The iconic Rialto Bridge - now a souvenir stand

The iconic Rialto Bridge – now a souvenir stand

We decided that we did not want to be ripped off by over-priced and dowdy Venetian hotels (not everyone can afford the Cipriani!), and on the advice of some friends, decamped from Treviso to Padua. Only two train stops to Venice – at a princely sum of 4.50€!

You alight at the main Venice train station and take a day pass on the water ferries. No one can fail to be impressed by the amazing buildings seemingly wallowing in the water. However, it’s behind this façade that tells a different story.

Along the way - a plea for the Mafia to back off!

Along the way – a plea for the Mafia to back off!


Beautiful building in St Mark's Square

Beautiful building in St Mark’s Square

The Venetian population now numbers only 60,000 residents, half those of five years ago and diminishing by the year. The scourge of high taxes, dilapidated buildings and their prohibitive upkeep and a change in the nature of the tourists thronging the Venetian streets have all combined to place the future of the city under a real threat of becoming a ghost city – especially at night time.

Cruise ships take much of the blame, according to locals. The ‘cruisers’ arrive each day, stuffed from a huge breakfast on the ship, armed with food supplies ot see them through the day, visit the main sights and leave that afternoon for another port. And so the cycle goes on and on. Not good for restaurants, greengrocers and shops providing essential supplies to the local population. As one local commented “you cannot eat glass”, looking at the Rialto bridge fast becoming a massive souvenir stand.

Near the Rialto Market

Near the Rialto Market

We wondered why there was such a proliferation of sandwich shops – they’re catering for the day trippers. In the evening, the restauranteurs become desperate for customers and harange passers by. Not a great look for such a majestic city.

Where will it end?



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