How Venice Works: 124 Islands, 183 Canals & 438 Bridges

3,000,000 tourists move through Venice each year. But when the tourists leave the city, 60,000 year-round residents stay behind, continuing their daily lives, which requires navigating an archipelago made up of 124 islands, 183 canals and 438 bridges. How this complicated city works – how the buildings are defended from water, how the buildings stand on unsteady ground, how the Venetians navigate this maze of a city – is a pretty fascinating story. These techniques have been worked out over Venice’s 1500 year history, and now they’re explored in a captivating 17 minute video produced by a Venetian government agency. You can learn more about the inner life of this great city at Venice Backstage.

via Metafilter

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Comments (6)
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  • Misciel says:

    Actually, the native population in the historic island center of Venice is only about 60,000 today (when you don’t count the modern settlement of Mestre on the mainland but still within the official city limits), down almost 100,000 from the middle of the twentieth century! As you might get the impression from this sumptuous video, island Venice is a beautiful city but not an easy one to live in…

  • Open Culture says:

    Hi Misciel,

    Thanks for the correction. Wikipedia listed the population as 270,000 but I guess that is for the greater metro area and not strictly the city itself. I corrected the figure.

    Many thanks,

  • Trev says:

    Crap! I can’t stop watching this.

    Thanks, Dan. I don’t know what I would do without your site.

  • Allison G. says:

    Awesome video- thanks for posting it! I have never been to Venice, but I am dying to go– especially after watching this!

  • rami said says:

    this is very good video and i will be there to see soon

  • Torogata says:

    In ancient times people from the mainland dumped their trash in the shallow lagoon. When barbarians, Arabs, etc invaded from the land side the natives took refuge in the dump. Then they figured out it was easier to just build homes there using the old Roman method of driving stakes into the mud. The dump became a great military and merchant power. Slowly but surely it’s sinking, pylons and all, into oblivion.

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