Today we took a train to Venice for the day. The train ride was awesome because we got to see the Italian countryside. We passed by small towns and fields of olives and grapes. When we arrived at Venice, we were greeted by a beautiful canal but also cold, cloudy, windy weather that would persist most of the day. We started by taking a water taxi deeper into the city sticking mostly to the main waterway. A lot of the buildings we passed were much bigger than I expected, and it is a wonder how they keep them afloat. After the water taxi we hopped on hopped on gondolas and went on a scenic ride under the bridges and through the narrow and iconic canals. Seeing doors and alley ways leading straight up to the water was wild but makes sense for the unique situation. The lack of cars in the city leaves quiet besides the bustle of tourists. After the gondola ride, we went on a guided tour of the city and learned more about its history.
Venice has changed drastically over the years as it has lost its former politically power and become a floating tourist attraction. The population of people living in Venice is a fraction of what it was when it was a dominant city state in the middle ages. Many buildings have been converted into hotels to accommodate the demand from tourists, which limits the amount of housing for permeant residence. Additionally, living in Venice year-round is hard. It is an expensive and old city with very few grocery stores and no automobiles. Streets are often no more than tight alley ways to allow for more space for buildings. This makes just getting groceries and carrying them back to your house a difficult task. It is very expensive and time consuming to replace or renovate the buildings so many of them are hundreds of years old and lack a lot of what modern apartments offer. The brackish water takes a toll on the infrastructure and it is difficult to keep up with this issue. Local business consists of mostly high-end bakery’s and wine tasting shops and low-end tourist traps selling souvenirs. Still the allure of Venice is undeniable and getting lost walking along the picturesque canals and through the narrow alley ways was unforgettable.