A trip to Venice is associated with romance. Being driven along the canals in a gondola, the gondolier singing softly, the sun setting…. are there any women who don’t dream of it?
I, too, was naturally curious about the waterways of Venice and had built up my image from the various TV films. But did that correspond to reality?
In the lagoon city of Venice, the countless canals form the actual street system. The most famous canal is the Grand Canal. Over 40 small canals flow into it. It is said that there are over 175 canals in the old town. The water level in the canals depends on the tides of the sea. Side canals have an effective depth of 120 cm. The constant supply of sediment caused the waterways of Venice to silt up, which could only be prevented by good canal maintenance. Today, more sediment is removed rather than deposited, but canal maintenance must still be carried out in order to be able to guarantee shipping traffic even at low water.
There are no roads on which cars can drive in Venice. Traditionally, everything here is done by boat. There are some filled-in waterways in Venice that are now used as footpaths. The islands on which Venice is situated are connected by bridges.
On our strolls through the city, we were able to gather many impressions of the canal system. From the many bridges to the city’s transport system, the waterways of Venice fascinated me.
A hospital ship sails towards the hospital with a loud siren. Or the police are racing across the water to the scene of an operation.
You find boats on which traders offer their wares. Even the rubbish is collected on large barges and transported out of the city.
The inhabitants of Venice have built their houses in such a way that they can also enter from the water. If you look a little closer, you will discover restaurants with entrances to the canal or water garages for your own boat. Traffic on the canals is even regulated by traffic lights in some places. I had not expected that at all. And it can happen that you are walking along a footpath and suddenly find yourself in front of a canal. Then you have to run back and look for a bridge.
So what about the romance factor? Admittedly, some hidden canals are very romantic. There is not much tourist traffic here and the water lies quietly and beautifully between the houses. Here a cosy bench, a glass of wine and you have some romance.
But the areas teeming with tourists during the day are noisy and crowded. The gondolas push their way through some canals – sometimes with a little traffic jam. So the romance falls by the wayside.
But if you also spend the nights in Venice, as we did, you should go out into the streets and onto the bridges towards evening. Now the city belongs to the few locals again and you can find beautiful and romantic places.