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does venice smell in the summer?

1 post
1 review
6 helpful votes
does venice smell in the summer?

I would like to go to venice in two weeks time, as I hear it is beautiful.

However, mid July is slap bang in the middle of summer, and I've heard that Venice smells in the summer.

Is this true? Please let me know so I can decide one way or another!



Level Contributor
6,347 posts
74 reviews
81 helpful votes
1. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

no, it does not.

United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Venice
Level Contributor
53,487 posts
88 reviews
83 helpful votes
2. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

It is not an ideal time to go to Venice it is very hot and humid, but certainly not smelly, the Canals are tidal salt water, so there would be not be more of a smell than you would get at any seaside resort.

Chorley, United...
Level Contributor
20,517 posts
120 reviews
258 helpful votes
3. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

The story that Venice smells has been going around as long as I can remember. I have been many times, every year since 1983 to be precise and it smells just like the seaside at Blackpool or Brighton, which is not surprising considering it is in a salt-water lagoon.

There is also another false story doing the rounds that the canals are open sewers. Not true, Venice has a sound sewer system which does not open into the canals.

IN mid July and on through August the weather may well be warm, perhaps very warm and possibly humid. But not impossibly so, it is, after all, the Adriatic, not the Indian Ocean. If it is hot I find it an excellent excuse for another gelato or to stop at a cafe or a bar for another prosecco, spritz or beer.

1 post
1 review
2 helpful votes
4. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

I have been visiting Venice 5 or 6 times a year, in all seasons, for the last 27 years. There is very little smell, except in a few locations, and in the hottest weather.

Much of the problem was solved about ten years ago, when the many of the canals were drained and cleaned (something that historically was ten every ten years or so, but had not been done in a number of decades).

An earlier poster is wrong, though, that Venice has a "sound sewer system." Some buildings have septic tanks, all below water level and most leaky, but the vast majority of the sewage is dumped into the canals. The lagoon is "flushed" twice a day when the tides change.

This is a grave concern because of the potential problems when the MOSE project is installed, which will sometimes block the access to the sea, preventing the lagoon from flushing. See the articles below for water info:


Chorley, United...
Level Contributor
20,517 posts
120 reviews
258 helpful votes
5. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

I do not think the San Diego University website referred to by the previous poster is likely to be an especially good source of information on Venice, several thousand miles away.

If, as it is suggested, all the raw sewage in Venice goes straight into the canals untreated then with so many Hotels and so many visitors the stench would be unbearable and all the sea food being cultured in the lagoon would be inedible.

There is no stench and the seafood is very tasty.

Saint Marys, Ohio
Level Contributor
10,366 posts
45 reviews
50 helpful votes
6. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

No, Venice does not smell, it has no nose. HAHA

As Mr. Webster said, "I don't smell, my nose does. However, I do stink."

Relax and enjoy Venice, you'll love it. It does not stink any more than any other city by the sea.

Destination Expert
for Venice
Level Contributor
11,131 posts
49 reviews
51 helpful votes
7. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

Like any water if it is blocked in it becomes stagnant and smells- So smelly areas are usually when canals are being drained for repair to the fondamenta ( sides) and the silt and mud are exposed . So when we get high and low tides then when they are low and the silt is exposed then it smells.

As regards the sewer system some places are sealed and others are not - easily spotted when somebody puts too much washing powder in the machine and you can see the bubbles in the canals. Many places ( newer ) have septic tanks and when you see the boats with huge barrels generally yellow and red and there are huge tubes over the streets then you will see that it is a place with a septic tank and Oh boy it smells.. So that I hope answers your questions !!

Silver Spring...
Level Contributor
10,740 posts
8. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

I was thinking the same thing, jerryott.

Plymouth, United...
Level Contributor
335 posts
13 reviews
23 helpful votes
9. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

The beliefs about smells and their causes are not confined to tourists. A waiter in Venice once explained to us that in his home town of Trieste. Venetians were called 'cagga in agua' or 's--t in the water'. He added "they do, you know"

Blue Anchor, United...
Level Contributor
198 posts
69 reviews
114 helpful votes
10. Re: does venice smell in the summer?

Not as much as Leicester (if) when it gets hot.

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