Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 10, 2012

Getting things done in Venice

There are no cars in Venice. The only forms of transport on the islands are boats, and push along carts and of course walking. Venetians have become very inventive in carrying out daily tasks.


Dragging a load across a flooded St Mark’s Square.


A funeral boat heading for the cemetery.


Mobile scaffolding.


Removing dirt and rubbish on a renovation site.


It can’t be easy to manouvre things from a moving boat.


A delivery barge on the Grand Canal


Fabio and his porter’s trolley.


I don’t know what this one was doing.


DHL on water.

If you think about how much we rely on cars and trucks to organize our lives, you must realize how difficult it would be to do without these things. The lane ways in Venice are very narrow and there are bridges crossing canals every few metres. Keep this in mind when you pack your bags for a visit to Venice.
Perhaps I should have got Fabio’s number.


  1. Great post. A refreshing change to see ‘real life’ Venice and not just the gondolas-even if they are so eye cathcingly lovely!

    • Once you get away from the Grand Canal and the Rialto bridge there are little local communities with schools and tiny shops to explore in Venice. I love the back streets too.

  2. When we visited Venice the square wasn’t flooded. The lack of four wheeled vehicles certainly gives Venice a unique atmosphere. Funny, I hadn’t thought much about logistics while I was there, but it takes some creativity I imagine! Great post.

    • Venice is truly special. Let’s hope they can keep it afloat.

  3. I’ve come to enjoy seeing signs of “normal” life in Europe’s fairy-tale cities. The eyes of a tourist (as I once was) are disappointed with churches covered in scaffolding and picture-perfect street scenes “ruined” by delivery trucks….but a traveller appreciates that the lifeblood of the city still beats strong. Great photos!

    • Venetians must get tired or their streets being constantly overrun with tourists. I grew up at the Gold Coast, which was very busy in the tourist season. We were always happy when they went home and we could get our car out of the driveway without waiting for 30 minutes.

  4. These scenes are so familiar as you wander around Venice but it’s not often we stop and think about them or even give them a second look. It’s great that you have bought some of the difficulties of everyday life in Venice to our attention with some fun photos.

    • There is lots of interesting stuff going on behind the scenes, which is fun to watch.

  5. I think that living in Europe makes you aware that cars are not as necessary as we thought before.

    • I think it would be a bit hard to get people to give up their cars. I have seen people in Bagni di Lucca drive 50 metres to the bar rather than walk.

  6. Dear Debra, of course they try to find solutions but how sad for Venice… Makes me worry for the future… Thank you for sharing with us. You are one of my nominated names for Versatile Blogger Award.

    With my love, nia

    • Hi Nia, hopefully Venice can be kept alive. It will take a lot of money and effort. Thank you for the Versatile Blogger nomination!

  7. Wow, moving that load of bricks (or whatever it is) with the crane attached to the boat DOES INDEED look like a challenge.

    Fascinating post, Deb!


    • The Venetians are clearly very resourceful and have found ways of getting things done in watery ways.

  8. We saw a similar hive of activity at about 11pm one evening last summer while having drinks on the balcony of the Gritti Palace- a whole fleet of boats coming into the Grand Canal to off load the supplies of the next day, produce, construction supplies, mail, packages etc- it was fascinating to watch how efficient the Venetians are!

    • Venice is a very special place. I want to go back as often as I can.

  9. […] the rest here: Getting things done in Venice « Bagni di Lucca and Beyond This entry was posted in Lucca and tagged carrying-out, islands, only-form, the-islands, […]

  10. We have similar problems in Amsterdam, with similarly inventive solutions.

    Here’s how we deal with the issue of dead bikes in canals…

    • I remember your dead bike story. We are very keen to be in Amsterdam.

  11. Interesting post, Debra.

    One of the fascinating things about Venice is the ‘delivery system’. Just everything you can imagine (& can’t imagine) is delivered by boat. It must be enormously difficult exercise let alone what it must add to the costs.

    Perhaps that’s why my Bellini at Harry’s Bar was sooo expensive! 🙂

    • The Bellini at Harry’s Bar is cheaper than the one at Florian.

  12. Oh God, I love the DHL boat! It´s so cool to see things adapted to Venice reality! Kisses, Rose

    • It looked quite smart pushing its way down the Grand Canal.

  13. Great visuals, not until your post did I wonder how the Venetians carry out their daily chores. Wow, I am glad I don’t have to do any of it.

    • No doubt you get used to the inconvenience, but I can’t imagine not driving go the supermarket for groceries.

  14. What an amazing place. I never really though of how they do things practically speaking but it must require a lot of thought and innovation! 🙂

    • The Venetians are very resourceful.

  15. I should buy a house, no need to drag things along then. The architecture is a-mazing!

    • I think a house in Venice would cost a lot of money.

  16. That’s amazing Deb, I never realised there were no cars at all! It’s a wonder all the buildings keep standing with their foundations in the water for all this time!

    • This is the problem, Venice is sinking because a lot of the builings are on wooden pylons. The maintenance is incredible. At some point it might just become too expensive to save some places. We are lucky to have it at all.

  17. What a great post! Transportation in Venice reminds me of China.. You must be incredibly creative!

    • You wouldn’t want to have a large family and live a long way from a market.

  18. I would love some day to have a Bellini at Harry’s Bar. *Sighs with longing*

    • It seems it is something that must be done in Venice.

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