Hi Andy! The Buildings in Venice are abandoned due to a rising water and frequent flooding to many parts of the city. In an other words - the city is "sinking" and that's why you do not see people living at the ground floor. It has been an architectural nightmare and an attraction for architects and preservationist from all over the world and maybe that why the Chinese architect student took so many pictures - the city is considered a modern Atlantis ! Another reason - practical and present one, is - there are no supermarkets since the trucks can't deliver the food and goods. Everything is loaded and unloaded by hand to the small boats and this way everything gets very expensive.Even tourists (and beggars or Bangladeshi vendors) do not stay overnight in the city of Venice. Did you notice how quiet and safe gets there at night? They stay on the mainland in the city of Mestre, so do the residents and the night life ( and the pick pockets). I think at this point Venice is Italy's " Disneyland" and in the future time (or present) one may as well go to Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and get a gondola ride for $ 16 per person. Just kidding here (even the price is correct) - nothing beets the romance, humidity, the smell and dirt of the water in Venice in the middle of the summer (105 F). Oh ! - and you missed those hundreds of busloads of tourists and traffic out and in to Mestre in the high season ! One can seriously compare it to the rush hour to a New York City from New Jersey! 1 hour in 1 hour out. You are a one SMART LONE WOLF to go there at this time of the year and stay in the hostel in the city.Next time I will do what you did. Thank you
Cheers, happy and healthy travel
I enjoyed living on the island, and not in Mestre. Whenever I am in Europe, or any large tourist are there is a group mentality that somehow want everyone to agree, the group is excited, the group moves diligently about, the group is working to create excitement, and in many ways the group is more exciting than the actual destination. Often chaos is what people want out of life, the more chaotic, the more they masses enjoy the destinations. Tourism is like going to large city, very hard to introspect when you are in tons of traffic, never a dull moment.
By the way, the Hotel Continental that was across the water towards the end of this clip is selling selling single rooms at over US$250 a night on a traveler consolidator website. Includes breakfast though...