Thursday, March 29, 2012

Virtual Venice

My RL summer travel plans include a trip to Venice, so I thought I'd check out its SL counterpart in preparation for the real thing. 
The tiled roofs and golden colouring of the buildings is quite faithful to the original, and it was a pleasure to stroll around the narrow streets, peeking into shops and admiring the hidden plazas. I felt pretty shabby in my jeans and running shoes, so I ducked into a corner of shop to change. It felt more glamorous, more James Bond-ish, to be strolling the Venetian streets in a handsome suit.

The famous Rialto Bridge dominates the main open area, spanning the Grand Canal and connecting the districts of San Palo and San Marco. On one side of it, a row of gondolas lie in wait for visitors' use. While I was there, a French-speaking family arrived to take a trip in one.

I expected that a member of the party would have to row the craft but then noticed a board near where they were docked that allowed travellers to summon a staff member to serve as a gondolier. In RL, the profession of gondolier is strictly regulated and requires broad knowledge of Venetian history and landmarks, in addition to the skill required to the handle the vessel. I'm not sure if there's a uniform requirement, but if there is, SL Venice seems not to have adopted it.
 I spent some time lingering by the docks, watching the visitors come and go. The French family, rowed by their diminutive gondolier, toured the city and returned to the starting point. A self-proclaimed "SL & RL" master, clad in black leather from head to toe, passed through, as did a lady in an evening gown, who dashed about with her long skirts swirling, looking every bit like Cinderella racing to get home before her coach turned back into a pumpkin. I had a bit of a laugh as I looked forward to my RL trip, imagining myself strolling along the canal people-watching in the same way but without the ability to right-click and view a helpful profile.
Even if you don't have plans to visit the original, stop by Venice in SL. Wear a suit. Take your sweetheart. If you're adventurous, summon a gondolier - just don't expect him to be wearing a striped shirt. Or to be a him.

Find Venice in SL. 

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite cities I've visited- there are definitely lots of things to explore.
    We should discuss this, so you have an interesting time there!