Floods of Romance
The mere mention of Venice immediately conjures romantic images: quaint scenes of lovers on gondolas, slowly drifting down a tranquil canal. In reality, these fabled waterways are often polluted, flooding, traversed by commuters and tourists on modern waterbuses, and yes, quite lovely and astonishing. Experiencing a city without automobiles will be a new adventure for most visitors -- Venice is the largest car-free zone in Europe! There are plenty of connecting streets or footbridges for those who avoid using boats. Of course, there is more to Venice than just the canals. This city has a rich and remarkably complex history; in the past, it was not only a city, it was the Republic of Venice, an independent state and a pivotal center of international trade, which tended to complicate its relations with other bodies. Now that this remarkable city has joined Italy (more than 200 years ago), it continues to charm visitors with its lovely architecture, music, exuberant Carnival, and world-famous Biennale art exhibition. However, you might have to act fast – after all, the city is sinking, and an alarming number of Venetians have ended up with water in their living rooms.