Synopses & Reviews
"Venice, the Tourist Maze
is a popular history of the tragic, at times comic, impact of mass tourism on Venice. The outlook for Venice as a living city seems bleak, but the story is fascinating. Davis and Marvin draw on everything from Baedekers to the local papers and contemporary interviews to examine the effect of this flood of people on urban experience and the delicate fabric of the city, depicting at best an aestheticized museum city, at worst a degraded theme park. In effect, the authors argue, Venice survives as a surreal image of itself. This is a fascinating and well-written book."and#151;Carol Lansing, author of Power and Purity: Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy
"Anyone inclined to pick up this book will experience over and over in the course of reading it shivers of intellectual play. For some, half the stimulation comes with the dismantling of a worn-out legend: Venice, the Most Romantic City in the World. For others, it will come while musing on the vivid contradictions revealing that what is good for Venice in the short termand#151;revenue from tourismand#151;is killing the city in the ever nearer long term. The authors may unwittingly encourage even more tourists to go to Venice for the most post-modern of reasons: to observe tourists observing the most touristed city in the world. Venice, The Tourist Maze is engrossing, amusing, fascinating, and troubling."and#151;Sally McKee, author of Uncommon Dominion, Venetian Crete and the Myth of Ethnic Purity
"The tourist Venice is Venice," Mary McCarthy once observedand#151;a sentiment very much in line with what most of the fourteen million tourists who visit the city each year experience, but at the same time a painful reality for the 65,000 Venetians who actually live there. Venice is viewed from a new perspective in this engaging book, which offers a heady, one-city tour of tourism itself. Conducting readers from the beginnings of Venetian tourism in the late Middle Ages to its emergence as a form of mass entertainment in our time, the authors explore what happens when today's "industrial tourism" collides with an ancient and ever-more-fragile culture. Giving equal consideration to those who tour Venice and those who live there, their book affords rare insight into just what it is that the touring and the toured see, experience, and elicit from each other.
A history of Venice through the lense of tourism and it's evolving Landscape, Waterscape and finally it's Worldscape as the most visited city on the planet during the last half millennium.
A cultural critique of the world's most touristed city.
About the Author
Robert C. Davis is Professor of Italian History at Ohio State University. He is the coeditor of The Jews of Early Modern Venice (2001) and Gender and Society in Renaissance Italy (1998) and the author of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters (2003), The War of the Fists (1994), and Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal (1991). Garry R. Marvin is Reader in Social Anthropology at the University of Surrey Roehampton. His books include Bullfight (1994), Coping with Spain (1990), and, with Bob Mullan, Zoo Culture (1998).