Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Deft in Venice

Venice isn't messing around about this no-car thing. There seriously aren't any anywhere.

Of course, we all know about the gondolas, but as elegant as they are, they're not a terribly practical form of transportation.   The harbor and canals of Venice are actually full of all sorts of aquatic traffic, ranging from zippy water taxis and utilitarian vaporettos (sea buses) to giant car ferries and cruise ships.

More surprising and impressive, however, were the myriad ways the city had evolved in order to function behind the scenes -- all involving boats, of course.

Your police, fire and ambulance services -- all boats.

Delivery trucks are just as necessary in Venice as anywhere else...

... and they have to share some pretty tight spaces.

Everything heavy must move by boat. 

Including a lot of bottled water, every day.

And everything that comes in, must be packed out.  This ingenious barge lifts handcarts full of garbage and recycling and drops them into the hold.

Much has been said about how Venice is no longer a living city, how tourists far outnumber actual residents, etc.   There's some truth to the charge, yet it misses a lot.  Even if the city has been kept afloat by and for tourists for the past 200 years, it still needs to function.  Lots of work must still be done, much of it greatly complicated by the lack of terra firma.

Venice has had to solve problems that no other city has really had to face -- at least not yet.

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