Inundation of The Piazza on Sunday Evenings

People, People Everywhere

One weekend, when I was in Venice last Autumn, I counted a dozen cruise ships in port.  It freaked me out.  About two thousand people in each ship, times at least 12, and that’s not counting the trains, and cars, and busses and planes!

I think all those people go to the Piazza to watch the sun set on Sunday evenings.  It so amazed me I took a picture.

I hope you pop over to see Jake’s dancing animations, and to check out other entries in this week’s challenge: People.

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62 thoughts on “People, People Everywhere

  1. Yikes! Quite a crowd. We felt “overrun” by cruise groups in Turkey once, but it was nothing like this picture. (Like you new blog “look” by the way; nice for photos)

    • Yikes indeed – but I’m afraid Venice is the greatest ‘whore’ of all and at least they don’t seem to stay long, or stray far off the beaten path … :)

      Thanks – I’m nearly happy with it, but do like the dark colour scheme!

    • I’ve been there at different times of year, spanning decades, but I was truly bowled over by this inundation from the cruise ship passengers, Patti. I think, though, what I noticed last year, was that there are a lot more people travelling nowadays – GEC or no!

      Nonetheless, it was easy to get away from the hordes, and in the backstreets, and off the mapped routes, life was just as it had always been in Venice – just different clothing :)

    • I think the big cruise seasons must be spring and summer, Ad, and its these people who’re only there for the day, who seem to topple the balance way off – the rest of the week it wasn’t nearly as bad, and I even felt sorry for the gondoliers, business was that bad, off the beaten paths. :)

    • No, Jo, as much as I’d like to, they too have a right to see ‘my’ favourite city on earth :) Luckily they stick to the mapped routes and its easy to lose oneself in the quiet streets and squares, another world away from the glitzy shops and the overpriced drinks and shoulder to shoulder crowds!

      It makes you wonder, though, doesn’t it, how much our love of Venice is adding to its distress.

    • I suppose it’s because they stay such a short while that so many people stick to the guidebook, and don’t wander and explore on their own. For some reason this seems particularly true of Venice – perhaps they’re afraid of getting lost? I certainly remember a whiff of danger, back in the 70s and 80s …

      In any case, I don’t mind, because it means almost the entire city just ambles on doing its own thing, and as the city itself is the attraction for me now (I satiated myself on the museums and galleries when I had two glorious months there back in 1994!) I can just walk, and sit, and watch, and get lost to my heart’s content oblivious to the hordes in poor San Marco, of a Sunday evening :)

      • That sounds wonderful! I’ve always thought that I would love to go somewhere interesting for two months and really get to know one place–maybe see how much of a novel I could write while there. Were you working, or there for fun?

        • Fun! In Australia we have this unbelievably wonderful thing called ‘long service leave’ – after ten years you get two months sabbatical leave and guess where I went? I hadn’t planned to spend the entire time there, but after my ten days I got as far as Switzerland before turning back! I enrolled at the Dante Alighieri, and went to class every morning and in the afternoon, a museum. The rest of the time i walked, and walked and walked, and talked and went marketing, and sat in the sun, and huddled from the rain – it was November/December, and it was glorious :)

          • It sounds perfect! That is just what I would love to do, only I would walk and talk and collect local color and histories, and then write. The novel I am working on now is set in Tuscany and draws upon my experience traveling there. What a wonderful way and place to do research!

  2. Jo’s response made me chuckle :lol:
    But that IS a lot of people!!!! Haven’t seen that many in one place even in China during national week, although we came close in Macau :-)

    • It certainly was a ‘yikes’ moment for me, Madhu! Luckily they’re only there for the day, or so it seems, and for the rest of the week the sheep follow the blue arrows, leaving the rest of Venice for those of us who have their own internal maps, or like getting lost :)

  3. Yup, that was Venice. Huge, immense, overwhelming, masses in the Piazza and around Rialto Bridge … and back in the Gheto or Sant’Elena the alleys were empty, quiet, and engaging. I wonder how Venetians deal with this on a daily, seasonal basis.

    • It must be very sad for them if they want, for some special reason, to go to San Marco, or to the one of the shops along the ‘mile’ – but otherwise they just seem to turn their backs on the hordes and get on with their lives. I did notice that it took a few days, or visits, before my local cafes and shopkeepers would acknowledge my ‘bongiornos’ with anything more than a perfunctory nod – but once they did, the feeling of inclusion was wonderful.

    • Me neither! I was amazed, really at the effect of all those cruise ships. But then, it seems the majority of their passengers only stay in town for the day, before going off on their cruises, and take off almost immediately upon disembarkation – so it’s just the Sunday, the turnaround day, that seems to be so extraordinarily packed. Not that the ‘shopping mile’ wasn’t packed the whole time – but in two weeks, I only walked it once, just to see :)

    • It’s amazing, Kate – all along the Zattere, with a much more expansive view, it’s just the occasional tourist, and the Venetians going about their business, meeting friends for drinks, just sitting, gazing … while in that one ‘must go’ place, one entered this circus. Afraid I didn’t stay for sunset – took this shot and shot off!

  4. We did Venice in October several years ago and we had the place to ourselves. A friend was there in September of the same year and he said it was overrun with people and stunk to high heaven and flooded. Our timely was lucky.

  5. Pingback: SUNDAY POST – PEOPLE « Dear Bliary

    • That wasn’t the half of it Jo – not a third of it, or a quarter … Starting from the bridge near the San Zaccaria vaporetto stop, all the way along Riva deli Schiavoni, over the Bridge of Sighs (Ponte de Sospiri sounds much more romantic, no?) up to the San Marco Giardini vaporetto stop was a wall of people. Inside, from the Colonne di San Marco, the Piazzetta was even more packed than it was here, around the Campanili, where the piled up trestles for the acqua alta walkways provided blessed (free) seating for thousands of weary feet!

    • Thank you Vivian. It seemed there were a handful of vignettes everywhere I looked, and I should have honed into each of those and looked more closely, but the crush of people really was making me a bit antsy, so i took just the one shot, with a couple of vignettes, but really of this vast crowd, waiting …

      Thank you for the follow – I’ll get over to yours for a good nosey around just as soon as I can :)

  6. I lived in Beijing for a year and almost every day I would think “there must be some big event going on” because the crowds were pretty much constant. Luckily I love crowds, but I also love the quiet of nature. This planet has a lot to offer – your photo being a good example.

  7. Have you been to the Guggenheim Gallery there? Excellent museum and a lovely spot. I like that side and area of the Grand Canal, no real crowds to speak of.

    • Yes indeed, Bob, and you’re right, Dorsoduro – except for the area around the Academia, and now the Guggenheim with its trendy new hotels, is pretty free of the hordes :) Really, the only time you’re aware of them is in San Marco and along the ‘shopping mile’ during business hours.

      After midnight there’s not a soul in the Piazza, except the horses, which seem to be pulling the basilica along with them as they spring forward – and the odd cat. If there’s a moon, and a couple of stars, there’s not a moment in life that can surpass that for beauty … :)

      • After midnight in the Piazza – that’s my most enduring memory of Venice. I was invited to dinner at a restaurant overlooking San Marco –one of the finest meals I’ve ever had, six courses, six wines– and when we left, there were perhaps a dozen people strolling about. Moon, stars, a cat or two.

        Venice is nearby and I’ve been there dozens of times, sometimes for just three or four hours in transit. But always three or four hours well spent.

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  9. I was just in Venice this July (and just blogged about it… this afternoon!) and your picture captures the throngs of people perfectly. As much as I had to navigate through all the tourists like myself, I do miss that place…

    • Lucky you … time in Venice (despite the crowds)! Really, once you’ve braved the Piazza, and the Rialto Bridge, and the direct route in between it seems like the rest of the city is much as it always was … I just adore that place :)

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