Sinking Venice: At the Dying Beauty’s Bedside

Venice, Italy.

Fairest among women, Venice, formerly powerful and rich. You are still impressive, Lady Venice, but only from a distance.

The years pass rapidly, your skin withers, becomes more parched and thin, and finally drops off in lumps of plaster. Meanwhile, just as time ages all women, water wears on you more and more with every year, and your cosmetologist is already losing his patience in despair. There are plenty of younger potential clients around.

Year after year, your population decreases by several thousands. Those remaining try to retrieve the last profit from your former glory, setting unthinkable prices for half an hour’s travel on a gondola along the muddy channels, singing songs for your guests, blowing glassware for them, and carefully bringing the organized tourists to the places which still preserve their facades. Such and such person once lived here and there. Notice, not “live now,” but “once lived.”

A nasty damp mold creeps up from the stairs to the gorgeous snow-white marble of your Procuration building, and no cosmetic aids are able to stop it, because it has powerful allies—time and salty humidity.

You are trying to reanimate your former glory. You organized the carnival, but time and water are inexorable. A curious traveller needs only to get off the beaten touristic paths to see another side of sinking Venice. Your teeth are crippled by age and the sea, and there is no more strength, money, or desire to renew them. But even with all of this, your atmosphere is still filled with charm.

People flatter you, Lady Venice, admire you, but you understand that it’s only out of courtesy, because to admire you is fashionable. You know for sure the past is dead. You sadly look at everyone from the height of your greatness, but still take the compliments–because you are a Woman and will be a Woman even under forty meters of turbid and salty water.

You still cook wonderfully, and are happy not only to feed your loyal admirers, but to feed them tasty fare. You are a real Italian.

You used to be one of the most beautiful and richest ladies in Europe, but Paris, Vienna, and Rome had better luck. They were not flooded twice a year, and their feet were standing not in a toxic green solution, while you struggled with this lagoon again and again. But there is a limit.

You see some remnants of the streets and walls of the great men: Mycenae, Beng Mealea, and Machu Picchu, but what will you, sinking/dying Lady Venice, leave behind? Only water—and millions of pictures taken by several generations of admiring travellers.

On St. Mark's Square. Venice, Italy.

A street of the sinking Venice. Italy.
The years pass rapidly, your skin withers, becomes more parched and thin, and finally drops off in lumps of plaster.

Rialto Bridge in Venice. Italy.

Venetian glassware. Venice, Italy.

gondola-ride-venice-italy-1-22222

Procuration building. Venice, Italy.
A nasty damp mold creeps up from the stairs to the gorgeous snow-white marble of your Procuration building

Venetian Cafe. San Marco. Venice, Italy.

Venice, Italy.

Carnival mask. Venice, Italy.

Street of Venice. Italy.

Gondolas in Venice. Italy.

Chiesa di San Giorgio Maggiore. Venice, Italy.

Venice sinking. Italy.
Your teeth are crippled by age and the sea, and there is no more strength, money, or desire to renew them.

Sinking Venice. Italy.

San Marco. Venice, Italy.

Venetian food. Venice, Italy.
You still cook wonderfully, and are happy not only to feed your loyal admirers, but to feed them tasty fare.

Venetian food.

On a gondola. Venice, Italy.

Did you know?

The historic center of Venice is located on the 118 islands of the Venetian Lagoon and separated by 150 canals with about 400 bridges. The most famous bridges are Realto and Bridge of Sighs.

Venice is built on piles of larch. This tree is almost doesn’t rot in the water. Part of these piles brought from Russia.

Venice and the Venetian Lagoon included in the World Heritage List, as St. Petersburg which is a sister-city of Venice.

Over the passed century, Venice sank on 23 cm. According to scientists, the city may become uninhabitable already in 2028.

In 828, the stolen in Alexandria relics of St. Mark were moved to Venice and placed in a specially constructed for this cathedral which has become one of the main attractions of the city.

The famous Italian adventurer, traveler, and writer, Casanova lived in Calle di Ca Malipiero, 3082, of San Samuele district of Venice.

According to contemporaries, the convents of Venice did not accept unattractive (and especially with any physical defects) girls.

Venice was a republic and never had vassal relations between citizens. This is unique for medieval Europe.

There are 425 gondoliers in Venice, and this number does not change regardless of retirement and/or the arrival of new members.

One gondola ride costs about 100-120 Euros per 30-45 minute. A gondola takes no more than six passengers.

Population of the old part of Venice is 100,000 people, but the number of tourists is 25 million every year.

More about Italy:

Italian Cuisine: Our Gastronomic Feat in Florence
Our “Thorny” Way to Lake Maggiore in Italy
My God, How I Love Italy!

113 thoughts on “Sinking Venice: At the Dying Beauty’s Bedside

  1. Lovely post and pictures. Back from second long journey to Venice in hot August – each day we made quick visit to San Marco area, to convince ourselves that Venice is crowdy. And spent all our days in less visited corners. So it turned out to be the most serene and quiet place in the world. One week without traffic-noice – heaven on earth! Swimming in Lido was just a 40 minutes away by vaporetto from our hotel in pretty Miracoli area, so we did not suffer from heat also. Donizetti opera in La Fenice. As you said about Italy, I must add “God! I love Venice!”. Especially in August.
    By the way – why not posts about St.Petersburg? Do you live there and do not have to visit it like tourist?
    Best regards from Tallinn again

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Rita.

      Summer is not the best time for travelling Europe, but you found a good decision.

      I have been to St.Petersburg many times. People there are better than in Moscow, but the city… Desire to write something about it did not arise. Tallinn is much more interesting and always was.

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      1. Thank you, Victor!
        Yes, Tallinn is great place to live, but if you love art and hate flying, then St.Petersburg is a real jewel-box, especially in July – Russian museum alone is worth whole trip. Friends, that I have managed to talk in and toured them around, have been satisfied and always willing to go again. Sincerely – three trips and not a single thing to nag about. Of course, speaking fluent russian comes handy. By the way – good blog from Irina about Prague, I’ ll leave it on not-to-do shelf! But Venice like we did this time (half of the trip on lagoon-water and Lido Beach) will be repeated, though I agree very much with your blog but old lady showed to us such a lovely and gentle face that we must go back.
        May your trips be successful!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The good news is I think Venice can be saved. There has apparently been some “muddying of the waters,” engineering systems not being put into place to save Venice because from what I can tell the mayor Georgio Orsoni and many others in government were stealing millions from the project fund and in all probability “stalling” the progress which is being installed in stages because of funding. Talk about “cutting your nose off to spite your face” I guess some people are greedy to satisfy only themselves and could care less if the country looses billions in tourist dollars should Venice becomes uninhabitable!

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  3. I have been to Venice 4 times, and I will never get sick of it. It’s like being on a film set, and I love seeing photos of the city from other people. You have captured so much colour.

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  4. I love this city even though it’s true that time is changing its feature, but that is the reason why people love this city: because it is going to die sooner or later (hopefully in a light year 🙂

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  5. Beautifully written. And great photos. I like how you capture that, in sum, the decay Venice is experiencing enhances her charms rather than diminishing them. It’s an inherent contradiction that, until you experience it in person, is hard to explain…but once you go, makes perfect sense.

    Degeneration leading to regeneration and wonder. Love it!

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  6. How did I get to your blog? I don’t know, but I like what I saw and read. I will be in Venice (ancient temptress) for 3 months early next year. You have inspired me to make a trip to Bologna, and then to Dozza, what a gem of a town. Thank you for your very personal touches, they are a breath of fresh air.

    g’day from Australia. Yvonne

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  7. Thank you, Seleste. The comments like yours are the most valuable for any blogger. My conception is not only to tell about any visited place but to transfer what I was feeling in that particular moment in that particular place. And I try.

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  8. Hi Victor! I really appreciate the job that you’ve done with your photos. They catch the decadence and magic light of Venice.
    You look like a very cultivated traveller. I like how you have developed your own personal experience with Venice.
    As an Italian madly in love with that city, I think that it’s very hard to understand how the charm of Venice works.
    In an instant you are caught! Walking in its streets, discovering its artistic treasures and sailing in
    its canals gives you butterflies in your stomach. But as with every passion, you must nurture it with
    respect and quality time…

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  9. I was also very sad to see how Venice is crumbling. I’m so glad to have visited her twice now. I hope that she can be patched up for future generations to come. Love your photography and the way you write.

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  10. I am in love with the 3rd, 4th and 5th photo…You captured exactly how I picture Venice to be when I imagine being there; it is going to be the 1st place I visit overseas 🙂

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  11. Wonderful words and photos as always, Victor. I enjoy your blog so much I nominated you for the Versatile Bloggers award to day. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. Good luck.

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    1. I said almost the same thing. I’m afraid the downfall of Venice is inevitable as it slowly succumbs to the ravages of time and the sea.

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  12. I came across this post after seeing that you had liked my post on the gardens at the Bellagio. Your post is so tragically beautiful that I feel a renewed urgency to see Venice before she is forever lost. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. Great photos! Like them. You must have gotten up very early to see the San Marko square so empty!;)
    And the state of the buildings’ facades, you know, when we were in Italy I got a feeling that this is just the Italian style not to do anything with them.

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      1. Ok, won’t argue. We just saw a lot of buildings in need of renovation while travelling Venice-Verona-Milan and then to Switzerland, so I stopped being surprised at it after all:))

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      1. My wife read an article written by the “mayor” of Venice saying that tourists should go someplace else. She has also heard that it is dirty an unfriendly. For me it is a priority thing. My wife has never been to Florence and neither of us have been to Rome or Southern Italy so that will probably be our next try to Italy. However, we plan to go to South Africa, Spain and Scandinavia before we go back to Italy. At 67, well how much more time to any of us have?

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        1. You must see Florence or San Gimignano, for example. And Venice too, but not in summer. Don’t forget Rome.
          I don’t believe that the Italians are not friendly somewhere. Report me your impressions, please.

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  14. A great lady, Victor? Never! Survive, thrive – at any costs – that’s not the hallmark of a lady, no, but of a ravishing beauty – beguiling, seductive … For me, she’s a fantasy, a wild and vivid fantasy – the manifestation of man’s most fervid dreams, of power, and corruption, greed and hedonism.

    But you know I love your elegy, Victor – the homage you pay to our mistress – your words, and your choice of photographs true to its theme. Bravo!

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  15. Such beautiful pictures you have captured the feeling of decay and desolation behind the once vibrant city. The photo of the empty gondolas tied up beside the empty tables of the cafe makes a very strong statement.

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  16. Reblogged this and commented:
    Awesome photos of Venice. It is an interesting take on the state of the city of Venice, though. I think it is a city that is alive thru history. You can feel it around you when you are there….

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  17. HI Victor, I love Venice so much! It was one of my favorite cities that I visited in Italy. Rome was my second. Your pictures are absolutely amazing! It was nice to see what I saw a few years ago, nice memories came back to me. I see you have a twitter, I’ll be more than happy to follow you! This is mine: @adri_thoughts
    Adriana

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