Canalazzo (Venezia 22)

Arguably the world’s most beautiful thoroughfare, it would be wrong of me not to say something about the Grand Canal.  An inverted “S” that snakes its way between the six districts (sestiere) of the city, it is easy to think of it as a river rather than a stretch of sea water, it is both showcase and urban motorway combined.  It is so important to the life of the city, both as a tourist attraction but also as a means of moving both tourists and residents about, whether in elegant gondolas, functional vaporetti, sleek water taxis, or barge-like topa that are the equivalent of the Ford Transit.

I read a piece by an American traveller recently whose entire plans had been thrown into disruption by the closure of the Canalazzo for the annual Vogalonga, a regatta for human-powered craft that has been run for 40 years in protest at the damage caused by the wakes of powerboats to the historic structures.  In typical Italian fashion there had been no prior warning of the cancellation of vaporetti and taxi services as to publicise it would have taken too much organisation!  The writer brought her travel plans forward to avoid the disruption.  I would have put mine back and recharged the camera batteries!


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