After arriving in Italy, we had a quick turnaround going into our day trip to Venice. I was really excited to return to this city, as I hadn’t been back since my freshman year of high school! When we arrived, we went right into a 2 hour walking tour, later had some free time to explore, and finished with a group dinner. The tour itself was probably one of my least favorites on the trip. Unlike our tour at the Savoy, this tour guide was very unenthusiastic and talked too much about very small details. While I enjoyed some historical details he gave, I felt that it was too much at times because he gave little time for us to digest the information. Additionally the tour itself was very hard to maneuver through. With small alleyways and large crowds of people, it was nearly impossible for our group of 30 to stay together and see structures the was pointing out. His overall attitude was also a little bit off-putting. I wasn’t sure if this was a cultural difference between the US and Italy or just his individual personality, but I found him to be really rude at times and make insensitive jokes. It was interesting that he was so against tourists, yet that’s where his job is targeted toward. I thought about the tour a lot and how it compared to a duck boat tour in Boston. Every duck boat tour Ive been on, the tour guide made his very best effort to make the audience happy by sharing fun facts, cracking jokes, and just having a positive tone in his voice. The Venice tour guide seemed to do the complete opposite of all those things. This experience leaves me reflecting on whether the culture of tour guides in Venice is just very different compared to the US.
After we finished our tour in Venice, we were able to have a bunch of free time to explore the city. During this time, I noticed how much the tourism industry has taken over it. Street shops lined every corner, nook and cranny. Each holding the same goods of Venetian masks, glass beads, t-shirts, magnets, and other trinkets. You couldn’t walk more than 10 feet without seeing another one of these identical shops. It made me sad to think that the residents of Venice have to live with all of this around them, and I question whether it makes then despise the tourists who visit their home. One experience I had which I found was really interesting was this idea of no boundaries between the seller and the consumer. Anywhere I went in Venice, I was being approached by a vendor trying to sell me something. An example of this was when I was out to lunch, and a guy came right up to my table trying to sell me a rose. I definitely think that this would not be allowed in the US, and it just shows that there are definitely less boundaries for vendors in Italy.