Sinking into the Sea: A Crow’s Nest View of Venice… Armchair Travel

As I pulled this post up from my archives for today’s post, I couldn’t help but wonder, ironically, if the dramatic drop in 22.5 million tons of tourists (assuming 30 million tourist times 150 pounds) visiting Venice because of the pandemic will slow the city’s date with destiny as it sinks into the sea at the rate of nine inches per century. Peggy and I arrived by cruise ship, a mode of travel I had religiously avoided for most of my life. But the opportunity to visit many locations in the Mediterranean at one time was a temptation I couldn’t resist.

Perched on the top deck of the Crown Princess, it was easy to see that Venice is an island, a relatively small island. Plopped down on a marsh, it is sinking into the sea at about 9 inches per century. Vivaldi, BTW, once offered music lessons at the Hotel Metropole on the right.
Perched on the top deck of the Crown Princess, it was easy to see that Venice is an island, a relatively small island. Built on a marsh, it is sinking into the sea at about 9 inches per century. Vivaldi, BTW, once offered music lessons at the Hotel Metropole on the right.

We approached Venice by sea, as mariners have for the past thousand years. I was perched on the top deck of the Crown Princess looking down on the fabled island city. Icy winds turned my traveler’s curiosity into a minor act of courage. A warm bar beckoned. But I was motivated. There were photos to be taken and adventures to plan. My next five blogs will be devoted to the city. Today’s blog is on my crow’s nest view. I will then write about visiting the area around St. Mark’s Square, admiring the city’s famed canals, getting “lost” among Venice’s confusing streets, and going window shopping.

Venice is justly famed for its canals... and for the bridges over the canals. Each seems to have a different personality.
Venice is justly famed for its canals… and for the bridges over the canals. Each seems to have a different personality.
Altogether, There are some 25 miles of canals. Each one invites exploration. The building just visible on the right is the city's naval museum. Venice was once one of the world's greatest sea powers.
Altogether, there are some 25 miles of canals. Each one invites exploration. The building just visible on the right is the city’s naval museum. Venice was once one of the world’s greatest sea powers. The lack of crowds reflects that tourist season was drawing to a close as winter approached.
The presence of gondolas suggested we were getting near the center of Venice's greatest tourist attraction. The statue in the foreground is that of  Garibaldi, the man responsible for uniting the various city states of Italy in...
The presence of gondolas suggested we were getting near the center of Venice’s greatest tourist attraction…
And we arrived. The building on the right is the Doge's Palace. Next to it is the beginning of St. Mark's Square... the center of Venice.
And we arrived. The building on the right is the Doge’s Palace. Next to it is the beginning of St. Mark’s Square… the center of Venice.
Looking down on St. Mark's Square. The Campanile is on the left, St. Mark's Basilica is on the right behind the Doges Palace.
Looking down on St. Mark’s Square. The Campanile is on the left reaching toward the sky and St. Mark’s Basilica is on the right, behind the Doge’s Palace. Snow capped mountains are in the distance. Walkways kept people’s feet dry as water covered the square.
I found this building, the Emporio Dei Sali, interesting. Once it housed salt. Now it is home to one of Venice's best rowing clubs.
I found this building, the Emporio Dei Sali, interesting. Once it housed salt. Now it is home to one of Venice’s best rowing clubs.
This photo looks back toward the Campanile. The opening on the right is the beginning of the Grand Canal. The church is La Salute, which was built as an offering of thanks at the end of the plague of 1630 when one third of the City's population died.
This photo looks back toward the Campanile. The opening on the right is the beginning of the Grand Canal. The church with the onion dome is La Salute, which was built as an offering of thanks at the end of the plague of 1630 when one-third of the City’s population died.
A final view from my crow's nest perspective. The hotel Pensione Calcina was once home to limestone sellers.
A final view from my crow’s nest perspective. The hotel Pensione Calcina was once home to limestone sellers.

NEXT BLOG: The many attractions of St. Mark’s Square (which we admire from walkways as it floods).

26 thoughts on “Sinking into the Sea: A Crow’s Nest View of Venice… Armchair Travel

  1. The church with the onion dome is La Salute, which was built as an offering of thanks at the end of the plague of 1630

    Let’s hope they build another church soon to offer thanks at the end of the plague of 2020.

  2. Many in Venice have vigorously campaigned to stop cruise ships docking so close to the city centre and I have read that finally they have got their way and they must dock some distance out and be transported in. I imagine many Venetians are quite pleased that Covid has stopped the cruise ships.

    I have been to Venice five times and there are always new discoveries so I am looking forward to your sequence of posts.

    I have got an aging PC with an out of date browser so it is probably down to me but your pictures are too big for my screen. Are they working properly elsewhere?

    • Sounds like Venice is taking the opportunity of no tourists to re-evaluate the City’s economy and heavy dependence on tourism. See Ralietravels above. I suspect a number of other locations are as well, Andrew. Limiting the number of cruise ships would be an important first step.
      Have my posts always created a problem for you or is it just the recent posts! -Curt

      • The dilemma is that cruise ship companies pay huge docking fees to the local authority but cruisers bring little benefit to the local economy.

        Just the recent posts Curt. Has anyone else mentioned it?

  3. I saw an interesting A.P. article this morning saying Venice officials were taking this tourist pause caused by Covid-19 to explore ways to make the city less reliant on tourism and to grow the local population which has shrunk a third in the last generation. “Visions for Venice’s future include calls to offer tax breaks to bring traditional manufacturing back to the historic center. Civic groups have suggested incentives to restore traditional ways of Venetian life, like the standing rowboats used for centuries by residents but that struggle to compete with motorized boats. There is hope that tourist trap shops that disappeared after the shutdown will be replaced with more sustainable businesses.” The mayor would also like to make it a center for the study of climate change.

    • That’s very hopeful, Ray. Dependence on tourist dollars is a hard nut to crack, but I think that the economy of Venice would be better off if they succeed. Some tourists are good, but too many have become a blight to many communities. I suspect one of the first things that will have to be brought under control are the large tourist ships with thousands of passengers. Just say no, or at least severely limit the number that visit during a week and never more than one at a time. –Curt

  4. Very interesting post Curt. I had visited Venice years ago and was fascinated by the well known tourist attractions. Many wonderful memories were revived thanks to your post with the beautiful photographs and the write-ups.

    • Hard to believe how endangered it is, especially after a thousand years. It is a beautiful city full of priceless art. Humankind is clever, however. Think of the dikes of Holland. Hopefully, they will find a solution. One conclusion they have come to during the coronavirus: It’s nice not to have your streets clogged with tourists. 🙂 –Curt

  5. Considering that even the last Doge’s reigned ended in 1797, if Venice has sunk 9″ a century it seems likely none of them never got their feet wet in their entryways.

    Interesting birds-eye perspective; I’m not sure I’ve seen that before.

    • Laughing. I’m pretty sure they didn’t unless they wanted to. I can see where a major storm surge might have encouraged them to stay in their palace and send out the servants.

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