How to be a good tourist in Venice
The hight tide phenomenon reached new records this week and you might have seen photos of people almost sinking in Piazza San Marco. If you are going to visit Venice, you might not know a lot about this, so here are some infos about the acqua alta: fascinating as it is, this water level is not normal and should be prevented: every time the water filters inside the palaces, they are less and less safe, for you visitors and for the people who live here.
There are many factors leading to the worsening of the high tides through the years. One of those is certainly global warming. And each one of us can help with that: you can do little things everyday to make it better and advocate for responsible environmental policies as well. Another one is the excess of cement in the Veneto region. We have one of the worst environmental situations in Italy. We have seen many times that when you mess with the rivers, this is what you get: floods. It happened everywhere, from mountain villages in the Dolomites to the venetian lagoon: this is not limited to Venice.
But Venice is special because it is not just a property of the people who live here: it is an incredible world heritage, and I really want my grandkids to be able to see the city I love, before it’s too late. It is not something I say lightly: we don’t know how long it will be before Venice sinks.
5 ways to enjoy Venice responsibly
A lot of people ask me: what can we do, as tourists? I have a five points aswer to this:
1. First of all spend more time in Venice: we have too many one-day tourists, who don’t get to see what the city offers. Even The Economist talks about this trend. A good way to spend time here is booking experiences with locals, such as the couple photoshoot (that’s me!) or a bacaro tour.
2. Avoid Airbnb and choose a hotel: an incredible number of houses in Venice is now rented on Airbnb, thus making it impossible for locals to find housing at a reasonable price. Airbnb is known for pushing permanent residents out of historic city centres and aiding a trend in ‘Disneyfication’ in places such as Venice (read the article on The Telegraph).
3. Find a real Osteria with real venetian food (here you can find some tips, and one day I will write my own guide to help you choose) and avoid chain restaurants that are turning Venice into a big mall. Venice has so much to offer for a truly amazing culinary experience, you really don’t need Burger King.
4. Don’t buy cheap souvenirs: if it’s glass and it’s cheap, it’s not made in Venice! Sorry!!! Those shops are replacing all other locals shops, like the shoemaker or the minimarket, places where you can meet real venetians and have an authentic experience. Less local shops, less inhabitants, and less people to take care of the city. As simple as that.
5. Explore beyond Venice: start from the islands tour, Murano, Burano, Torcello; then visit the Lido, Venice’s own beach, the place where the oldest Film Festival was born and where you can still meet your favourite movie stars every year at the beginning of September. Then you can do a wine tasting tour in the prosecco area, go ski on the Dolomites, and explore nearby cities like Verona and Vicenza.