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Entries about souvenirs

Venice compared to Croatia

Our experiences in both

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View Summer 2012 on kmclean's travel map.

We’re in Basel now and it’s raining, so I figured I’d write a bit more. I was just thinking about our trip, and I have to say that Venice was all really beautiful, but I found it a lot less enjoyable than Croatia in some ways. The prices were one thing, but you can over that if you know what to expect. We knew Venice would probably cost us more than all of Croatia, and anyone planning on going to Venice is probably not going because it’s a great cheap place to visit. There were just a lot of other little things that took away from the atmosphere of the city. I’m really starting to understand what people mean when they say “don’t go there; it’s too touristy”. I never mind the other tourists – that’s all we are! – but there were a lot of little things about Venice that made it feel like the whole city was just a giant tourist trap rather than a functioning part of Italy. It’s not the same visiting a place where it feels like there’s absolutely no one who actually lives there. In Croatia we saw people every day just going about their lives – in the grocery stores, on the public transit, in the cities. It was always really obvious who was local and who was a tourist. In Venice though, it seemed like there were no locals – we especially didn’t see many Italians.

Another big thing was that there were ads and graffiti all over all of the things you would want to see in Venice. In St. Mark’s square there were building-sized ads for clothing stores and other things hanging, there was even one on the basilica! There were also ads hanging on both sides of the Rialto Bridge and it was covered in graffiti – not nice street art, just white letters and symbols everywhere. It kind of ruins the city when you can’t see the characteristic buildings. I couldn’t imagine seeing a billboard ad for Hugo Boss hanging over the edge of the Dubrovnik City Walls.

Another thing was the “souvenir” stands. There are always tons of gift shops in a tourist city, but in Venice there were stands loaded with kitschy T-shirts, cheap masks, Chinese glass, crappy scarves, and everything else, every few metres! There were also tons of people selling knock-off sunglasses and purses and various children’s toys on the streets, just with sheets laid out and all of their merchandise on the ground. And all over the place, on the sides and in the middle of the road, on the bridges, steps, in the alleys – everywhere! It was really difficult to escape it. Anyway, we knew it was “touristy” before we went, but it was touristy in a different way than Korcula or Dubrovnik. Most of the time in Croatia there only a dozen or so people in the museums, shops, squares, or tours, even in Dubrovnik.

We saw some good artists selling their work on the streets, though, and I appreciate the paintings of Venice a lot more after visiting it, because there are no people or ads in the paintings. I think it would be impossible to get a decent picture of St. Mark’s basilica, or the Rialto Bridge, but the artists paint such beautiful paintings, you can kind of imagine what things looked like before they became full of garbage and tourists.

Anyway, we’ll definitely be back to visit the rest of Italy, but I would think twice about going to Venice again, and certainly never go in August if you can help it. It wasn’t too hot – that would be the only reason I wouldn’t go back to Croatia this time of year – and the accommodations were probably cheapest because you can camp, but there were just so many people, and so many vendors. I’m not sure what it’s like at other times of the year, but it’s really hard to enjoy and appreciate a city as unique and beautiful as Venice when there’s garbage, ads, construction, street vendors, and loud tourists everywhere.

Posted by kmclean 20:11 Archived in Italy Tagged beaches venice tourist croatia souvenirs traps Comments (0)

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