautiful historic sights with advertisements for watches or a outlet mall. Venice has sold out and it’s ruined the city.
We did get a few good pictures but even then I felt forced to even take out my camera. I wasn’t feeling the love for Venice and didn’t really want to take pictures of this place.
We did eat some good pizza… probably the only redeeming quality of Venice.
Trying not to be a grumpy tourists we decided to go on a gondola ride. It’s one of those must do things in Venice so off we went to find our perfect gondola. To our surprise the guy wanted 150 euro (over $200 USD). OUCH. However, this was likely the first and only time we will be in Venice so we paid the fee for a short 45 minute ride. Once again, totally not what we had envisioned and definitely not romantic. Just like walking through the streets of Venice the waterways are equally crowded. Boats were backed up all over the place… it was like bumper boats at the state fair.
We did have a 5 minute or so peaceful window when we were out in the grand canal but that was it. The rest of the time was a less than memorable experience.
On our way out of Venice it had one last piece of misfortune it wanted to give to us. A massive parking fee. Parking in Venice costs 30 euros per day which is outrageous but if you want to park on the island you have no choice. You can park outside of Venice and take a train it but then you still have to pay 10 euros and then deal with the train, water bus, walking, etc. The one thing they don’t tell you when you park is that 30 euros is per 24 hours. If you stay for 25 hours (which is what we did) they charge you another 30 euros whether you use the next full 24 hours or not. I was pissed and made a huge scene with an ever increasing amount of spectators. 30 euros for 1 hour of parking was outrageous. Eventually the parking attendant started yelling at me in Italian and all I could make out was something that sounded like police. Not wanting to visit the inside of an Italian jail I paid the bill and chalked it up to one of those travel experiences.
To end the post on a high note… I was happy with this last picture. The choir seats of the inside of the church. The symmetry, pattern of the floors, lighting, it all just worked for me.
Will we be back to Venice? What do you think??