I don’t know what’s wrong with me. The problem is that I can’t get with the program by learning to love places everyone agrees are fabulous.
I usually meander through a town while asking myself the question “would I want to live here?” I did that recently on a short trip to Venice. The answer was “not on your life.” It was a holiday weekend, so maybe the crush of tourists was the reason I recoiled from the thought of putting down roots in the sinking city. After all, frustrated residents couldn’t go about their business. Narrow alleyways were clotted with tourists in shorts and tee shirts with obnoxious messages printed on them, all looking for something glistening, something golden…
Yet upon waking up in nearby Chioggia early on a weekday morning, grabbing a coffee and heading off to the vaunted fish market to see the glistening, absolutely-fresh-off-the-boat seafood, I was left muttering to myself like one of those apparently demented people who can’t walk the street without talking to someone on a hidden cell phone, “dang, I really, really want to live here.”
And then at night the big, wide street called the “Corso del Popolo” is all lit up with lots to see up and down it, and bars and clubs aplenty. It’s a great place to have an aperativo. The narrow little streets off this big venue are labeled “calle” and come off it at right angles, like the little bones of a fish off the backbone. Hidden in these little streets are restaurants and more bars and clubs. The calle end at a canal, just like you’re in Venice but there aren’t many big clots of tourists, at least in the shoulder season.
Chioggia is rapidly becoming a tourist town, but there remains a vestige of real life that’s compelling to me. That’s why I’d consider renting an apartment and staying a while on my vacation. I could still take a trip into Venice. It’s obligatory. But then I could imagine also the prospects of a seafood feast that starts with negotiating for the best fish at the best price with an expert fishmonger. Heaven, like red mullets, doesn’t have to be far away as you think.
And, you know, you can bike to Venice if you wish.
Chioggia Fish Market Pictures
Chioggia’s monumental entrance to the fish market has to take the cake, doesn’t it?
Where to Stay
We stayed at the Hotel Grande Italia, which is reasonably priced in the off season.
But what I’d do next time is rent an apartment and stay a while. You know, a trial “live there” thing. There are plenty of apartments in Chioggia
Map of the Veneto Region
If you go to Veneto for a while, there are plenty of things to see and do in the outlying towns, see our Veneto Map.