Chapter

The Heart of the Matter

Robert C. Davis and Garry R. Marvin

in Venice, the Tourist Maze

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238039
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937802 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520238039.003.0004
The Heart of the Matter

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The heart of tourist Venice is Saint Mark's Square, the Piazza San Marco. “Tourists flock here in the thousands every year,” boasts a recent guidebook to the city, and rather than exaggerating, this greatly understates the case. San Marco thus offers an excellent starting point for unpacking the culture of tourism in the city, where some basic questions can be asked about what Venice itself has come to mean: What do tourists go there to see? Do they find what they expected? Are they satisfied by the experience they have? The reverse of the question is, of course, this: What do the Venetians now think about this part of their city, and what do they think tourists see there? In the last fifty years, Piazza San Marco has become touristed to the point where Venetians themselves find moving through it literally difficult. The choices open to them have essentially come down to three, all difficult: acquiescence, resistance, or abandonment.

Keywords: Venice; tourism; Saint Mark's Square; Piazza San Marco; tourists; Venetians; acquiescence; resistance; abandonment

Chapter.  9950 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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