If I can’t find my dream home in Venice, FL, I can go to Naples instead. Pronto, pronto!
Post updated in September 2022
Well, maybe, but let’s try to clarify the difference between both cities. Naples versus Venice or Naples equals Venice? One thing is for sure; both cities have a famous Italian name and are only 75 miles apart (not 450 miles like their Italian counterparts). Okay, that doesn’t get us any further. Are those two cities on the Gulf of Mexico comparable with each other? Let us check. Maybe we are comparing apples with oranges.
The history of both cities looks pretty much alike, but when the cities reached crossroads, they embarked in different directions. That happened somewhat after WWII. But let us start a little earlier.
History of Venice and Naples
Both cities were founded roughly at the same time. There is no exact starting point, but that probably happened somewhat in the late 1880s. Although the first railroad was built in 1911, that didn’t change anything. Venice remained a small fishing town and farming community. Therefore, it didn’t exactly smell like roses when travelers came to the city. The city dwellers didn’t notice that fishy smell. They were used to it. For them, it was the smell of prosperity, of money. Although, money shouldn’t stink that bad.
Development occurred slowly – watching the overall activity at that time was like watching the paint dry. Almost the same thing happened in Naples. Agriculture and real estate development dominated the economy in Naples for many decades, but nothing resembled a boom. At least it didn’t stink of fish – like in Venice.
Suddenly, something happened: The railroad reached Naples in 1927, but for whatever reason, that also did not have a significant impact until after the war. Oh, yes, there was a reason for that! Venice and Naples were hit hard during the Great Depression, like many other areas. Life was miserable in the early 1930s; one can hardly imagine how bad it was.
Eventually, both cities got a little help from the Army during WWII. American planes dominated the skies over Asia and Europe. Inexperienced pilots had a short expiration date. Therefore, many aircraft and pilots were needed to replace the not-so-lucky fighters.
Fortunately, Naples and Venice had small airfields, which the Air Force could use for training. Although, the young pilots did not paint the town red. They were too busy learning the skills necessary to survive the first enemy encounters. Nevertheless, they spent at least a good portion of their pay on things young men like to spend money on. All that money kept both cities afloat during those hard times.
The airports are still around today. The owners modernized them through the years, and they became Municipal airports.
A limited number of inbound/outbound planes are servicing some national airports up north, and flight schools are teaching soon-to-be pilots how to land without tearing off the aircraft’s landing gear. Once in a while, an airshow takes place, entertaining the crowd with vintage planes and air tours.
Population Venice vs. Naples
Now we are in the year 2022. The city of Venice has a population of 26,000 in 2022, and Naples has about 19,000 residents in 2022. Both towns have historic downtown areas, and both cities have airports. Both cities have a fishing pier, where you can fish for free. No license is required! You can rent equipment and buy bait directly on the pier. How wonderful. Both cities also have beautiful beaches.
Nevertheless, after the war, each city took a different route. The proximity to Miami, the Everglades, Marco Island, Sanibel, and Fort Myers attracted a lot of wealthy northerners and Europeans, while Venice catered more to the middle-class retiree community. This decision should have a significant impact over the following decades.
Naples became one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with the sixth-highest per capita income in America and the second-highest proportion of millionaires per capita in the US. Real estate is among the most expensive in the country, with houses on sale for more than $40 million. “Mamma Mia! Materialmente impossible!” That makes a difference. We will look at some Venice Real Estate numbers later, but those numbers are outrageous.
Can you guess who has bought a second, third, or fourth home in Naples? Here they are. What does Venice have in store? Yes, only (only?) Stephen King (on Casey Key). But that’s okay. One celebrity is better than none.
What else is different: Naples appears to be more “upscale,” and Venice more “laid back.” Naples’ shops are more sophisticated and carry more expensive items. Venice is more “laid back,” offering more “regular” stuff. Naples has exciting nightlife; in Venice, they roll up the sidewalks at 10 pm. Naples has upscale restaurants, and Venice has restaurants, too. However, here comes the whopper: the same amount of money that gets you a small single-family home in Venice buys you probably a nice one-car garage in Naples.
Real Estate Values in Venice versus Naples:
Naples’s home values went up a whopping 46% in 2022 over 2021, and the medium value is now approximately $645,000. In comparison, the median house value in Venice is $494,000, up 38% from 2021 to 2022. Naples may be an ideal location for home buyers who have the means and more money to play with. Naples – also called” The crown jewel of Southwest Florida “- is nestled on the more than 10 miles long sun-drenched beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Naples is known for world-class shopping, fine and casual dining, and abundant, challenging championship golf courses. It is also only steps away from island seclusion or the untamed tropical wilderness of The Everglades National Park, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Picayune Strand State Forest.