I just got back from an Easter long weekend in Venice. What I have to say has already been said a few hundred times. And yet I will say it. I will not leave it unsaid.
Restaurants take a cover charge and a service charge for possibly the worst meals in Italy. The Rialto district is not less crowded than San Marco, and neither is the Dorsoduro. No bridge is ever without gawkers. Paul & Shark Yachting have nothing to do with yachting or sharks, and do not own the gondolas, despite their everpresent logos - they merely sponsor the gondoliers. The canals are stinky. Crabs living in them try desperately to get out and are pushed back in by gondoliers and tourists. There are far too many tourists. It must be miserable to live in such a gorgeous city and to be crushed and outpriced by the visiting millions. The Ca' D'Oro is excellent. Do grab some VizioVirtù chocolate. The Bangladeshis selling laser pens and the Africans selling fake Prada handbags (in front of the Prada store - how cunning) are ubiquitous and persistent. The vaporettos are a good way to get around - but expensive. The gelato is a rip-off. You have to pay to enter almost every church. Despite signs everywhere warning tourists on pain of fines against feeding pigeons, they will feed pigeons. There are almost as many pigeons as tourists. Venice is a sinkhole of allergens.
A friend said, 'You are a tourist yourself, so don't whine.'
We took a walk early in the morning before the hordes descended upon the streets. This is truly a time of beauty. The winged lions take on a benevolent aspect. The lapping of the waters against the embankments are quietly soothing. Even the seagulls have retreated. We can see why Venice has been called the Most Serene.
But at around 9am, it is as though a starter's bell has gone off. Suddenly the place heaves. Sweaty and loud bodies push each other around. There are loud calls in Russian and American and French and Japanese. We begin to shuffle because we can longer walk apace. Claustrophobia beckons. Venice is now impossible.