Why Does Venice Have Canals?
No other city is quite like Venice. This old and beautiful Italian city was not built on solid ground. Instead, it lies on a group of small mud islands in the Adriatic Sea. In between the islands are strips of the sea, and these are the famous canals of Venice.
Since it is so close to sea level and floods easily, it has been easier for the people of Venice to create waterways for transportation than to build roads. The largest canal is the Grand Canal, which splits the city in half and has a characteristic “S” shape.
The Grand Canal of Venice, which travels from the Saint Mark Basin to the Santa Lucia railroad station, is approximately 2.36 miles long and 100 to 300 feet wide. The water is about 16 feet deep.
Several different vessels are used to transport goods and people down the canals today. Vaporetti are water buses that transport large numbers of people. Motor launches and graceful, flat-bottomed boats called “gondolas” carry people along the many canals.
The splendid palaces and other buildings that line the canals are built on posts sunk deep into the mud. Narrow lanes and streets pass between the buildings, and stone bridges cross the canals.