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Wood and Water: The Working Boats of Venice August 3, 2014

Posted by The Typist in Toulouse Street.
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While everyone else went camera-mad for gondolas, I found myself drawn to the working boats of Venice. To live in a city of canals and narrow streets interrupted by bridges of steps, everything travels by water and courier, men hustling push carts full of the goods a city requires. Look at the bottom of any photo of Venice along the canals and there at the bottom, you will find boats. Here is a picture meant to be of the Doge’s Palace, the domes of the Basilaci di San Marco and the towers of the building that house the museum of Venice, there are boats: a Vaporetto, the ubiquitous mass transit on the left, a yellow tour boat pulling into S. Marco, a water taxi rushing up the middle of the Grand Canal, and one of the polished wooden runabouts of those who can afford 12 Euro to drink a Campari and soda at Harry’s Bar.

Doge's Palace (& Boats)

I was drawn less to the gleaming wood or the bright fiberglass of those who could afford them. Rather, it was the working wood boats that nestled up alongside the quays of the smaller canals that caught my interest. Frequently painted in the bright, Mediterranean colors seen throughout the archipelago city, they serve both as family car and truck do in cities where the streets are of pavement and not water.








In this series, I watched a working man loading his boat for the day ahead while sitting in the cafe just down from our hotel.





Any picture of a side canal will be filled with moored boats. The first two are the views up and down Rio Marin, the canal outside our hotel. The others are miscellaneous shots filled with boats. I wasn’t keeping a photo journal so I can’t give the other locations, except to place the last on the island of Burano.





One nod to the gondola: the boat yard at Squero di San Travaso:




1. cecile torbergsen - August 3, 2014

Grazi (?) – These Venice work boat photos are so evocative!

Cecile Torbergsen


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