Venice by Boat: A Unique Transportation Experience

For a Venetian, navigating the city by boat is more than just a means of transportation. Boarding one's boat in Venice is the promise of an adventure...

Venice was built on small islands where the waterways were designed as the main streets, a remarkable achievement of human engineering.

Today, they still serve as a crucial transportation network and a source of beauty and inspiration for visitors worldwide.

To connect with the surrounding islands, there is no other option but to use a boat. It is how we transport all our glass from Murano back to our shop, how all materials are delivered to us in Venice, and how all our shipments are collected from the shop, transported to the mainland, and then sent to their destinations all over the world.

Due to the numerous bridges in Venice, boats must be mostly uncovered and low to pass under the bridges. The bottoms need to be flat to navigate the shallow waters of the lagoon, and the shape elongated and slim to make it through the narrow canals.

The typical Venetian boat, called the "topa," is a favorite among locals as it is best suited for the city and its canals. The name clearly refers to the animal (meaning mouse in English) because of its elongated snout and wide stern.

Since childhood, we have always navigated through the city by boat with our father, who never goes anywhere in Venice without his "topa". As children, we felt like we were embarking on a real adventure every time we were on the boat, a feeling that has stayed with us ever since.

Truly, navigating Venice by boat can be quite an adventure and can add a touch of excitement.

Forget the idea that we navigate in it as if we were in a Riva boat. Rain or wind, we always navigate under a boiling hot summer or a freezing humid cold winter - even through the thick fog of the lagoon.

How many times have we navigated in the rain, hiding under blankets and umbrellas, arriving at the furnace soaking wet but hanging onto the thought all along the journey, that the warmth of the ovens will quickly dry us off.

When our “topa” comes back from the furnace and we unload our bags and boxes of glass, not a single movement is left to chance.

From parking maneuvers to reaching our workshop, we have at least three people stationed so we can carefully pass each fragile package meticulously hand to hand, then to shop, handled so it doesn't slide on the few steps covered with a slippery layer of seaweed.

From island to island, the waves that refresh us in summer and splash and awakens us in winter, have become quite threatening to our city due to the increasing growth of traffic and tourist transportation.

The residents of Venice are deeply invested in this important issue, which may not necessarily evoke the same concern among foreign visitors often unaware of this escalating threat…

Among all the boats sailing in Venice, gondolas themselves don't create waves, but navigating relatively slowly through narrow and small canals, they often find themselves congested! With the fluctuations of the tide, as high as very, very low, some canals are occasionally impassable.

To “navigate” these situations, Venetians on boats share a unique coded language through gestures, greetings, and communication.

Flexibility, improvisation, and adaptation are not just skills to master when boating in Venice; they are skills often inherent, passed down through generations.

Despite the uncertainties and concerns of navigating in Venice, each boat journey remains a unique experience even for Venetians.

Onboard our "topa," every journey through the canals is a captivating immersion in a majestic spectacle that never fails to enchant us.

We hope you enjoyed this journey through the Venetian canals with us.

For more insights into our adventures and daily life in Venice, delve into the other chapters of our diary and stay tuned for the upcoming stories!