With 60,000 tourists descending on Venice daily it is quite a challenge to make your trip green and responsible. Thinking about the impact of your visit on the fragile Venetian Lagoon, consciously veering off the beaten track to see the less-known sides of Venice and respecting the city’s dwindling resident population are the steps to take if you want to explore La Serenissima in a courteous and responsible manner.
Walter Fano runs a small tour company, Tourism in Venice, that offers its clients a chance to discover a quieter and more authentic side of the city. His mother was born in Venice but moved to Turin to find work many years ago. Walter grew up there, worked for a multinational company in Milan but his heart was not with the corporate world. A few years ago he decided to quit his job and move to Venice to set up his own business. “I wanted people to experience the other Venice that I knew but that often goes unnoticed, its culture and ancient traditions”, explains Walter.
I asked him what experiences he would recommend for those who want to escape the craze of the tourist hordes in Venice and here is what he suggested.
Discover the Lagoon on an electric boat
A non-polluting and silent boat takes you along the Brenta canal. This part of the Venetian lagoon is quieter and offers spectacular views of Renaissance and Baroque villas where rich local families used to escape in summer. You can do birdwatching or fish from the boat. The tour is custom-made and you decide the pace and route.
Learn how to row a traditional Venetian boat
Francesco and Fiorenzo are passionate about boats. They are active members of a Cultural Association that takes care of saving the Venetian traditional boats. During the two-hour class in the Canareggio district, they will teach you the basics of rowing techniques that local gondolieri have been using for 1500 years. Just make sure you don’t fall out of the gondola as Fiorenzo, a Venetian to the core, is famous for making people laugh so hard that they can’t stand firmly on their feet!
Cook with the locals
Can you whip up a Venetian “pasticcio di pesce” for a dinner party? Locals Marina and Patrizia will teach you how to cook many traditional local dishes. The two ladies come from very diverse backgrounds: Marina is from a working class family and Patrizia’s ancestors were local nobles. Both of them are fiercely proud of their city and eager to share the secrets of Venetian cuisine. The cooking classes take place in an old Venetian palazzo in the authentic neighbourhood of the Castello district.
Disclosure: Some posts on Green Holiday Italy are sponsored, however, my selection criteria are very strict and I retain the right to express my own opinion.