The coronavirus has the world at a standstill. Since news broke of the virus in January, much of the world has gone into social distancing and self-isolation to keep the virus from spreading. And, because of this slower flow of tourism, we are getting a glimpse of what popular destinations look like without the crowds. Including one of Italy's biggest tourism hubs: Venice.
Just last March, after seeing an estimated 25 million visitors each year, the romantic canal destination became the first Italian city to charge visitors an entrance fee. But tourism has come to a near complete pause as Italy has been one of the hardest-hit destinations around the world in the wake of Coronavirus. Without tourists, locals are getting a glimpse of what the city would look like without foot traffic.
While the whole country has been on lockdown and boat tours and cruises have been put on pause, Venice locals have seen the impact of that slower tourism has had on their canals. They've reported seeing small fish visibly swimming around and gliding swans returning to the Venetian canals, as well as clear waters.
Locals have been sharing the photos and videos across Facebook and Twitter via a group called Venezia Pulita meaning "Clean Venice". One user named Aber Exn shared photos of Rio di San Luca canal on Monday, commenting "you can see the bottom. Never seen anything like it."
But while it may look pretty, the Venice mayor's office told CNN that the change is not actually due to improved water quality.
"The water now looks clearer because there is less traffic on the canals, allowing the sediment to stay at the bottom," a spokesman said. "It's because there is less boat traffic that usually brings sediment to the top of the water's surface."
The spokesman did confirm, however, that Venice's air quality in the area has improved over the past few weeks.