Oh Venice, venezia, the great floating fortress, the lady of the sea, how I adore and hate you all at once. Your lands are beautiful, your buildings are majestic, your art is marvelous, but boy have you let yourself go. The great power you once were is long gone with no other choice but to cater to the pampered feet of tourist. If Venice was a dog it would have laid down and died by now, but it’s not. Venice must continue forward and adapt, adapt any way it can to keep it’s feet above water (no pun intended). This adapting though, is Venice’s downfall. It’s pushing its citizens to fall victim to large corporations and to strive to be more like Americans. Even today, I partook in drinking at a local bar which could not have tried to be more American. As I sat down with a pint full of Guinness (which actually was very welcomed because Venice is lacking heavily in the beer category…as was expected), a bowl of potato chips, and the Philadelphia Phillies game, I couldn’t help but to become depressed. This great land, these great citizens had to stoop so low as to imitate what they believed to be another countries’ norms. I know what you are thinking, well in the United States we have food from all different parts of the country, this is true, but keep in mind that Venetians do not want that. They are about as stubborn of individuals as you will ever see, and I know this, I’m Italian; so having to see Venetians copy other countries just to stay alive is very sad.
Sadly though, thats not even the worse of it. In four days of being in Venice, I have yet to have an authentic meal. Most of the restaurants are owned by Orientals and most of the food taste as if it came from a can. Bad enough, a floor mate of mine was served canned salmon as a main course. It became even more apparent that this was the case when she realized that her grilled salmon took a whopping 5 minutes to prepare… yes, nice and fresh. If inauthentic “authentic” Italian food isn’t your cup of tea, you can try your hand at the local McDonalds, which occupies a few hundred year old building. Such beauty, such elegance, occupied by a clown with oversized shoes.
The worst of what I am seeing has nothing to do with the food or even Venice, but has to do with the tourist that are coming to see it. Again, I know what you are saying, “but you’re a tourist!” I get it, I am, but an educated tourist though. Most of what I am seeing I know the history of. The giant statues of some dude with that lion is not a “radical” photo op, but signifies a man who won back the independence of his country with the symbol of all of Venice below it. The masks of Carnivale are not just a wall decoration, but an opportunity to be someone else for a night and avoid the identity attached to your name. These tourist could care less about Venice and would rather march out of their cruise ships and vomit money in all of the “made in China” shops. Nothing is authentic, no one knows anything, and before we know it, Venice will be loss to the sea of corporations and money.