Before beginning the scavenger hunt, I was actually slightly nervous about the activity. The idea of being out in Venice with only a couple of other people hunting for an unknown location was scary to me. The three of us combined spoke very little Italian and that makes asking locals for directions a little bit tricky. Trevor, Zian, and I were determined to try our best though.
We first got our clue while in Academia, so we took some time as a group to try and decode the riddle. I had actually been talking to someone about the “Golden house” the previous day, so my mind went right to Ca’ d’Oro after reading the riddle. After deciphering our clue, we tried to orient ourselves and find the best way to get there. Once we started going, it actually was not too bad at all. When I asked a local Venetian for directions, they were incredibly helpful and patient. They tried their best to give me the directions in English, which I greatly appreciated. Once I actually got over my fear and spoke to a local, it seemed silly of me to be nervous in the first place. The local Venetians are welcoming and kind, not scary and unapproachable. They deal with foreigners every single day, so asking one simple question about how to find a well known building is hardly taxing for them.
The whole time I was doing the scavenger hunt, I wondered what it looked like to the locals or even other tourists. It must seem so odd to see a group of three students running around the Rialto area looking for an important museum. To the locals, Ca’ d’Oro is probably not a place that they frequent or spend much time thinking about. It’s just another museum in a city filled with other attractions. The Venetian people must be so desensitized to odd behavior and crazy tourists asking them questions that they were totally un-phased when any of us asked questions. Venice is a city built for tourism and foreigners. The locals know how to interact with these foreign peoples with ease and efficiency.
Inhabitants of the island of Venice serve almost as tour guides, whether or not they intend to be. As a visitor, I don’t know much about the island other than how to get back to Piazza San Marco. Locals help teach fellow visitors like myself about the ins and outs of Venetian culture, how to get from point A to point B, and where the best places to eat are to name a few things. Whether or not they intend to, local inhabitants teach visitors so much. Most people, including myself, know very little about Venice before visiting. The locals serve as a middleman to help us learn about the gorgeous island and help us assimilate to the culture.