It’s the stones that grab the limelight.  The mosaics, the marble, the bricks, the stucco.  They all vie for your attention, but it’s wood that makes Venice.

Not just in the way-markers showing the safe routes across the lagoon, nor in the construction of its gondolas, not in the jetties or the innumerable mooring posts however jauntily some may be painted.  It’s in the piling.   The great stone palaces would have subsided into the sandy lagoon were it not for an amazing feat of engineering.  Thousands of timber piles as long as 60′ were driven into the ground, through the sand, silt, dirt and mud into a layer of hard clay, and though hundreds of years old, they continue to provide a firm foundation, and so long as they are not exposed to the air they do not rot.

No one sees them, but we owe them a great deal.

Mooring posts at a traghetto jetty
Mooring posts at a traghetto jetty

 

 

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