The Third Leader: Water torture

Share

Venice, we reveal today, is among Italian cities considering an entry charge to deter yet more visitors and defray cleaning up after the undeterred. Some will lament this restriction on access to beauty and knowledge, but I refuse to get too worked up about it, and not just because I've already been.

In my view, pace Polo, most doges, Byron, Wordsworth, Ruskin, William Morris, Jan Morris, and probably many other Morrises as well, it's possible to get too excited about Venice. Beauty, melancholy, liquid, lapidary, La Serenissima, The Paradise of Cities; but, perhaps, also, a bit full of itself as well as water. They have, for example, just asked the gondoliers to stop singing "O Sole Mio" because it's a Neapolitan song.

It will be no ice creams next. So, given other prevalent present factors, should we not be considering more earthbound pleasures? Birmingham, as is well known, has more canals than Venice; it also has the National Sea Life Centre by the side of one, featuring undersea voyages, sharks, stingrays and playful otters.

Art? Well, I once followed Rupert Murdoch round the Accademia in Venice, and, frankly, he didn't look that impressed. He should try some of Birmingham's galleries: the Barber Institute, say, has, among many other masters, Rembrandt, Poussin, Turner, Monet and Picasso. As for the Biennale, try Liverpool's next month, pal.

More canals? Britain's canals are now busier than they were during the Industrial Revolution, transporting tourists with delight and delights. Time for less cultural cringing, more celebration of home attractions. Did you know that Blackpool has more holiday beds than the whole of Portugal? And you can sing what you like.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Ed Miliband on low pay; Alan Johnson on Betjeman; Tom Freeman on editing

John Rentoul
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments