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Venice: Sinking Under the Weight of Tourism?

Venice: Sinking Under the Weight of Tourism?

Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 06:20 AM
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Venice: Sinking Under the Weight of Tourism?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/w...-invasion.html

Much has been said on Fodors lately about swarms of crowds in Venice and the bane of cruise ships especially. Today's NYTimes article makes this graphically clear.

Well it seems that it's getting worse and worse - the horrendous daytime mob scenes in the main areas of touristic Venice. One seriously has to ask Is Venice worth it in summer? Like St Mark's Square - the sitting room of Europe it was once called -is so so serene but filled with tourists wall to wall it's awful during the day.

If Venice is on your wish list - plan a trip well outside of high tourist season to better enjoy it. There will still be crowds in main venues but nothing like July and August.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 06:47 AM
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IMO it is not only Venice. Altho other wonderful places may not be sinking, the crowds are everywhere. The cause (problem?) not just the cruise ships but also the cheap flights within Europe that make almost every iconic destination within the reach of bachelor and hen parties. Any place that you can pre-purchase entry - do it! Going off season may help a bit but not all that much - I'm glad the economy and logistics have opened up travel to so many but I may be getting ready to just go back to quiet beach vacations here in the US.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 06:59 AM
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And it's not only in high season. We spent 5 days in Venice over Christmas last year and it was elbow-to-elbow all around the main tourist sites, even though there were no cruise ships. It was a scramble to find a spot to stand on any vaporetto. You had to get out to Canareggio and the Jewish quarter and the islands to avoid the selfie sticks and pushing crowds. We did have Piazza San Marco completely to ourselves on Christmas night, though, and that was magical.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 07:26 AM
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Even 47 yrs ago Venice was intolerable in summer. I took my then 4 yr old daughter and mother there and have told her to go back out of season right now because, of course, she doesn't remember it. StCirq's crowds at Christmas was an eye-opener since she thought of going then. I agree with everything sueci1 said and am glad I did all my tourism back in the day of fewer tourists.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 07:29 AM
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Yup Christmas crowds a surprise - I guess anytime folks have a vacation period Venice is swamped.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 08:11 AM
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Same as Barcelona, where the residents are now taking action, or Amsterdam or many other cities. These places are becoming impossible to live in and are in danger of becoming theme parks.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 08:21 AM
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I was once nearly crushed against a wall by a busload of Polish tourists in Florence, in March. I was also in Florence recently in November and saw huge crowds at the most famous sights, which fortunately I wasn't planning to visit.

The cruise ships and cheap flights are not the only factor causing the increased crowding. There are many nations in this world with a rapidly growing middle class that wants to visit Europe, and some of these nations have more tourists than Europe has residents. The resulting crowds overwhelm certain iconic cities and towns, and the more famous museums and tourist sights in those towns.

Apart from staying away from "famous" tourist attractions in high season, one should carefully plan visits at all times of the year to coincide with low-frequency times of the day. Also, don't plan to visit more than one highly popular sight in a single day, and don't reserve anything in advance unless it's necessary or highly recommended. The corollary to these rules is that you shouldn't even dream of seeing the highlights of a place on a short trip. When I see people who want to spend two days in London, Paris, or Rome, but also want to see all the "main tourist attractions", I see misery announced. In order to avoid the worst of the crowds, you have to pick your days of the week and times of the day carefully, and spend the busiest hours of the day visiting hidden gems.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 08:30 AM
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But if you walk away from the big piazzas, you can find very charming corners where there are no crowds.

San Marco isn't even anywhere near my favorite place in Venice.

Lots of prettier areas throughout the city.

Grand Canal looks great even from the standing-room only vaporetti.

Does the article say the crowds are literally making the city sink faster than it otherwise would?
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 08:34 AM
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>>

Sorry, I don't see why you different does it make to mention the tourists' nationality. Are you insinuating that Poles are less behaved than others? I'm half-Polish and I find this offensive.

To answer PalenQ, I think you and everyone on this forum is part of the problem unless you think of yourself as a "traveler" and others as "tourists."
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 08:39 AM
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Venice has been sinking for decades.

Among the most crowded spots for tourism we have seen are-Topkapi and Ephesus in Turkey, near il duomo in Florence, the entry level at the Louvre, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and Times Square on NYE.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 09:09 AM
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>

Well, I am just about all Polish (Canadian citizenship is just for convenience, less so after 1990) I don't find it offensive at all.


I know exactly what bvlenci is talking about.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 09:22 AM
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Casual racism aside, the cruise ships docking in Venice are a problem for Venice to solve, and the Venetians won't solve it because their economy is dependent upon tourism. And Venice will survive, it always does.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 09:27 AM
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Ah yeh a double-edged sword as NewbE says.

<Does the article say the crowds are literally making the city sink faster than it otherwise would?>

No that was my play on words but with that many folks standing on those piles at once there could be some micro-sinking effect.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 09:34 AM
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So glad they have finally banned the cruise ships in the Grand Canal in Venice. Cant believe it has taken them so long. We stayed on Giudecca Island last time we were in Venice and there you can really get away from the masses. Also amazing to dine Alfresco and look across the Giudecca Canal at the lights of Venice. Logistically it is only 4 vaparetto stops from St Marks square, so easy to get in and out. All is not lost!!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 09:49 AM
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To be precise (or nit-pick) the cruise ships did not go down the Grand Canal (at least not anytime recently...10 years or more)- they went down the Giudecca! You must have been dining at a time when there were not any cruise ships going in or out.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 10:11 AM
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They are working on it now, so I'm surprised to see people say Venetians won't solve this problem. I was taking a class in Venice a few weeks ago and we discussed this--and proposed reforms/restrictions--at some length.

http://www.lastampa.it/2017/07/02/it...NK/pagina.html
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 11:41 AM
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Well, the eccessi del turismo does need to be reigned in, so I'm glad to hear it!
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 12:30 PM
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We are all tourists - who should be banned first?
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 12:51 PM
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Loaker, I wasn't insinuating anything about Poles. If they had been Irish, I would have said so, and I'm 100% Irish.

I've seen badly behaved tourists of all nationalities. A bunch of Dutch tourists destroyed a historic fountain in Rome, but that doesn't mean I think all Dutch people are drunken boors.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2017, 12:54 PM
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<We are all tourists - who should be banned first?>

The ones in my way, of course!
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