Some cities have no counterpart because they are so unique – and Venice easily falls into this “one-of-a-kind” category. As I mentioned in my last post, cars don’t exist in Venice, which means residents and tourists alike get around only by boat or on foot. So if you think you’d enjoy Waterworld on steroids – combined with magnificent palazzos, world-class museums, and excellent cuisine – Venice definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list.
But although partner Carol and I had a grand time during our recent stay in Venice, I couldn’t help but leave with a certain amount of sadness. From a historical perspective, there can be no doubt that Venice is way past its prime. Once a sovereign state, the Republic of Venice was a major financial and maritime power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In the latter period, its golden age of art and music had few rivals. As a political power, however, the Republic gasped its last breath in 1797 when the city-state surrendered to Napoleon without a fight.
These days yet other realities are catching up to the Queen of the Adriatic.
For one thing, Venice is in a state of decay. The featured image – which mainly caught my eye because of the mystery door beyond the covered passageway – shows the dilapidated state of Venetian buildings. The whole city seems to be slowly but surely disintegrating. (NOTE: The white powder at the base of the walls in the image is from crumbling plaster.)
Thanks to tourism, Venice is also losing its character and culture. In peak season, cruise ships alone can deposit 30,000 day trippers in a city with only 55,000 fulltime inhabitants (half the population of just 30 years ago). Moreover, the locals are leaving not by choice but because greedy landlords who would rather rent their accommodations to tourists are pricing them out of the housing market.
And last but in no way least, Venice is losing its battle with Mother Nature. Built atop sediments that are still compacting and settling, the city has sunk about nine inches in the last century. Meanwhile, experts warn that unless the acceleration of global warming is quelled, Venice will be underwater in a hundred years.
But don’t get me wrong! Venice remains a unique and desirable destination, especially for fans of Italy who love antiquity and the arts. I’m just saying that if Venice is on your bucket list, you should probably go there sooner versus later. And unless you really prefer wall-to-wall people and higher prices, you should most definitely visit in the off-season.
Speaking of day trippers, the next time you explore Bainbridge Island, please stop by our gallery. We have an excellent assortment of matted prints, metal prints, canvas prints, custom-framed black-and-white prints, and fine art acrylic prints, including images from Venice in the very near future. For gallery hours, please consult our Contact page.
Ciao for now,
Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh