No Roads

Imagine living in a city that has no roads. Sure there are plenty of footpaths bridges and alleyways but the Italian City of Venice is just that, a city built on water with a network of canals.

In a lagoon located at the northeastern part of Italy, a group of 117 islands seperated by canals and linked by bridges, form the beautiful city of Venice. A city whose roads are made of water and the past is more apparent than the present.

The canals are surrounded by impressive and rich buildings called palazzi and churches built in Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance or Liberty architectural orders adjusted to fit the particularities of the Venetian ground. Building a city in these conditions was no easy task, but the Venetians prooved very resourceful in turning an originally inhospitable environment into their greater advantage. It is this unique form that makes Venice so beautiful and interesting. Wooden piles and Istrian stone have been supporting the city since the begining of its inhabitation in the 5th century and many of the city’s buildings have been standing there for over 400 years.

Think of the Infrastructure that’s needed to support a city accessed by a network of highways and roads. Think ambulance. fire, Police, transport, food, fresh water, construction, waste and all the rest, especially tourism. A cosmopolitan city, Venice attracts many artists, architects and students from all over the world. During those events and also during the summer months the city is crowded with visitors that actually overcome by far the number of the residents. In other months things can get quieter though the crowds never entirely leave Venice. The fact that there are no car sounds changes everything and Venice has this otherworldly feeling to it, very different from the bustling cities of the Italian mainland. In this city you can actually walk at your own pace and even a common walk to the supermarket can be turned into sightseeing if you just take another corner.

And at the end life, a dignified trip is made by a purpose built and fitted out boat to a loved one’s final resting place.

Mike Briggs, Venice 2017

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