Venice: Gondolas and Dogs

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

Venice Dogs

We all have an idea of Venice: images of honeymoons, gondola rides, and countless museums. And when I visited Venice, most people were looking for that, and specifically looking up at monuments, churches, and towers.

Yet something caught my attention. Looking past the crowds of tourists, I noticed local Venetians walking around with the most well behaved dogs you’ve ever seen and they were all unleashed. Some dogs were dutifully waiting for their owners outside stores and others would play in the many public squares, while a few dogs would simply follow along through the city’s narrow walkways.

What a difference from my own experiences back home. It took me awhile to understand what this meant, or how it came to be until it dawned on me.

There are no cars, motorcycles, or even bicycles allowed in Venice. That’s when I understood the magic of Venice as a living city without noise–the largest city without cars in the world. The lack of cars really affects the ambient sound of the city. You can hear the water. I’ve come to believe that it fosters a unique sense of community as well.

And seeing Venice as a place many people call home rather than as a living museum was a great insight for me. Not that life there is easy. Living quarters are small, there are frequent floods, but inevitably this brings people together. I felt that while Venetians may seem rude to outsiders, they’re impeccably polite and warm towards one another.

Instead of highways that divide and malls that make us think of things instead of people, Venetians have narrow walkways where they have to face each other, and beautiful canals which are not easy to navigate–no satellite radio or cruise control to take your mind off your city.

And so looking at beautifully behaved dogs led me to see a vibrant community of people sharing a beautiful life in a small, ancient city by the water.

Sonia Gil hosts a weekly original web travel series called Sonia’s Travels with episodes shot in Mexico, Italy, Berlin and Paris. Each trip turns into a series of shows in which Sonia offers a small idea or tip about a place and the people who live there. New Episodes Premiere Every Thursday at 12 noon (9:00 am Pacific).

Comment on this story:

What all the girls are saying:

  1. Lindsay says:

    I love this post! The video is great :) I adore dogs and you’ve captured this cool, quirky Venice characteristic so well. Thanks!

  2. Sonia Gil says:

    Thanks for the feature :)

  3. Thomas Jan says:

    This reminds me so much of when I was in venice, its so cool that you always get to know the locals, HOW MANY LANGUAGES DO YOU SPEAK?!?!?!?!??

  4. Camilla Hudson says:

    How adorable!! I am a dog breeder and i take my dogs to shows throughout the country. These dogs are well behaved indeed! And as you said, there are so many things to see in Venice it is something that one wouldn’t notice the puppies if you dont pay close attention. Cool vid!

  5. Dian Emery says:

    Thanks Camilla for visiting the website. I agree, the dogs are very well behaved, I need to show this video to my dogs, maybe they’ll pick up some tips!

  6. Elizabeth Kellog says:

    These dogs are so cute!! I wish my dog would listen to me. I have tried everything, he still doesn’t use the wee wee pad. She’s a chihuahua. Nevertheless, I adore her. I might take her to Venice, she has much to learn from these dogs!

  7. Rebecca Federal says:

    I want to take my dog to Italy to see if some of this good behavior rubs on. I have a Jack Russell Terrier and although I adore him, he just doesn’t do what I tell him.

  8. Indiana Rose says:

    As i watched the video i was wondering how hard it would be to take my dog with me when i visit italy.. does anyone know if its a real hassle to travel? And like it looks as such a pet friendly place i dont thing that once im there i will have trouble taking care of him.