Venice - Reasons to go/not to go

Nov 6th, 2008, 07:27 AM
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In 2004, the population of historic Venice was 64,000. I doubt it's plummetted 40,000 in 4 years--probably around 60,000 this year. I'm not sure why people who work in the tourist trade would not be counted as residents as the article implies.

But, yes, its prime industry is tourism.

Keep in mind that, given its area, Venice never was a huge city in population--estimated at its peak around 150,000 to 175,000 depending on who is making the estimate. And, even at its peak, the population of transients (traders, merchants, sailors, etc.) and the curious outnumbered the residents.

Get a few blocks away from the sights around the Grand Canal and "Daytrippers' Alley," and you find that much of the city is minimally impacted by tourism.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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I went to Venice with my 15 year old son a few years ago and I still go back there in my mind whenever I want to go to the most beautiful city in the world. My uncle, who had a summer place at Lago Garda said I shouldn't bother with Venice but I am soooo glad I didn't take his advice. It is like entering a stage set for your own private drama. My son has a mild disablility and the people could not have been kinder and welcoming. They told us about wonderful cafeteria style restaurants that the 'locals' use which were alot cheaper. Don't forget to get off the beaten track after you have seen the main sights. I crossed the Rialto on a Sunday and walked around and just wanted to move there. It was quiet, charming but had the richness only a very old city with lots of history can have. The only negatives were taking a boat tour which included Murano where they only let us into the back of a glass factory (no street exit)with high pressure salesmen and I didn't get to see the rest of that island. I felt cheated but Burano made up for it. Also, since I came in by train and my son couldn't carry his suitcase any distance it was a bit costly to get to our hotel since the water bus didn't go that far.I felt perfectly safe letting my son explore on his own though and meeting up later and after having been on a 'self guided grand tour' of Europe together we needed some time apart. He absolutely loved it too being a bit of a thespian it inspired him. Now whenever a movie is set in Venice, I go just to see the backdrops. I would love to go again but I have so many other places still to see. Enjoy!
MsLizzy is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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Absolutely! Venice is a unique, charming place. I've been there twice, the last time was March of this year. The museums, churches, and Ducal Palace are wonderful! We even had fun getting lost in the maze that is Venice. I did not care for the food though. I have eaten at cheap and expensive restaurants there and was disappointed. If you go to Florence first, you will see what I mean. Maybe you can ask the locals what restaurants they prefer. The gelato is always wonderful though! We rented an apartment with a kitchen. We find that it's usually cheaper than a hotel.
Vister is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 08:49 AM
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Please, go to Venice!!! We went two years ago and regret that it wasn't a longer trip - We stayed at the Hotel Dalla Mora - inexpensive, clean, friendly, and right on a small canal - absolutely marvelous! Enjoy!!!
vineyard is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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I had the good fortune to live 30 kilometers from Venice back in the 70's and have over the years gone there by private vehicle, train and plane. All three aproaches to the city have their pros and cons. Driving across the causeway and into the parking structure probably has more cons than pros though because of the expense of parking and traffic concerns approaching Venice. Locals living in Veneto will often drive to a quiet train station like Camisano and leave their car there and take the train into Venice saving a lot of money and trouble. The water taxi from the airport also provides an easy entre' to Europes parlour room. The time of year you go to Venice also has its pros and cons. The place has its own magic when the freezing fogs and the high water comes in just as it does on a sunny day in spring. Yes, it is a tourist destination, but if you look at the history of the city state of Venice it has always been a tourist destination, and I was pleased to find a mention of Burano toward the end of the thread. Think of Venice as only one of the Islands of the lagoon and you can escape the throngs of tourist quite easily. Spending the night or nights in Venice can be expensive, but, especially for a first time visitor is an important part of getting to know the city. If you want to stay a short train ride away in a spa suburb of one of Europe's more interesting cities consider Abano Terme at the foot of the Colle Eugani with its olympic size swimming pools heated with hot steamy geothermal waters.

Veronese tutti matti, Vicentini mange gatti, Padovani grand dottore, Veneziani grand signori.

Betweentwobridges is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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You definitely should go if you haven't been before. We love Venice as a short 1-2 day stop. Prefers Siena and other small Tuscan towns but Venice is a great place to check out. We were there once in August and once at the end of November. We much preferred our November trip. Less crowd. We went to the Jewish ghetto,wandered around the local markets, took the water bus to venture beyond the town center. It was great. My little kids loved it too.
lol2g is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 03:41 PM
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1st reason to go to Venice:
It's magical.

2nd reason to go to Venice:
It's nothing like Venice in Las Vegas.

3rd reason to go to Venice:
La Zucca restaurant.
dwzemens is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 05:43 PM
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Like poster Leburta,I first went to Venice in 1968 on a student trip and was fascinated with it. I returned
in May 2007 with DH and was disappointed in the city. Like other
posters pointed out, the city is so
packed with tourists that I felt that
I was only seeing the back of the person in front of my. Visitors are pouring off the cruise ships by the thousands and overwhelming the city.

I also found the food to be rather pedestrian and high-priced, the wait staff is rude;in addition several places on the tourist ticket were closed to tourists because of a strike by museum workers when we were there.

Since you have never been, I would
recommend a visit for two nights, maybe three, but be prepared.

I will never go again.

wanttogo is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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Wow Pat, sounds really disappointing for you.

You went in May - Do you think April would be any better (tourist numbers)?
Do cruise ships stop in Venice all year long?

Just when I'm reading all these incredible - "go to Venice now" - types of posts, Pat's makes me think twice.

I was thinking of going to Venice and then up to the Dolomites and Bolzano. May be initially coming from Croatia, but not sure how I'd do that.
kenav is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Thanks for your post, Pat. I thought I was the only one.

We just returned last week from a trip that included our third visit to Venice over 12 years (always in late October). We were fascinated on the first trip, less fascinated on the second trip, and pretty disappointed on this third trip.

Before the second trip, the city had built a cruise terminal that we felt really added large numbers of day-trippers. On this last trip, we noticed they're building another, larger cruise terminal. The city is going to sink from all those tourists.

The vaporetto fares have gone way up which is OK when you consider fuel costs, etc., but they were so crowded we ended up avoiding them whenever possible.

We also noticed a real deterioration in service attitude at restaurants and a big jump in prices that wasn't entirely due to the weak dollar. However, we did think the quality of restaurant fare had improved over the years.

Venice is a place you really need to see, but my husband and I decided we'd rather remember it as it was, so we probably won't return either.
Jean is online now  
Nov 6th, 2008, 07:17 PM
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Venice? Go! We were there for little over a week a year ago this past January. (This past January we were in Rome for about the same time and this coming January we plan to be in Florence for 10 nights.) We have also had the opportunity to travel twice in the past two years through Portugal and Spain. All that said, Venice in the winter was wonderful. The fog over the canals in the morning and the evening. Few tourists. Notwithstanding what you may have read, people really do live in Venice. Find Donna Leon books, a series about a detective who lives in Venice. If you go, you will dream of returning. We hope one year to rent an apartment and spend the whole month of January in Venice. So, my vote is go!
beachman is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 04:45 AM
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beachman -

what was the weather like in January? Temperature - rain, etc.?
kenav is offline  
Nov 7th, 2008, 05:46 AM
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We went to Venice on Christmas and it was the coldest I've ever been (and I live on the east coast of Scotland) - it was too painful even to walk around outside for more than 15 minutes at a time. It's not always like that but I wouldn't risk it again.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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Revitalizing this thread to get an idea bout the weather in September-Oct. Still hot? When's rainy season? (Don't want to be flooded, if possible!)
kenav is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 02:25 PM
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Our first trip to Venice was in alte September and early October. It was warm and sunny, not uncomfortable.
SuQue is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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SuQue - And the crowds?
kenav is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 03:17 PM
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The economic situation has so upended the travel industry (although probably less so the cruise sector) that reports of what crowds were like last Sept-Oct or any earlier time frame are pretty useless.

As for weather, Sept is nicest, Oct runs a higher risk of spells of rain and November runs you into high water/flood season. Flooding in Venice is usually confined to areas near San Marco, and usually only in the morning.
zeppole is offline  
Feb 25th, 2009, 03:21 PM
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Venice is so very unique - nothing else like it on the planet (that I know of!) so it is a must see. I detest crowds and am not a fan of cities in general but in spite of that I can look beyond that and see all the lovely layers of history, beauty, culture, markets, etc. Sure, it can be pricey, but so are many cities. Just do your resarch before you go. I would say it should be on everyone's list to see once before they die.
travel2live2 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2009, 01:23 PM
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My wife and I spent nine weeks in Venice last December and January. We’ll go back there in a couple of years – we loved it. Cold, quiet, incredibly atmospheric, unique.
Peter_S_Aus is offline  

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