Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Venice - A-Z Blogging Challenge

I've been thinking about holidays a lot recently, what with the time of year. I've always wanted to go to Italy. One of my all-time favourite books is The Talented Mr. Ripley (book is better than the film because Patricia Highsmith did not mangle the bloody ending, but the film is very well directed and shot and acted and still worth watching), and that whole book is a bit of a love letter to Italy.

Tom Ripley, the main character, avoids visiting Venice for most of the book because he doesn't want to be disappointed by it. When he eventually visits, he loves it and rents a house there.

So like all sensible people, I always wanted to see Venice. But then, as with so many things, The Guardian ruined it for me.

Venice's population is constantly dropping. The city has turned itself over to tourism so much that it's virtually impossible for people to get permission to build houses - as much land as possible is given over to hotels. The death rate outnumbers the birth rate 2 to 1, and there isn't even a cinema for the locals to use. Young Venetians cannot afford to live there.

That is not the portrait of a living city. That's a theme park.

And suddenly, going there seemed a lot less like something I want in my life. If I'm ever in the area, I'll pop in. But I feel uncomfortable about the idea of spending money in a city that venerates tourists above their own residents - that isn't a position I want to support.

Holiday planning gets a hell of a lot harder when you start trying to bring your politics into it. And if you read the Guardian, you might as well stay at home. . . :)


  1. Venice was nice to see, but having spent a day there, I don't know how eager I am to go back at any point.

  2. I think I would still like to see it, but I no longer feel good about seeing it. . .

  3. Visiting Venice feels more like visiting a museum than anything else. Though once you're away from St. Peter's Square, it can become a lot more city-like and less like a tourist attraction.

  4. I did love Venice, but I agree with Paul. It can seem more like a museum -- the same thing with Dubrovnik. It's still gorgeous, though!

  5. I went with my girlfriends in 1987 and Venice then felt very lonely and decaying. Oh but I just thought it added to the whole atmosphere - and there was certailny an atmosphere of sedation. It was almost mystical. I loved it then! I don't know about now but then it was just perfect.

    Oh the Talented Mr Ripley!! I did like the film! Take care

  6. Talli, if it's like a museum I can handle that! I loved Bruges, which I thought had a slightly museum-y feeling to it. . . it's just sad to think of people being unable to live in such a beautiful place.

    Kitty, I never considered that but you describe it so well, I can see how it would add to the experience.

    TTMR is a great film - I just feel that Tom Ripley in the books wouldn't have done what he did at the end. But it's so gorgeous to watch and the actors all did a fantastic job :)

  7. Such a timely post (for me, that is)! I'm nearing the end of The Talented Mr. Ripley right now...my English class is studying it at the moment; certainly one of the most interesting books (and films!) I've ever read. I've always wanted to go to Venice; my novel takes place there so I spend a good deal of time "living" there, so to speak, though it seems my Venice is even further from what I would have expected given the times...

  8. Alyson, so glad you're enjoying it, I've always loved it! The next book in the series, Ripley Under Ground, is pretty good too but after that I wouldn't bother.

    Thanks for stopping by Sarah, love your blog!


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