How to Know You’re In a Venetian Tourist Trap: A Comprehensive Quiz

One of the toughest things to do in Venice, besides not get lost, is to avoid the constant barrage of tourists.  Luckily, having spent nearly a fortnight in this civil engineering nightmare, I know a thing or two about the city, and I’m a borderline savant when it comes to recognizing tourists. 

So, to begin tapping into the depths of my tourism knowledge, answer these ten questions from exactly where you stand at the moment with “Si” [Yes] or “No” [No], and then tally up the number of “Si”s you used.  If you’re standing in the middle of the street, move to the side before performing this exercise–you’re pissing off enough people already.  Those loud guys you hear? They’re making fun of you in Italian–move along before they insult your mother.  Scoring will be explained at the bottom.  Good luck.

1. Do you see pigeons? Like, lots of pigeons? Ungodly amounts of them?

2. Do you see hordes of Asians, a surplus of pasty white legs, or anyone weighing over 300 lbs?

3. Is a band playing nearby that features an accordion?

4. Are there men (who are, to be honest, typically darker than the average Caucasian) selling bags right on the street in front of you for prices so cheap you can hardly believe it, while simultaneously vigilantly watching out for policemen and preparing to sprint away from their post at any second?

5. Do people offer to perform “magic tricks” for you that consist of them throwing goo on a plate on the ground and the goo then becoming a slightly more specifically-shaped blob?  If you don’t accept their offer, do they perform this “magic” anyway?

6. Are people taking a picture on a bridge? Did you have to stop to allow them to do this? Did you then subsequently get yelled at for blocking someone else’s picture?

(Mark “Si” if only all 3 are the case)

7. Are there gondoliers eyeing the crowd with gazes that are simultaneously cold and lustful?  Gazes that normally only exist in the wild, like a pack of cheetahs who just spotted an injured gazelle?

8. (Night only) Are people of questionable backgrounds shining green laser pointers in and around your face, or flying little helicopters with blue lights and trying to land them on your head, thus–in theory–compelling you to buy them?

9. Do you currently hear “Call Me Maybe” or an Eminem song from 2004?

10. Can you see a Hard Rock Cafe, Foot Locker, or McDonald’s?


0-3 “Si”s — Congrats, you actually found a place in Venice to get away from it all.  The real question is, can you find your way back?

4-6 “Si”s — Proceed with caution–don’t make any purchases greater than a gelato or two.  If you must, you can buy a mask, but just know that you look stupid in it anyway.

7-10 “Si”s — C’mon, man.  You’re better than that.  Snap some pictures and get out of there while you still have something in your wallet.  Although, if you’re interested, I do have this beautiful, authentic Murano glass that can be yours for a measly 100 Euro…totally legitimate…sure, I’ll accept cash…


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