Surprisingly sexy destinations in Europe ... Venice in danger of vanishing?
Fun item at cnn.com/travel this morning on five "surprisingly raunchy destinations" in Europe. It seems a gent by the name of Tony Perrottet has written a book about European travel and sex, calling it "The Sinner's Grand Tour: A Journey Through the Historical Underbelly of Europe."
It's a great concept. We don't want to admit it, but obviously sex has a lot to do with travel. I mean, those British guys who set out to see Istanbul and Paris on Grand Tour's weren't simply interested in old buildings, right?
"They're very intertwined, sex and travel," Perrottet told CNN. "You didn't just want to go to Rome to see the Colosseum. You didn't go to Paris just to have a look at the Eiffel Tower or the Seine. There was a sense of sexual liberation in these places."
(We here at Star Travel did our own Grand Tour of world destinations last fall, but somehow missed the sexual stuff. Oh, well.)
The CNN item lists five places that are surprisingly raunchy. The one big surprise to me was the Vatican. Until a few minutes ago, I had no idea there was a bathroom in the papal apartments called Stufetta del Bibbiena that featured erotic (not pornographic) paintings by Raphael. There are some two dozen images painted in 1516 that feature the goddess Venus in various poses with Cupid.
Also on the cnn list: a small village in the French Pyrenees called Montaillou, where there apparently were all sorts of sexual shenanigans played out in the Dark Ages; Paris (naturally) from the Belle Epoque era, including a chair for highly overweight royal family members that allowed them to more comfortably engage in sex; Casanova's Venice, and Lacoste, France - one-time home to the Marquis de Sade. I don't know if the book as a whole has so much on France, but it's interesting that three of the five places mentioned in the CNN story are in France.
VENICE IN TROUBLE?
USA Today is reporting that Venice is "under siege" by tourists and faces "irreversible" catastrophe if limits aren't imposed on visitor numbers. They cite a report issued July 4 by Italy's "leading heritage group," Italia Nostra (Our Italy).
A report from Reuters says the Italian government (perhaps too absorbed with sex scandals?) has been "underestimating the devastating effects of past and future development projects and tourism policy" and that UNESCO will be asked to put the city on its endangered list and consider pulling it from its list of World Heritage sites.
Some 60,000 tourists a day pour into Venice. I went for part of a day in 1979 and haven't been back. I guess I should go some time, but the day I went I was tired and without much cash and didn't think as much of the place as I had expected.
Either way, the new reports about the city's future are worth watching.