the whole, Venetians are amazingly tolerant of the 16.5 million tourists who
descend on their city of 57,000 inhabitants every year. We've seen locals wait
patiently for tourists to finish taking photos on bridges, and visitors who ask
for directions usually get help (even if it's just a wave of the hand and a
polite "sempre dritto" or "straight ahead").
there are times when the natives (usually older ladies) can appear surly, and
it's easy to understand why: Too many tourists are thoughtless or clueless when
they're away from home, or they lack the urban skills to coexist with other
people in crowded settings.
Typical annoying behaviors include:
bridges by sitting and drinking or eating on the steps. (Would the offenders
sit down on Fifth Avenue or the Champs-élysées and have a picnic? Would they
lounge in a London crosswalk and expect traffic to go around them?)
Posing for snapshots or videos on crowded bridges, or in
busy streets, while the photographer fiddles with the camera and pedestrian
traffic backs up.
Walking three or four abreast down narrow calli and
lurching to a stop when a member of the group sees something of interest in
a shop window.
Waiting until they're at the head of the gelato
stand's line to see what flavors are available, or asking for a translation
of the ingredients menu at a busy take-out pizza window.
Entering the exit side of a vaporetto platform to avoid the
Arguing with the clerk at the Internet point who asks for a
passport or driver's license, as required by Italy's anti-terrorism and
intentionally stupid like the young man at right, who lay down with a friend
in the Piazza San Marco and used crumbs to attract pigeons while he posed
for snapshots with a dildo protruding from his jeans.
Our advice: In a compact and
often crowded city like Venice, being sensitive to other
people--especially in busy tourist areas--will make life more pleasant for
locals and visitors alike.