The Fascination With the Canals of Venice

 Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel

One of the most exciting attractions one can think of in the world is the canals of Venice. People think of them in romantic terms as some of the more unique curios created by man to date. But how did they come into existence, and why?

Centuries ago, Italians chose to settle on a group of islands located in a lagoon. This migration occurred around the sixth century, and the town was called Venice after the Veneti people who originally lived in the area centuries before.

Venice became a major financial and cultural center before long. As it prospered, it built its architecture upon its islands and created canals as connections. Venice has around 25 miles of canals, all connected to one central channel called the Grand Canal.

For many years, there was no way to enter Venice besides through the Adriatic Sea, which connects the Grand Canal. Nowadays, there is a railroad, and one can take a train to Venice or drive and park outside of the city.

 Photo by Luca Bravo
Photo by Luca Bravo

But to get around Venice, you either need to walk, bicycle, or take a gondola through a canal. One hundred seventy-seven channels flow through Venice, and Venice is the only major city in the world with no trucks or cars.

Venice does not allow large cruise ships because the canals cannot handle their girth. But some of the smaller boats are allowed for now, and if you are planning a trip to Venice soon, it might be worth asking a travel agent if cruises exist.

Besides the gondolas, the canals of Venice use taxis and water buses to help people get around. Indeed, one can swim in a channel, but there is a risk of pollution and waste, so it is not a good idea.

The gondolas are the most romantic way to get around. The gondoliers use those long poles to steer, as they can reach the bottom of the canal, which is usually like 15 feet deep.

But there is more to Venice than the canals. There is much culture in the city. For example, there is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, which is an art museum in the town. Doge's Palace is another.

The architecture of Venice is also worth seeing. Many of the Gothic buildings that remain date back to the 15th century. For example, the Ca' d'Oro, or "golden house," was built in 1428 and now contains a famed art gallery.

As stated earlier, one can do much walking and Venice. The walkways are incredibly narrow, so one must use caution when walking. And unfortunately, many of the buildings are graffiti laced. Still, however, it is a beautiful experience to walk through the narrow streets and admire the architecture of Venice.

But of course, when you travel to Venice, the main attractions are the canals of Venice. Perhaps due to the pandemic, I have heard that the canals are bluer now. If this is so, this may be as good a time as ever to visit the historic city of Venice.

By Jim Konerko 

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