Venice in Italy is a gem of a city totally unlike any other place in Europe or the world. But how is Venice different from other cities in the world? Is it the food, people, or atmosphere? Venice boasts a style and atmosphere entirely different even from other Italian cities.
Firstly, the small city is built on an island. The fact that such a vibrant place could have survived for so long in relative isolation (there weren’t always trains and highways leading to the city) is a testament to the ingenuity of its citizens over the centuries.
Its location on an island also gives it a unique climate from nearby cities. Venice is hot and significantly more humid than its fellow Northern Italian cities in the summer. Winters, on the other hand, are quite cold and often snowy.
But what exactly sets this city apart, making it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations? This article takes a closer look at Venice’s unique offers, so read on to find out!
How does Venice differ from most other cities?
Perhaps the most unique factor is the Venice canals. They’re the city’s lifeline. Though other cities like Amsterdam and Gdańsk have canals too, they aren’t as dependent on them as Venetians are. Another difference is that Venice doesn’t allow cars within the city.
Its infrastructure is built around its waterways instead. You can cross the bridge from the mainland in your car, but you’ll have to leave it in a parking lot on the edge of town.
How does one get around without cars or buses? Public and private transport are all water-based. Your usual buses, trams, and metros are replaced by water buses. Instead of taxis, you have small boats called water taxis to get around in.
The lack of automobiles causes changes in sectors that usually depend on them. For example, there are no garbage trucks. They couldn’t fit on the narrow pedestrian streets! Instead, there are garbage boats with compactors that travel around the city at designated times where people throw their waste.
Broken leg? An ambulance won’t race down the road to get you. Instead, a water ambulance will come chugging along the canal to take you to the city’s one hospital. Local police also patrol via boat instead of the usual car. Another significant difference between Venice and other cities is its tourist industry.
Nowadays, Venice has fewer than 50,000 people who can call themselves locals. Most homes are rented out as hotels or apartments, and so the city lives on with its small population raking in billions from its service industry.
What are the special features of Venice?
We’ve established that Venice is different. However, what are some things that stand out and make it so special? This section explores the unique offers that Venice is home to. The local cuisine offers flavors unique from other Italian cities. Though not the only city famous for seafood, its proximity to a lagoon offers different seafood options than cities built by the sea.
The local Rialto fish market always has a huge selection of fish. While some come from the sea, there’s a significant portion caught straight from the Venice lagoon. Among these are sardele (pilchards) and sardon (anchovies), both staples in the local cuisine.
Most restaurants serve these fish in dishes such as sardele in saor and bigoli in salsa. Squid is another local favorite. Not only do Venetians eat the tasty meat, but its ink is used as an ingredient in some dishes. It adds a fun color plus a rich flavor and light sweetness to various pasta and risotto rice dishes.
Another unique experience found only in Venice is its Carnival celebration. Carnival, or Carnevale, is celebrated in different ways around the world, but the Venetian edition is like stepping inside a fairytale. Held right before Lent every February, it’s essentially a city-wide masquerade party. Masks are a crucial part of the celebration, and they only get more elaborate as the years pass.
Finally, Venice is home to some world-renowned artists. Their works hang in some of the city’s museums alongside an impressive collection of international art. From local great Giorgione to Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollock, you can see some of the greatest pieces of classical and modern art, only in Venice.
Why do tourists like to visit Venice?
Visitors from all around the world make pilgrimages to take in the beauty and grandeur of Venice. In fact, as many as 36 million tourists visit the city each year. Compare this with Rome which gets about 9 million per year. What brings in such high numbers?
There are several things that make Venice a bucket list destination. The canals themselves are no doubt a huge draw. Most people have seen them in countless Hollywood movies, photos, or documentaries. Their prevalence throughout popular culture conjures up scenes of romantic gondola rides with men in striped shirts paddling along the canals when someone simply hears the name “Venice.”
Aside from the waterways, there’s a stellar selection of attractions awaiting visitors. Massive open squares, impressive cathedrals and palaces, and colorful houses are among the things you can see on a stroll through the city’s winding walkways. The splendor of Venice is best captured by the Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square), situated at the mouth of the grand canal.
From there, tourists soak in the picturesque views of the waterfront but also the most incredible examples of Venetian architecture. There, in the square, you can see the many domes of St. Mark’s Basilica as well as the massive Campanile bell tower, which looms overhead.
Another reason such a high volume of people visit this small island compared to, say, Milan or Rome is a sense of urgency. It’s no secret that Venice’s entire existence as a city is in a precarious position. Having been built on a lagoon, the city is slowly sinking.
Small floods have been common in certain seasons for centuries, and they are growing in frequency. Tourism sites often urge people to visit Venice while they still can. However, you shouldn’t worry about the city disappearing next week.
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