Interesting Facts On Venice

Venice is amazing and oozes charm, there’s no doubt about it. No other city has the same appeal. It’s definitely touristy and extremely crowded, but still should be visited at least once. Something about imagining yourself living life in a beautiful building overlooking the Grand Canal and using gondolas instead of cars is uber appealing! But I also learned some interesting facts on Venice during a recent trip.

The flooding at st marks hide interesting facts on Venic
St Mark’s Basilica 

The Word ‘Ciao’ Doesn’t Mean What I Thought It Meant

First, I learned that the word ‘ciao’ originated in Venice, but it doesn’t mean exactly what I though it meant. Yes, you can hear locals using it, but not as casually as the tourists, like me, do. At least for me, something about being here makes me want to say ‘Ciao’ all the time!

It started as ‘s-ciavo vostro’, which means, ‘I am your slave’. The roots of the word go back to the days when slaves were used here. From the medieval Latin word sclavus, which derived from ethnic “Slavic”, as many of the slaves were Balkans.  It was later shortened to ‘s-ciavo’ and then to the word ‘ciao’ that we know today.

The meaning translates to something like, ‘I am at your service’.  So, technically, the title ‘Ciao Venice’, really means, ‘Venice, I am your slave’. At times, I really did feel this way.

What? Not Many Venetians Live in Venice?

Secondly, and one of the more interesting facts about Venice is that, sadly, not many Venetians actually live here any more. After spending a few days here, I realized that something about it felt, well, a little empty. I didn’t realize it right away, as I was so busy admiring it’s beauty.

Once I noticed something wasn’t right, I did a little reading. I learned that the population has been going down here for many, many years. Today, it’s not unusual for there to be more tourists than residents on any given day! Sadly, Venice’s beauty is so popular, it’s pretty much killed the soul of the city. 🙁

Another interesting fact about Venice is that it's not appropriate to use Ciao as a greeting.
Grand Canal

This is directly the result of Venice becoming such a popular tourist destination, as almost ALL the jobs in Venice today are related to tourism. Most locals had to move to the mainland to find work outside the tourist industry and to live where it’s not as expensive.

Venice’s Biggest Problem is Not That It’s Sinking

Lastly, one hears stories about Venice sinking, being flooded or concerns about its future due to global warming and rising seawater. Both are true, but the latter is actually the bigger concern. Venice is actually only sinking by 1-2mm/year, which is not it’s biggest problem.

The flooding at st marks hide interesting facts on Venice
Workmen Riding in the Canal

The problem is flooding due to rising sea levels. As Global Warming continues, it will only get worse.

There is a project to help minimize flooding in Venice, called MOSE (short for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico). It’s a collection of retractable gates that, when activated, divide the Lagoon from the sea. This is necessary when the tide is too high.

It can also help against some sea level increases from global warming. Some of the first gates are already in place, although final project completion will be at the end of 2021. A complicated, but amazing solution to help preserve an amazing place…Ciao Venezia!

To learn more about MOSE, click this link

Other Top Spots In Italy

Rome is a must visit in Italy. The Colosseum, ancient archeological sites, rich history, impressive architecture, and food are top notch, making this one of the world’s top travel destinations. About 3 hours north of Rome is Florence, home of Michelangelo’s David, the Iconic Duomo, and a multitude of Renaissance art. Another must-visit place in Italy.

Heading south of Rome, the ruins of Pompeii and Hurculaneum, are less than a 3 hour drive. One of the world’s top archeological sites, it’s fascinating to wander the streets and homes frozen in time almost 2,000 years ago. This is one of my all time favorite places!

South of Pompeii, highlights include the idyllic beauty of the famed Amalfi coast. And, from there, the jaw-dropping beauty of Capri, is just a ferry ride away.

Sicily, off the tip of Italy’s boot, is full of fascinating cities and sites. While the lovely Aeolian islands are scattered north of it. They’re fun to ferry between and explore one-by-one. I explored a few and hiked up the volcanic island of Stromboli for some adventure.

In Italy’s northwest, Cinque Terre is the perfect option. You can visit, and hike, between the 5 charming villages. The vistas from each are truly spectacular. Sometimes dubbed the ”sixth” village of Cinque Terre, Portovenere, is a perfect add-on.

Further north is the port town of Genoa. This melting pot city was the birthplace of both Christopher Columbus and Pesto Pasta, which I thought I didn’t like until I tried the REAL version.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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