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Venice, how does it work?
April 4, 2011 9:13 AM   Subscribe

How does Venice work? Short Vimeo documentary on the practicalities of Venice's architecture and civil engineering. More at Venice Backstage.
posted by fearfulsymmetry (25 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite

 
National Geographic: Venice Versus the Sea, and corresponding article.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:24 AM on April 4, 2011


Dammit, not available for download. *bookmarks to watch later*
posted by immlass at 9:38 AM on April 4, 2011


also worth checking out is Venice-based International Center for Cities on Water
posted by parmanparman at 9:40 AM on April 4, 2011


I really do hope to make it to Venice for a real honeymoon one of these days. But plane travel is so fucking expensive, and vacation time is stupid short here, and I need to visit family in China first, and it's hard to get people to take care of the dogs, and and and... *sigh*
posted by kmz at 9:46 AM on April 4, 2011


A real problem: Venice has become too expensive for Venitians to live in. Many who own apartments now rent to tourists...and move out elsewhere because the place has been flooded with visitors and this has driven prices up.
posted by Postroad at 9:57 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


STREETS FULL OF WATER, PLEASE ADVISE
-- Robert Benchley, telegram from Venice
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:58 AM on April 4, 2011


STREETS FULL OF WATER, PLEASE ADVISE
-- Robert Benchley, telegram from Venice


Robert's grandson Peter would then write the book that was adapted into a movie that inspired a genre that eventually produced Sharks in Venice.

And the circle was complete.
posted by kmz at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


A real problem: Venice has become too expensive for Venitians to live in.

And yet the Venitians seem completely blinded to the situation.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 10:04 AM on April 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'm waiting for the Insane Clown Posse to record a song explaining this.
posted by GuyZero at 10:06 AM on April 4, 2011


"So what was Venice like?"

"It was like ....um...I felt like at any moment I may have to deal with a serious kobold infestation."
posted by The Whelk at 10:25 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you can get past the irritating over-elaborate enunciation of the narrator, the film is really brilliant.

Many who own apartments now rent to tourists...and move out elsewhere because the place has been flooded with visitors and this has driven prices up.

Absolutely correct, Postroad. OTOH, Venice has been a magnet for visitors for so long, complaints about how the place has been "ruined" by tourists are a legitimate part of its history!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:34 AM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I did not know that Peter Benchley was Robert Benchley's grandson. Cool.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:39 AM on April 4, 2011


I'm a little afraid to visit Venice after logging many, many hours of Assassin's Creed II.

I just know I'm going to try to parkour over the first canal I see and wind up smacking my head on some Renaissance sculpture, then falling into and sinking a gondola.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:44 AM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Venice: the Main Steet USA of Europe.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:13 AM on April 4, 2011


the irritating over-elaborate enunciation of the narrator

Received Pronunciation. (Surprisingly, the narrator is not credited, so I don't know if they used a UK-based professional, a British expat in Venice, or an Oxbridge-educated Italian....)

As to the video, I did learn a couple of things, such as the bit about the bearing walls being inside -- the opposite of most construction in the West. It does explain why there are so few collapses like the one fancifully depicted in Casino Royale. I'm happy to learn that Venice is not as fragile as I thought.

The best Venice movie, by the way, is Don't Look Now. Unlike almost every other movie filmed there, it photographs the place through the eyes of people who (in story) actually live in Venice. I think there's one brief shot of St. Mark's Square. It also depicts the somewhat miserable weather of the off-season and a distinct lack of tourists (which may, again, be the locations). Even the frothy Italian romance Bread and Tulips couldn't avoid many clichés filming there.
posted by dhartung at 11:42 AM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're stuck on and airplane and the in-flight system has "The Tourist", don't watch it unless you want to see Venice obliterated. Nothing happens to Venice in the film, but still.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:56 AM on April 4, 2011


Out of all the places in Italy I spent time at, Venice would be the least desirable to return to with the exception of Beurano (spelling?). The beautiful mutlicolored homes, zero tourists besides our small group, and a village on the sea full of fishermen and women knitting lace was easily the only redeeming quality.
as said up thread, Venice is too touristy and its the only place I visited besides Rome where everyone lived outside the city.
/venice where people live is very dull and sits next to an industrial shipping yard, not excatly what people think of what Venice actually is.
posted by handbanana at 12:20 PM on April 4, 2011


Great! Thanks for this.
posted by vacapinta at 12:32 PM on April 4, 2011


Oh, that's cool. I was just in Venice for my first time, over the weekend. Got to see the backside of the place when we hopped a waterbus that didn't go the way expected.
posted by Goofyy at 1:11 PM on April 4, 2011


Venice is only touristy in a tiny area. Go somewhere else, and it is still magical. It took me several visits and a longer stay for work to figure that out, though...
posted by mumimor at 1:16 PM on April 4, 2011


Thanks, I love this! I was lucky enough to visit Venice through a summer program with my architecture school. The program was originally organized by one of the people who owed the Villa Rotunda, and one of our "tour guides" was an Italian architecture professor who lived in Venice and also happened to be a count. We stayed away from tourist areas as much as possible (it is only so possible, but much more than you'd expect). Everything about the place fascinates me and I would love to find some way of living there for a while someday.

I was there a second time a year or two ago and in St Mark's Square they had an art exhibit up with quotes from literature about tourists in Venice that was very amusing.
posted by sepviva at 3:20 PM on April 4, 2011


Venice and tourism are intertwined. The last real Venice ceased to exist, arguably in 1797:

Venice became the continent's brothel, but also, thanks to its limited scale and unique waterways, Europe's first theme park. By the time the collapse of the Serenissima Repubblica came in 1797, Venice was already well on its way to living off tourism alone. As such, we might say, it was perhaps the first postmodern city, selling no product other than itself and its multiple images to the tens or even hundreds of thousands of free-spending foreigners who came there annually.
- Venice, the Tourist Maze

That was Venice, alluring and dubiously entrancing—this city, part fairy tale, part tourist trap, in the putrid atmosphere of which art used to blossom luxuriously and
which had inspired musicians with lulling melodies. The adventurer felt as if his
eyes were drinking that kind of luxury, as if his ears were courted by those kinds
of melodies; he also recalled that the city was ailing and kept it secret because of
its lucre, and he gazed even more unrestrainedly at the gondola in front.

- Death in Venice, Thomas Mann, 1912

If you're looking for quaint Italians doing their thing or for great Italian food, there are plenty of places like that in Italy. Not Venice. Venice is a city almost defined by its tourism, where tourism is part of its very history.
posted by vacapinta at 3:50 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah jokes about Venice being a tourist haven go back to Jane Austen books, when your hey day was the 1330s it's a long, slow transformation.

It's the city the only place I've been where I had to recite the zelda-like turns (left left up left right) and kept half expecting to have to get a decent shield and maybe some flying boots.
posted by The Whelk at 6:46 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The best Venice movie, by the way, is Don't Look Now.

I can't favorite this enough: Drop what you are doing and go watch it now if you haven't already.
posted by Dr Dracator at 6:09 AM on April 5, 2011


Venice is definitely magical and the Biennale is not to be missed, but my abiding memory of Venice is the sound of suitcases on wheels trundling outside our flat window at all hours of the day.
posted by bonaldi at 9:15 AM on April 5, 2011


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