In a post about the transport system of Venice, I promised to tell a little more about the city itself and the islands. Therefore, below is a minute of Friday’s urbanism.
Around the year 452, wealthy peasants fled from the barbarians led by Attila, roaming in crowds on the mainland. The lagoon is shallow, but boats are needed for crossing, because it’s somehow difficult to sail 6 kilometers on a horse. Well, Attila legitimately suspected that landing on the islands was far from his main business.
The place was suddenly successful. Venice is in the lagoon, which forms a bunch of rivers flowing into the sea. They carry sand and other things and sculpt from this island. Here on the map this process is clearly visible:
As you can see, Venice is in the center of the lagoon, where only a few passes lead. Much later they were defended by forts, but so far the important thing is that the lagoon is shallow, and you need to be an unrealistically good pilot in order to spend something with a draft more than a meter before landing and not run aground.
There was only one problem – there was a total shank around. That is, it was possible to fish, but wealthy peasants still wanted more. Well, the story of Serenissima, the Most Serene Republic, went on. One of the strangest countries in the history of mankind: in fact, without territories, but with vast sea possessions.
It was the 5-6th century, we survived as best we could
The Venetians began to build saltworks. Salt was then highly valued, and little was produced on the mainland. Through experimentation, the Venetians honed production and, more importantly, instead of competing between the islands, agreed on a trade union. It was this ability to agree on strategic issues (with a 50-year perspective) that determined the DNA of the future republic. So, quite suddenly for the continent, we formed a monopoly on salt trade, which began to confidently manage the market.
The construction period has begun. First, a forest was brought to the islands from all sides, and then also a stone. Initially, there were four hundred small islands separated by canals. By the way, the Grand Canal is nothing more than the bed of one of the rivers flowing into the lagoon. It was extremely difficult to build on these islands. The Venetians began to terraform the area, connecting the islands with each other, where possible. All houses were built on foundations of wooden piles driven into the ground. There is a lot of silt and sand, and only then does a hard layer come. On the one hand, this means that you need a lot of piles (in fact, they had to be combined into a monolithic foundation), and on the other hand, all this dirt did not let the tree rot, but instead strengthened it over the centuries to a solid state.
Foundations determined the materials of construction: the bottom layer of waterproof marble. But it is too heavy to rise above. Therefore, further light brick, and even higher tree. Naturally, due to moisture, a brick is covered with salt, and salt destroys it, but such is life. Much later limestone began to be transported from distant islands, but not very much.
They didn’t consciously build a water supply, because they calculated the threat model and decided that poisoning the water from the mainland was a good attack vector. Instead, they began to make wells to collect water. The most progressive version of the well looks like this:
In later centuries, every palace acquired such a well of its own. At first, they were common on every island.
Having taken care of houses and having more or less built infrastructure, the Venetians began to solve the following problem. Namely, that the salt market will fall due to the development of competition. There is nothing unique in salt production, and anyone can start cooking on their own and dumping.
Akademgorodok and customs
697 is the time of the founding of the Serene Venetian Republic. Before that, Venice, in fact, was subordinate to Byzantium and its forks, and now they decided to become autonomous. There was a peculiarity with a ruler – because of the island structure, the peoples were very fragmented. Each small island had a bread oven, a well for collecting rainwater, and a church. As a result, there are now about 200 churches in Venice, and the surplus has been redone, for example, in theaters and exhibition halls.
So, these peoples decided on something like a veche that they would have an elected ruler – the Doge. He will be chosen democratically, but for life. Then the next one. The “capital” was brought to one of the deserted Rialto islands, now it is the center of modern Venice.
The association made it possible to build their own fleet and generally engage in large-scale projects. At first it turned out that the lagoon is very convenient as a transit point in the Adriatic, and connects the eastern world (Byzantium) with the western (the rest of Europe). Venice sat down firmly on the distribution of spices and, according to the beaten track, began to monopolize the European market.
His fleet was needed to protect the caravans of ships. And then they looked very tempting for the pirates. As a result, the Venetians almost cleared the robbers of the Adriatic on the one hand, and on the other hand introduced the service “park with us and you won’t get punctured tires” so that goods are unloaded only from them.
As part of the program to boost the economy, the Venetians were engaged not only in distribution and customs operations. It was supposed that you need to look for something that everyone needs, but at the same time it consists mainly of work. And there was a glass. By the time of the events described, it was wild luxury – not everyone could afford glass buttons. The palaces needed glasses, vases, even chandeliers. And all this can be done at a very low cost for materials – there is sand, soda, calcium. The most valuable thing is the work of the master, that is, a combination of his experience and time and the secrets of the workshop. And then they knew how to keep shop secrets as the most terrible commercial secret, I remind you. There was no internet.
Glassblowers became the coolest profession on the islands. Only now they supported their workshops right in the city. And there is constant fire and secrets. Since the next fire, the government of the republic has proposed making a closed town. With the islands it is simple: they chose Murano and offered all glassblowers to move to it. Of course, not everyone liked it, but for this they gave a bunch of privileges.
As soon as all the workshops were transferred to Murano, the island became closed. The glassblowers were glad that shah, they don’t go anywhere anymore, and they live right here all their lives. But then their daughters can marry aristocrats, they themselves can carry knives (like aristocrats, but in fact, the government was interested in the master winning every drunken brawl) and generally hang out without measure.
If the glassblower escapes, a special search procedure is activated, involving the entire network of Venice spies in a famous inhabited world. They find him in a year or two (because he opens a workshop by this moment), then they go on a visit and make a commercial offer:
– Man, we here rewrote all your relatives two years ago, chose the first 20 and sent to prison for your escape. Children suffer, pregnant women have already given birth and babies grow up in prison, it is difficult for the elderly in such conditions. Let’s you come back, and we will release them? At the same time, Venice will forgive you, and you will continue to work as if nothing had happened.
Usually the master agreed to such an offer. Because it was the first in a chain of negotiations. The second business meeting usually took place in the alley, and instead of talking to the master, his throat was very lucidly cut. In general, it was very disciplined, and the people almost did not scatter. Modern eychars – envy.
The technology of glass has also shifted scientific progress: in the search for transparent alloys, they have reached quite complex ones. Blue gives cobalt, green gives copper, white gives tin (and a complicated procedure), red gives selenium, gold and manganese.
The profession was dynastic: the glassblower tried to teach his sons. If not sons, then what kind of relatives. The main thing was that the apprentice did all the rough work of 10-15 years, and only then was allowed to the secrets of production. Such a long training is due to the fact that glass melting and its subsequent cooling is a very complex process. The main market demand was for clear transparent glass, and all additives to simplify the work (slowing down hardening) greatly spoiled the quality. In Murano only clean glass was made. The glassblower’s brain had to be trained in tens of thousands of training cases so that he could accurately predict when and what to do, what temperature the glass was and how to handle it in each specific situation.
Now there are no glassblowing schools: training is also conducted under the master, only more or less open in terms of information. I suspect that this is one of those processes that are perfectly digitized not only by neural networks, but by heuristics, but at the same time there is nowhere to get labeled data for training or the formation of rules. In this regard, the masters are very conservative. A similar story with cheese in Switzerland – its production is considered a non-algorithmizable task, because the master cannot express in words how to understand that the cheese is ready.
A group of glassblowers works silently and harmoniously. The master observes the glass, he should not be distracted, so the task of the apprentice is to bring everything you need, do all the auxiliary operations, and so on. If the master will talk, it is believed that he will lose concentration. Therefore, half of the training is to guess what and when he needs.
Previously, the stoves were on coal, and children constantly blew them out of furs. Modern gas stoves. They are constantly heated, because it takes 4-5 hours to enter the cycle (this is like starting a good steam train until it melts), and they will not be put out for the weekend.
The city is combined with the mainland, with the former separate city of Mestre. In total, 262 thousand people live in the agglomeration, of which 60 thousand live in the “core” of Venice-Murano-Burano. The population of the islands is decreasing: 63,530 in 2015, 62,484 at the end of 2016, 61,482 at the end of 2017 and 60,541 at the end of 2018. In fact, now most of the survivors are engaged in serving tourists. Venice is trying to solve two problems now: there are too many onlookers who come with their own food and live on the mainland (there will be a fee for entering the city for non-residents) and all municipal decisions are made in favor of Mestre, because there is a democratic majority. As a result, after some time, Venice can be divided into two municipalities.
Here I only talk about the core, so we will continue about Murano, while we are not far from it. There are many summer residences, that is, in fact, Venetian dachas:
And here is Burano, another island in the agglomeration of Venice. It is believed that the islands are named after the colonists. Murano – because of the mura, the wall (this is part of the city against the wall), “bora” – the east wind, the blizzard, this is the island of fishermen. Torcello – from the “torus”, it’s the “tour” – the tower, it seems, these are residents from the area of the town hall.
The houses are very brutally colored, it is part of the cultural code of the island of fishermen. There are many versions of the origin of the legend, including romantic ones (that the fishermen saw a colored spot from afar in the harbor), but I like the version that they returned from fishing to the insole drunk and could not find their home. Because if you need a bright spot in the harbor, you need to paint the houses in one bright color, and not all in a row.
There is almost no graffiti, because they instantly paint over. But in the same Canaregio – at every turn.
Each color is one owner. If you want to update the color or if the ownership structure changes, then a municipal colorist comes and gives you recommendations. Further this color is entered in the passport of the house. 70% of the repair of a historic building in Burano (not in the center of Venice) is paid by the municipality.
Torcello does not enter the core, but is located “across the road” (that is, through a piece of the lagoon) from Burano. But the island is almost empty, because in the 12th century the harbor rotted so successfully that a malaria mosquito took root here, which was brought by the merchants of spices long before that. But he did not have enough conditions to reproduce. And then some very hot year, and people began to die. Medicine was not very evidence-based then, so a scientific decision was made that the island was cursed. Crossed to the next and got rid of the curse. That’s the end of the story.
Bellini and Carpaccio desserts were invented in this iconic restaurant on Torcello. Einstein didn’t stop by, and that’s what they would have been named after him, if it had happened. Maybe.
And this is not just a booth in the bushes, it is a municipal booth for homeless cats. The laws are such that cats need to be protected, and now they have put this thing out of the weather. And the volunteers feed them, for which special funds are allocated.
On the small islands there are paramedic points, on the large – hospitals, in Venice – a large hospital.
Actually, the urban environment and its features
Bridges were needed. The former were wooden through small canals. Since not only boats, but also quite large transporters walked along the canals, the bridges should have been quite high. At first they were made adjustable, so as not to increase the engineering complexity. Then they built the first bridge across the Grand Canal – Rialto, in the narrowest point of the canal. The alpha version was 7 meters high and 22 meters wide. It deteriorated and burned quite often, and something had to be done about it. There was an architect Antonio da Ponte, who proposed to make it of stone. They scored 12 thousand piles and built it – this was the first project of a bridge over a canal with one arch: the ships simply did not fit under other options. Here is the bridge:
As you can see, it is under constant stress testing.
Nearby there is another bridge made of wood. It is temporary, it was also planned for the reconstruction of stone, but it still stands. The last time I’ve been recently renovated.
The second obvious problem is saving land. As in the case of Japan, they decided to sacrifice cemeteries. Initially, they were buried near temples (inside the noble people, on the temple cemeteries it is poorer). But with the advent of Bonaparte, it was forbidden to bury in the city. We took two islands close by, slightly transformed to a square and made a cemetery island. Since then they have been buried there. A very calm place, there is a river bus looking on the way to Murano, but rarely does anyone stop at this stop. The island continues to build up, otherwise the people continue to die, although scientific and technological progress had long had to defeat this annoying flaw.
The island is ideal square in shape, but it is gradually being added from the back, solving the problem of overpopulation. More precisely, overflows.
In the XII century, the Republic reached dawn and flourished already for another 4 centuries. And then the day came P. The spy drove a lot of horses, but read out a message in the palace that our old friend Vashka da Gama from Portugal had opened the sea route to the East Indies. That is, the khan of the entire technology of transshipment trade. We listened to the report in complete silence.
The Portuguese accidentally flunked the spice market with a very large number of goods and brought it down because they did not particularly understand the varieties and how to sell. How – it is, in the sense, holding the stock and little by little so as not to cause a price war.
It would seem, another century or two, that’s all. But no, here Venice caught the interdict. It’s almost like a church ban, but it’s worth considering that it concerned everything, that is, it was impossible to even register a marriage normally and name a child. The fight against the Holy League gave a second wind to the already slightly rotten governance structure. The ranks were cleaned quickly and clearly, new effective alliances were concluded and, for some strange reason, common sense blossomed again. Mostly represented by Paolo Sarpi.
And this is Paolo Sarpi, the local Boris-fuck-get. He and Galileo somehow together guessed about the Earth and assembled a telescope. Continuation about Galileo in Florence, so we return to Sarpi. His next scientific discovery was that the interdict of 1604 was not imposed on Venice by the rules. And specifically the Pope is wrong. What Paolo justified on the fingers. The interdict was canceled, and a little later two attacked in the alley on Paolo. One dagger entered the eye and left the ear, the second stuck in the chest. It was possible to keep an eye, an ear and a heart – the man got better. He was poisoned, but there was a doctor nearby who did everything right. Then they decided to try a progressive method – to shoot a scientist. He survived. After that, he was no longer touched so that the martyr did not turn out, probably. He died in old age in bed. In the foreground, pay attention to the hatch, here almost everyone is so disguised.
Since a new business case was needed, they decided to invest in an intangible culture and created another special economic territory. Only not an academic town, but a creative cluster. Suddenly, a boom in art, science, and courtesans began in Venice. The city turned into a Las Vegas Renaissance. And he remained so until the arrival of Bonaparte, who broke and plundered everything. It ends the history of historical Venice.
In the XVII century, there were up to 12 thousand ladies of easy virtue in the city. A tripadvisor of those centuries was produced: a directory with the names of the top 500 and slogans like “You rarely see her face because you earn it to others.” Each wanted to be like Veronica Franco, who took Rafael over the night for a couple of years of her work.
We opened a casino (here is a preserved one):
They continued to build palaces. Basically, all the preserved houses of Venice are about the same period.
By the way, a separate story with houses. Historically, they have not changed much since then, because the stone is the same. This was our wooden country until the mid-twentieth century, and there was almost always stone.
But the doors are often wooden or metal
Well, now the motto of architecture: “exactly the same exactly there.” That is, the entire central part – do not touch anything, do not change anything. The theater burned and the bell tower fell – they were restored in the same form.
Restoring the Doge’s Palace
Hence the obvious difficulties with external wiring:
The need to support all the decrepit:
Strange engineering communications:
The restrictions on transport and small bridges already mentioned in the first post:
Due to the fact that almost everything in Venice – a rock, foundation or pavement, trees are grown on very small patches of land. For the most part, the soil was brought from the continent, and the plants themselves were brought from all the edges of the sea power, but only “relatives” have taken root in the end. Greens in the city are very fond of:
Mail is standard for Italy, but postcards can be sent from almost any tourist store:
Municipal phones (also standard for Italy) have been preserved:
Progress here is generally quite slow:
Or here are the switches: terribly inconvenient small panels: similar have remained in Australia since colonial times. But nobody is in a hurry to change them:
Only the extreme two are clicked, sometimes one extreme, sometimes only the center. You will never guess.
Houses are limited in number of storeys, but there are a couple of exceptions.
This is a local skyscraper. It is located in the Jewish quarter: when the decree came from the Vatican to expel all Jews from the cities, Venice decided that they should not lose valuable craftsmen, and drove them to a separate island. Yes, it is 15 meters from the city center. But separate. Isle. There was not enough space there, so a little higher structures were built.
Everything historical is very carefully preserved, this is pride and a World Heritage Site:
A couple more cool features. Installation of steps:
These are the architectural decorations. It turns out that they “round off” the corners so that citizens are still interested in reaching the toilet:
The shopping center barely copes with the flow of those who want to climb onto the roof. The reservation was introduced: it is free, but without an electronic ticket you will not be allowed.
For this pair of pictures from the Soviet encyclopedias, I came to close gestalt
After Chernobyl, they held a referendum and decided to close the nuclear reactor. As a result, now electricity is bought in France, and gas is with us.
If you think that the city is magical and sublime, then I hasten to please that the spirit of gouging here is preserved in full. Moreover, judging by the story of Ca-d’Oro, whose contractor stole the gold lining and sat down for it, little has changed. For example, here already for about 15 years they have been building mobile dams (leaving the bottom), which have been 95% ready for a long time, but the remaining 5% have not been given. The logical consequence of the flood you may have seen, heard.
Well, a couple of days ago they still tested the dam:
In the lagoon of Venice on Tuesday, December 3, preliminary tests of the complex of protective structures were successfully carried out. The project of the Venetian dam began to be implemented in 2003. According to various estimates, the amount of expenses for it is currently from 5.5 to 7 billion euros. Regnum
And finally: the channels with the advent of technology have become cleaner. Just about 30-40 years ago there was a tradition at the beginning of school holidays to jump into the channel (school demobilization). Because to jump into the channel with the waste of human digestion floating there is another adventure. And now, thanks to the septic tanks, everything is clean, there were crabs, fish, even jellyfish. And the students were given a new tradition: throw eggs at each other.
The minute of Friday’s urbanism is over, more about transport and urbanism is in our next blog posts.. Data on Venice is mostly obtained from local ad hoc.