That Venice tops nearly every traveler’s bucket-list is no wonder. For centuries, travelers returning from the island city have shared stories and imagery of romance and intrigue, encouraging others to follow in their steps.
Gliding along the Grand Canal feels like entering a fantasy. Waterfront palaces exude equal parts grandeur and decay. A labyrinth of alleys, bridges and canals challenges notions of space, time and direction. The beauty is intense, at times, impossible to comprehend. Some visitors leave frustrated and overwhelmed; their Venetian dream didn’t match the island’s dreamy, yet complex reality. Others, like us, leave each time wanting…not more, but more deeply. A more nuanced understanding of Venetian culture, past and present, that’s our dream – and, it could take a lifetime or more.
In that spirit, every day this week we’ll share a few favorite photos, interesting tidbits, and personal observations about this city we love. Today, we start with “Classic Venetian Eye Candy,” a celebration of those sights and experiences that serve as travel and dream catalysts.
To understand Venice, it helps to know a few numbers:
The historical center, what we classically think of as “Venice,” consists of six neighborhoods known as sestiere, spreading over 118 mini-islands connected by nearly 200 canals and 400 footbridges. Each time you climb over a footbridge, you are essentially stepping onto another island.
A dedicated, but few 55,000 residents currently call the island home. This number has been steadily decreasing for centuries. As recently as 1951, the population was over triple today’s number. Why do Venetians leave? In a massive over-simplification, to move toward jobs and away from the crush of tourism (both economically and aesthetically).
How big is the crush? More people visit the city, on average, per day than reside here. Let that sink in. In a year, that’s over 20 million visitors.
Does that mean we shouldn’t visit? Not definitively, but every visitor has a role to play in keeping one of the world’s greatest treasures healthy and viable. Respecting the city and her residents is the first step in advocating for Venice’s future. (More on that topic later this week).
Okay, enough with the talk, let’s gaze…and let Venice’s unparalleled beauty inspire our curiosity and appreciation for this amazing world we share. #Ifreakinglovetravel