Abstract

Venice bears the distinction of being the most touristed city in the world. Way finding in Venice is a substantial challenge to those unfamiliar with the city. Interviews of tourists to Venice indicate that all but two became lost at least once during their visit. Interviewees reported that they were never scared or frightened. Indeed, most indicated that getting lost was “part of the fun.” We argue that research by Urry, Graburn and Esposito are useful in understanding how a normally frightening experience, getting lost in an unfamiliar place, can be understood as enjoyable when on vacation.

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The Importance of Liminality and Communitas or Getting Lost in Venice

Venice bears the distinction of being the most touristed city in the world. Way finding in Venice is a substantial challenge to those unfamiliar with the city. Interviews of tourists to Venice indicate that all but two became lost at least once during their visit. Interviewees reported that they were never scared or frightened. Indeed, most indicated that getting lost was “part of the fun.” We argue that research by Urry, Graburn and Esposito are useful in understanding how a normally frightening experience, getting lost in an unfamiliar place, can be understood as enjoyable when on vacation.