August 15, 2006

I visited two cities. Both cities have uniqueness but quite different from each-other. Both are loved & liked by international tourists. Venice, city of back-waters & Rome, an historic marvel.

Some common features :

When we visited on Sunday, there were at least 25000 visitors in Venice & around one lakh in Rome. Of which 25% were Italians, 25% other Europeans, 25% American, 15% Chinese/Japanese/Koreans etc. Rest from rest of the world. You will find Indians rarely. More Bangla Deshis & Shrilankans than Indians. The cities are very clean. Both the cities, the tourist attractions are closed on Sundays & Public Holidays ( & that is the culture all over Italy). Many hotels for comfortable stay, little costly in Venice & more affordable in Rome. Venice, foreign languages hardly spoken but in Rome, you will find shop-keepers, guides speaking all European languages. The shop-attendants, the taxi-drivers, boat-operators, tourist-guides, and all those who come in contact with tourists are perfectly dressed, with ties, shoes & clean-shaven & handsome.

Venice is an international city, the city of beautiful back-water canals.

Venice is full of old buildings very close to each-other. Concrete jungle but buildings are in shape & strong & nice to look at & city is very clean. There are small path-ways (the gullies) between the buildings & people can enjoy the stroll because of the nice shops at the ground floor of the buildings & Amongst these buildings are are canals, or water-ways, where the water is steadily flowing not gushing. Also amongst these buildings are big old buildings or big monuments. All buildings are 3 to 4 storeys with their bases in water, perfect in size & shape, may be 200 years old. Their exterior is damaged & you can see the brick structure all over, but the people staying in there must be rich, because these flats cost the gold. All buildings have shops on ground floor, well decorated, air conditioned & the gullies between buildings have nice pavements. Many buildings have residential hotels on first/second/third floor , i.e. 50% area of these buildings house the flats, 50% hotels. It created a very bad impression on my mind, because of many buildings & too less trees. It looked like an ordinary city. I think Kerala, which is also famous house-boats & back-waters is much more attractive & nice than Venice.

We visited that part of the city which is most visted, hence may be commercial. But that is the special attraction for which Venice is famous for. Venice is the city of canals. The island may be as big as 2 Thanes. The canals ( kalve in Marathi ) are in one part of the city, Second part is three small islands which can be visited by house-boats, black GANDOLAs similar to what we have Kashmir & Kerala. May be the islands are beuatiful. Surprisingly , there is no beach in Venice. Only one beach, THE LIDO, where one has to travel by launch. May be visiting these two spots, islands & beach, would not have given me bad impression, These two spots we could not visit because of lack of time & fund. Each boat journey cost around 20 Euros, 1200 rupees for 1.5 hours or so. The part of the city, with these water-canals has a very very big palace, beautiful GOTHIC structure. Very grand big building which houses muesium of antics & pictures, It has shops on ground floor & a big church. This was Italy's & Europe's entry point, gate-way, from East in 1000-1200 a.d. It is something like our gate-way of India.

The shops in the palace & in the gullies were largely of ornaments, glass items, ceramic items these two are products of Venice), beautiful glass murals, very costly again. And rest of the shops are the typical of any tourist cities, nothing different, cameras, golds etc. Many many restaurants around serving typical Italian food, with wine


There are taxies in canals, motorised boats in water. There are three or four pick up points for GANDOLAs to pick up tourists, They carry group of 6 to 8 people in one, may be 3 km in water & bring back to the point of pick-up. You bring Dombivali nala in front of you, full to the ream & double the size but clean, That's all, two Gandolas pass with difficulty. They ferry you with some stops for monuments, they explain you the importance of that place. Max an hour for 20 Euros, too much.

The city (if it is like VT) is connected to Mestre, a city like Dadar, by a big wide bridge for motorway & railway. You enter the city, park the car. No cars allowed in Venice. That is the best part.

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Thane, India
Project Management Professional, PMP Director, Fabtech CE Pvt Ltd, India Currently in Italy for marketing activities in European Engineering Sector. Politically and Socially active, currently active with small political party "Samajvadi Jan Parishad" and social movement promoting intercaste marriages in India "Pratibimb Mishra Vivah Mandal"

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