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Greetings! I was in Venice this Christmas, my first visit there. I am sure you all know what Venice is all about, so I'll just skip straight to impressions and pics.

The good:
  • the place is really really beautiful. You often hear about Venice being overrated, but I do not think it is the case. There is a lot of rich history and architecture packed into such a tiny place. It deserves all it's praise. And as a photographer, I have rarely seen a place that is so photogenic. It almost feels like cheating.
  • The food is great. Every place you visit, from the low-end to the expensive "allow me to take your coat" places, the food is superb. Sure, you might run into a tourist-oriented pizzeria, but in general, the food is way above standard.
  • It is far less kitschy than I expected. Very few plastic souvenir shops, no illegals selling everything imaginable from carpets on the sidewalk, no invasion of t-shirts and Venetian masks either. Which makes the place feel much more civilized than what I expected or what I experienced in other, similarly famous places.
  • The gondolas are for real. I mean, in some other places, you would expect by now for the gondolas to be made in all shapes and colors, out of plastic or fiber glass. But in Venice they still make sure they are all made identical, by hand, in Venice, and are manned by Italian men only.

The bad:
  • The place really is overcrowded. Venice is already depopulated due to mass tourism making it unlivable, but even in December the town was full. I don't want to imagine what happens there in summer. Also, for some reason, many people seem to believe Venice is a perfect family friendly destination (hint: it is not), so you get all those narrow alleys and passageways blocked with baby strollers...
  • Venice is dirty. The sewage goes straight into the water, which causes the smell to be rather bad sometimes, even in winter. And since Venice is regularly flooded, it means that all the walkable areas are also regularly bathed in shit. So you really don't feel like touching much, let alone sitting outside. I was on a narrow canal somewhere and I saw how someone's washing machine (for clothes) was discharging everything straight into the canal through a hole in the wall. And for a brief moment in time that canal was covered in foam and smelled like fabric softener instead of crap. So that's how it goes...
  • Venice is dissolving. Most buildings are not straight anymore, a lot of walls are cracked and almost every "ground" floor is wet and moldy. And the bad part is that there is no practical or financially sound solution available. The city will be gone in our lifetime probably.

Now for the pictures:

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