Liquid paths from door to door, that is Venice. Before entering the floating city, I thought I knew what to expect. My mind had sorely underestimated the difference between waterways and roadways. Beautiful old doors had steps leading down into the canal, green with moss and crusty with barnacles. Repairs to buildings were done by boat, floating the required machines and people. Trash pick-up was interesting to watch; all trash is put out between certain morning hours, and the trash service people walk through the narrow streets, collecting trash and depositing it into large metal bins with handles (like a basket with a handle made for a giant’s picnic). Not far behind came the boats with an hydraulic arm which would grab the handle, lift the bin, swing it over the belly of the boat, and dump the contents therein, then neatly replace the emptied receptacle.
People could walk along the canal and through the maze of narrow walkways and
never encounter a vehicle of any type. I think I saw a bicycle once, but most travel is by foot or boat, cars simply are not allowed. Ambulances, delivery vessels, pleasure boats, citizen and tourist-laden vessels, they all travel the canals with grace and speed, giving a beep here and there to communicate around corners. People who are wheelchair bound have it hard in this town, as there is no way to reconfigure the alleys or bridges to accommodate them. Usually they are sequestered to just a section of the city for their entire life. It doesn’t seem to be considered an issue here, though. Only tourists take offense, the locals know this is just how it is.
The city is much cleaner than one may have been told, but perhaps that is something that has been improved over time. The aroma is not an issue either, unless one prefers the antiseptic smell of hospitals. Dogs are plentiful, but well behaved and picked up after. Streets are cleaned daily of the trash left by tourists. Shops are clean and
the vendors selling food make it all quite enticing and difficult to pass by. As it was in the rest of the Italy I witnessed, everything is fodder for artistic beauty. The arrangement of food or products in windows, the graffiti, even the crumbling stucco on buildings (which is set off by the arrangement of flower pots). Yes, this last stop in Italy was as beautiful as the first, though in a very uniquely different way. The Portrait of Italy formed in my mind is a grand one which has made a deep and positive impression and will not soon be forgotten.