I spent a few days in Venice, Italy.
Venice and its neighboring islands are located in the Venetian Lagoon in the northeast of Italy. The city itself is situated across 100+ islands that are separated by canals and linked by 420+ bridges. Venice is famous for the beauty of its setting, its cuisine, the gondolas, and especially for its architecture which is pretty unique across the world.
The entire city is built on closely spaced wooden piles. These piles had been driven deep into the marshy soil (a softer layer of sand and mud) until they reached a much harder layer of compressed clay. Plates of Istrian limestone was placed on top of these piles, and this layer served as the footing to construct buildings of brick and stone on it. Submerged by water and isolated from oxygen, the wooden piles did not decay as rapidly as on the surface, and therefore most of the piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. Most of these stakes were made from trunks of alder trees, a wood noted for its water resistance.
Rainwater cisterns were the only source of fresh water. The cisterns were built underneath the squares where several manholes collected rainwater. The underground cavity was filled with sand filtering the rain to prevent the valuable waterfrom being contaminated. Draw wells were used to access the water reservoir. Today, the cisterns are sealed at the top but are still decorating the numerous squares and open spaces.
The origins of Venice date back until 421 A.D. where refugees from Roman cities near Venice such as Padua, Aquileia, Treviso, Altino and Concordia and from the undefended mainland were fleeing successive waves of Germanic and Hun invasions. The Venetian Lagoon was a swamp, and therefore difficult to access, which helped the original polulation of Venice to protect themselves from the invadors.
Its beautiful palazzi, churches, bridges, restaurants, squares, art galleries, and more, make Venice a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. Of course, I brought my camera, and here are a few impressions: