Things to Do in Venice
Image courtesy of Pixabay
In the global battle for most romantic city in the world, the Venice versus Paris finals often switch winners, but here at Affordable Travel, we know, because we’ve been, and the hands-down champion is Venice. Paris is bigger, with more options, but there is a mystique to Venice that transcends the cosmopolitan flair of Paris.
Venice has been called the most beautiful man-made place on earth. Its location at the north end of the Adriatic Sea in the Italian region of Veneto, home of the most beloved white wine anywhere, Pinot Grigio, and sub-tropical climate is a good start. That it is an archipelago of 118 islands, accessed by 177 canals and 400 bridges, makes a synergy for a romantic setting, but its long history gives it that touch of charm like nowhere else.
Art and architecture dominate in what was the seat of the Renaissance, and even further back. Breathtaking beauty is everywhere. From the ornate masks of Carnivale to the details on the Doge’s Palace, every glance in Venice is a snapshot of exquisite elegance and grandeur.
But Venice has its problems. One is climate change; the other is over-tourism. Globally, ocean tides are rising and the tidal waters around the mouth of Venice’s Grand Canal are rising. Historically, Venice has been used to occasional flooding, but it’s getting worse. The local government, an amalgamation of the Padua, Treviso and Venice metropolitan area, or PATREVE, is doing what it can to find ways to block the tides, but every solution is countered and simply, it’s taking too long. Venice suffers worse flooding every time it happens. It’s becoming a desperate problem.
Sixty-thousand tourists descend on Venice every day. Venice embodies only a small core area, and the influx is overwhelming, especially when a cruise ship arrives. There have been demands from residents to ban cruise ships entirely, their prows jutting into the Grand Canal and St. Mark’s Piazza like giant pokers. The struggle to embrace tourism dollars and keep Venice safe is a tricky one.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Venice is still, despite its struggles for balance, a first-class romantic locale. Avoiding flooding seasons, which are generally spring and fall, staying on the periphery of the old town, and planning to walk (the core area is car-free) everywhere makes for an easier vacation or honeymoon. Wander the narrow streets with their boutiques and eateries (there is a lot of seafood on offer). Visit the famous cathedral early in the morning. Take in a concert (perhaps a string quartet in Piazza San Marco playing native-Venetian, Antonio Vivaldi), but plan the early shift; locals in Venice dine and entertain late.
Venice offers a plethora of things to do and see amid unparalleled beauty. A gondola ride is a must, under the Bridge of Sighs , and along the canals where the buildings that flank it will leave you in a haze of beauty. But be sure to spread out, to go beyond the very core; there is much else about Venice than a two-hour hop-off a cruise ship affords to delight visitors.