Finding The Real Venice | The Fascinating True Story of Venice, Italy

Ciao viaggiatori. I’m Marko. I’m Alex. You’re watching Vagabrothers, and this is La Serenissima, Venezia, Italia. Venice is unlike any other place on earth.. the jewel of the Adriatic, a mythical floating city that has long inspired artists and fascinated travelers. However, Venice is under threat. It was born on the sea, grew rich and powerful from the sea, and now it’s at risk of being swallowed by the sea. We’re here exploring Venice with Visa who’ve recently launched their Visa for Venice program to promote responsible tourism in one of the world’s greatest cities. To show you what’s at stake, we’re taking you deep into the story of Venice. Andiamo viaggiatori. How does a city as magnificent as Venice ever come to be? Of all the places in the world you could build a city, why choose the middle of a lagoon? The answer begins here on Torcello, one of a hundred and eighteen islands in the Venetian Lagoon. Around 1500 years ago, after the fall of the Roman Empire, mainland Italy was a power vacuum with marauding Germanic tribes burning, looting, and killing everyone in their path. Locals on the mainland had two choices: flee or die. Around 600 AD refugees from mainland Italy started to arrive here and settle amongst the local fishing villages. They were protected from danger from an impenetrable moat, the lagoon. This island,Torcello, was the first place that they settled driving large wooden pilings into the mud to elevate their shelters from the tidal waters, a system that required ingenuity, tenacity, and cooperation. This is Saint Mark’s Square, the heart of cultural, religious, and political life here in Venice. Behind me is the Doge’s Palace where Venice was ruled for centuries. “Doge” means duke in Venetian. In 697 the Venetians, all the people of the lagoon, banded together to elect their first “doge,” and the doge’s would rule for 1100 years, helping Venice become a maritime power in the eastern Mediterranean and last longer than any other republic in history. This is Saint Mark’s Square, named after the patron saint of the city, Saint Mark. But Saint Mark wasn’t always in Venice. His remains were actually in Alexandria in Egypt until 828 when a group of local merchants hatched a plan to relocate his remains to the city of Venice. St. Mark’s remains were just one of many artifacts looted from the Near East and brought here to Venice to showcase its newfound power and status. If you’ve heard of Venice, then chances are you’ve heard of Rialto, the largest bridge spanning the Grand Canal and connecting to Sestieri of San Marco and San Polo, the two namesakes of Venice’s most famous son: Marco Polo. Marco…… Polo… Rialto is the commercial and financial heart of Venice. When ships would come here to trade, they would be in quarantine for 40 days just off the island. Then they’d be admitted past the guards. They’d sail by St.Mark’s Square up the canal and they would dock at Rialto to unload their goods in warehouses known as “fondaco.” Venice prospered because of its strategic location on the Adriatic, but in order to protect that lucrative advantage that they had, they had to build a navy, and they did so here at the “arsenale,” which means armory in Italian. The “arsenale” was like the Area 51 of the Middle Ages, a top-secret, state-run shipyard building the finest military vessels of the era at a rate of almost one per day, which in those days was unheard of. It was like Industrial Era production efficiency in the Middle Ages allowing them to project their military all the way far east of the Mediterranean. Salute. Salute. Rounding out the moment with the classic Venice tradition, “cicchetti.” It’s kind of like Venetian tapas, glass of wine, small bites before dinner on the canal. Yep. Life is good We are here at Vino Vero. It’s a beautiful little wine bar, and we have a nice selection of traditional cicchetti. It looks great. And you know, it’s a good place to reflect on Venice so far. I think Venice brings people from all over the world to try to get a taste of the Venice lifestyle. And sitting here on this canal, glass of wine, beautiful little cicchetti in front of us, I can see why. It makes sense. It’s very appealing. Venice first started becoming popular in the 1800s/ 1700s with the Grand Tour.. Byron, Henry James, these writers would come here and they wrote about this place. People have been coming for a while. But there’s a lot of hype around the city but there’s a lot of substance. Looking at the audacity that it would take to even think about building a city in this environment. Not just like a city, but there’s a word for it, a thalassocracy, like a maritime empire. This is like the definition. You never get to use that word, but here in Venice, it’s been used, thalassocracy. This is what this is. It’s like literally a city that ruled half of the Mediterranean and grew so rich from doing it. And I think just getting a view of what this place was before. Seeing the lagoon, seeing the marshy land that it was built upon and then taking a look at the buildings that are just so big, so elaborate, so beautiful. This is a place that humanity should treasure, and it’s a place that deserves to be preserved. Here’s to Venice. I think we should try these cicchetti. Some of you might have seen photos of this bookstore on Instagram, and these photos have been popular because it’s so unusual to see books sitting in bathtubs. It’s until you understand the situation here in Venice on how the” acqua alta” or rising waters threatens the entire future of the city that we as travelers have come to appreciate. There’s something romantic about bookstores, just period.. There’s something about a paper book that will always be special, and there’s something especially romantic about putting those books out day after day, even as rising waters threaten to destroy them. I think it takes a certain amount of romanticism, but also it’s just a certain amount of love for what there is here. And I think that’s why this is so representative of the spirit here in Venice that knows what there is of value here and really wants to do what they can to not just preserve it but continue to put it at the forefront of their city. Well, it’s time to eat, and we are at Osteria Anice Stellato in Cannareggio. We’re here with Andre who is going to tell us a little bit about life in Venice, but first, cheers. Salute. This is one of my favorite places in Venice. All their focus is on what’s seasonal, local, fresh… like trying to reinvent the Venetian tradition with a little bit of innovation. You got to taste. It’s wonderful. Coming out here, it feels so different from San Marco and from the center of Venice. Is this what life in Venice was like? The life we love is this one. We Venetians tend to go very little right now to San Marco, to Rialto because the mass tourism is having an impact. As Venetians we struggle a lot to keep this that you are seeing and enjoying alive. The challenge that we have now is to preserve this for the next generation, not as a touristic destination, not as a brand, but as a city where people live and where people can enjoy keeping this place alive. You are doing one right here by coming in a place where you can really taste Venice by starting to feel the city on a slower pace. That’s what I noticed. It’s just so quiet. It’s so quiet here, and it really is just the exact opposite of the hustle and bustle of Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal. You come out here and it almost feels like time travel, and noticing the rhythm of life here, that’s for me the best takeaway from any visit to Venice. I think it’s time for us to eat some local foods. Mangiamo! Buon appetito. Grazie. To experience why Venice is called La Serenissima, the most serene, we took to the water with Pietro from Venice on Board, a Venetian non profit dedicated to preserving the traditional style of Venetian rowing and Vela al Terzo, a particular sailing style, which sadly is becoming less and less common in the modern era. My name is Piero Dri. We are in Venice in Cannaregio, and this is my workshop where I make oars and oarlocks for Venetian boats. I am an oar maker. Today we are four active workshops and five people. The environment here in the Venice lagoon is very, very particular and the average depth of the water is very low. Venetians must invent something to survive in this strange place now. So everything in Venice was based on rowing. I am graduated in the astronomy part of a university, and I decided to start to learn this particular work because I needed to to change and to come back to my passion- that’s rowing and wood together. If I want to live here, I have to do something in Venice and for Venice, okay, not using Venice. I love it because I can put together especially with the forcola the artistical point of view with the technical with the functional one. So I feel free and precise at the same time. This has been an incredible experience exploring Venice, a city that I thought I knew. Just goes to show that we can always learn something new, especially with local guides. I think this is one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in Europe, seeing this iconic city in a different light. Our video started off talking about Venice’s relations to sea, first as a means of protection from armies then a way of getting wealth, and finally now as a potential threat to the city’s future. But I think that equally important is our own behaviors as tourists, which is why responsible tourism is so important. The way that we interact with the city is extremely important. I encourage you to travel consciously and to treat this place as if it were your own home. And a huge shout out to Visa for helping make this video possible, but also for creating the Visa for Venice Fund, taking a step in the right direction towards sustainable tourism and thinking about preserving this place for future generations. If you enjoy this video, if you found it useful, please give it a big thumbs- up, share it with your travel buddies and use the hashtag #enjoyrespectVenezia to show your love for the city of Venice. And if you haven’t already, please subscribe to Vagabrothers for more travel videos from all around the world. As we always say: stay curious, keep exploring, and we’ll see you on the road…. maybe even in the canals. Andiamo. Ciao

Stephen Childs


  1. Wooww it's a beautiful city. I hope one day I'll go.. thank u so much #Vagabrothers for posting such kind of videos on Insta & on YouTube. U r my one of the favourite Vloggers🤗
    A big love from #Jodhpur❤️❤️

  2. Happy to see you back to Europe, guys ! Hope you'll have some time for Northern and South-Western Germany and Central Germany and Scandinavia …. and Romania !

  3. You make Venice look so amazing! I'm currently planning my first solo trip and I'm considering starting it from Venice, and your video definitely makes me want to do that

  4. Beautiful and interesting video! Venice is amazing 😍 I’d to visit it again!

  5. Great video! And a lot of good tips and advice! 🙂 I am planning to go to Venezia once in the "off" season when there is not so busy. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Yes, that's truth Venice is stunning! I remember visiting Venice some years ago..I will never forget this place. I was on a trip 10 days in Italy and Venice was on the last day, so my visit in Venice closed my trip, so I so good remember the summer, the sun and the city on the water..and many romantic photos as well 🙂 thanks for a video 🙂

  7. It's heartbreaking to see so much history and beauty be threatened by destruction. Still, very inspiring to know that there are people who are determined to thrive and not give up! Great video as always!

  8. just got back from Venice & really appreciate you boys covering the lesser-travelled areas (Torcello/Cannaregio) of VCE…very well done. Its the way people SHOULD see VCE, not via the Rialto Bridge or St. Marco Piazza. Thanks!

  9. Venice truly is spectacular. I hope the magic is never lost even through the crowds of tourists!
    I love how you told the true story!

  10. Love this video and the way you incorporated Venice’s history! Keep the great content coming!!!😍

  11. This is a really important video. Venice has always dealt with over-tourism but it is still possible to find the real venice beyond the tourist traps and hoardes

  12. Quite a good one. I enjoyed your history take on Venices history. You have to build a city up. What destinations are you doing this year?

  13. Such a perfect timing, I will be in Venice in a little less than a month 😀

  14. Venice really is like a dream. I remember my first visit, taking the vaporetto down the Grand Canal and weeping at all the glorious architecture floating by. In the following days I enjoyed getting lost in the maze of narrow streets. Thank you for another beautiful video, guys! Great work!

  15. I loved this video guys. I have been lucky enough to visit Venice twice and there is no other place like it. Thanks for bringing back great memories 🙂

  16. let me guess, you payed about a 100 bugs for 3 shrimps on your plate and if you only have a coffee somewhere you are not even allowed to use the toilett, right ?! also lets talk about the smell. dont get me wrong, you painted a great picture of venice even you had to use an english dude to sell him as italian. you could have at least called him andrea, wich is the correct name for andre in italy. for heaven sake. a little honesty would be just awesome !!!

  17. I love watching your videos. I really enjoy learning the history of the place you’re visiting. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Wow I loved the video. The way you guys captured Venice with every detail is amazing. Knew a little about Venice and I’m glad I came across this video.

  19. Color grading making the aqua color pop, is a bit on the nose, but pretty nevertheless . 👍

  20. We have been in Venice few years ago and it was a rip of… Very expencive town for a turist… Gondoliery charge €100 per 30 min ride so let them and all business owners there pay to save the town from floding as they make a lot of money from tourists.. imho…

  21. Spent a few days in Venice last year and absolutely loved it. Can't wait to go back and explore again!

  22. Love love love loved this video guys! Keep making more like this please. I really felt like I was there while watching it.

  23. You juste made me want to go back, Venice is just incredible, an unique experience, just love to get lost in this little street for from the touristic area!

  24. May I ask when you filmed this? I was surprised by the lack of crowds which I thought was all year round. Has the ban on the Cruise ships had an impact or is it the tourist charge?

  25. Can you tell me the names of the restaurants you visited ? And the neighborhood that was away from it all. Thank you.

  26. Great video! You made us want to go back to Venice sooner rather than later.

  27. I visited Venice in November 2018. The water rose and many streets were flooded. But it was the most beautiful city. I agree we need to protect these iconic cities and buildings and support the local artisans. I vote for the cruise ships to stay out of Venice. There is a documentary about Venice I saw on YouTube not too long ago. Long live Venice.

  28. I will be in Venice in a week
    I was wondering how flooding in venice has been solved
    Is it okay now?

  29. Thanks Vagabrothers for the inside on the backstory I have always wanted to know how Venice came together

  30. Really nice video! I also spent a few days of the new year in venice and fell in love with the city. I have a travel video on my channel about the northen part of italy. Peace ✌

  31. I couldn't wait to see what you guys were going to eat. You didn't disappoint. Glad you guys are back making videos again!

  32. nice video! i ve a channel of history and curiosity of Venice if u want!!!

  33. It’s a nicely shot video with some info on Venice but spent way too much time on the book shop and had nothing about getting around or how to get there

  34. This is beautiful! Venice is a jewel of the world and sad it's getting affected badly for natural and man made reasons day by day. I consider myself a lucky one to have visited this magical place. My memory of my trip is still fresh in my mind and this video makes me think of Venice again n again in a bitter sweet way…just as a human being who appreciates the wonders of this world.

  35. Andrei seems to have an australian – italian accent….I can't tell where he's from 😂

  36. I never considered getting a passport until I stumbled across your video about Quebec. Thank you for being thoughtful about what you do.

  37. Guys, your video is so beautifully shooted, interesting and relaxing at the same time) Thx God there are subtitles there, that makes understanding of your story more easier, especially for people like me whose Eng is not perfect))) THX for this amazing views of Venice!)

  38. Loved this video! It brings me back to my time in the beautiful city of Venice. Just wondering-how many languages do you speak?

  39. I’ve been around your channel for ages, but your content quality is getting better and better, seriously! Well done guys, so interesting!

  40. I used to live about 45 minutes away from Venice when I was a kid and my parents and I would go there all the time. I’ll definitely go back and see it again because it so interesting and unique.

  41. Thanks for teaching us the wonder of this city….one of my favorite in the world….subscribing right now….

  42. Beautifully done! I’ve been once, but definitely want to go back. It’s important to bring attention to the environmental issues impacting their future.

  43. You have no idea just how much I would love to live in Venezia. I have watched countless videos of this beautiful city and would be honored to help preserve and protect this wonderful place.

  44. Great video we just went and you have captured the atmosphere of Venice very well nicely done and thank you.

  45. Great video guys. You always share great historical facts but I think you really found a great balance in this one, showing us the traditional, historic and touristic (dream maker) sides. Probably the best video I've seen on Venice too.

  46. im planning on going to Italy, how many days would you say is needed to spend in venice?

  47. if you are planning to visit during late October to November…most likely to be flooding. Been to Venice twice and still in love with the city as I first saw and always having good memories. Feeling sorry for Venetian as they have to put up with tourists as the same time economy grows rapidly, creates jobs and opportunities for the people.

  48. I loved it, I loved the colours of the video, does anyone know a preset filter I could get the similar look?

  49. We have been to Venice a few times but only on our recent trip (2016) did we discover the “real” Venice. It is a quiet refuge with restaurants and all the locals milling about and enjoying life. An evening dinner and stroll are highly recommended.

  50. Y'all should really consider flying to Lithuaniaaa! It's just as GOREGOUS as everyone says! And my country! Love from Chicago ✨

  51. Coming to Venice by train after sunset, to see the full moon over Grand Canale right above your head while you exit the central station to feel your self encorporated into a timeless postcard. I wish I could feel same magic again, Venice is truly a place to admire.

  52. Hey! Love your videos and everything about your channel it’s really helped me become a more confident traveler

    I actually made a channel now where I help try to break down the fears that hold people back from studying abroad. I’m lucky that I got to go multiple times, and I want to share what I learned to make it all less intimidating.

    P.S like you guys I’m also from SD and have multicultural parents. Way to represent ✌️

  53. I live in Cannaregio, Venice. Thank you so much for showing the city in its true essence. You warmed my heart .

  54. I'm visiting Venice this March and I can't wait to get there. I honestly love the fact that you guys talked about climate change and the dangers it faces, Venice is a treasure that many don't value. Amazing video, love you guys 🥰

  55. Just to be accurate, I think San Marino, in Italy, is the oldest repubblic in history actually

  56. Grazie 🙏🏽☺️ thanks for sharing this video! Next time you stop by I’ll offer you a macchiato!
    Very appreciated the “Gladiator” style scene 😜

  57. Getting lost in Venice and finding those quiet corners is the best part of Venice. I love that city.

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