The city of Venice is built on the 118 islands in the Venice Lagoon. In the 6th Century AD, after the fall of the Roman Empire and the subsequent invasions of the Goths, Vandals and other barbarian tribes, the locals, who knew how to navigate the canal network of the lagoon moved out into the sea as a way of escape. For centuries this proved an adequate defense as invaders who had no understanding of the ever evolving, intricate and invisible passages through the lagoon were simply thwarted.
There is no place like Venice; a city built on mud. Long wooden poles are driven down through the mud until they reach firm ground and this forms the foundations of the majestic buildings which line the labyrinth of canals; literally a floating city.
We stayed on Venice Island, just opposite St Mark’s Square and a wonderful water taxi ride along the Grand Canal from Venice’s Santa Lucia Railway Station, to the Alla Salute stop at the Santa Maria della Salute church. The absolute peace and quiet of our Venice accommodation was luxury after the hustle, bustle and traffic noise of many previous large cities. We rode the waterways, walked the cobbled streets, crossed the bridges, walked the Rialto just like Shylock, ate great food and spent money.
Our travel agent had done a marvelous job planning our trip, but at Venice she made a mistake; she had us alighting the train at one stop before Santa Lucia. None the wiser, we bailed out of the train and hailed a taxi. As we drove across the causeway into Venice, I looked to my left and said, “Isn’t that our train?” And yes, it sure was; speeding on its way to the final stop, which, we in due course, were delivered to, because it is from here that the water taxi leaves to travel down the Grand Canal.
I loved Venice but it is fair to say that the local Venetians do not love all the tourists who swamp their beautiful city. On any given day there are more tourists in Venice than residents and in fact, many residents find living in Venice no longer viable as the tourist Euro is so lucrative that the born and bred Venetians have been priced out of accommodation in their own city. They fear that Venice is being used as some sort of “Disneyland” for tourism and it is to the destruction of this unique location. Many locals want to see tourist numbers capped before the romance, art, architecture, history and beauty of Venice is irreversibly spoiled for future generations of both locals and tourists.
Like many other locations in this world, beautiful Venice must be protected; not sacrificed on the altar of greedy lucre.