Walking on water!

If you are out strolling in Venice, and happen to notice that the “street” you are walking on is called Rio Tera Something, then what you are promenading upon used to be a water filled canal. Quite a number of canals suffered this fate, as pedestrian traffic increased, and bridges were built to connect the many islands that make up Venice. It takes only a little imagination to remove all but the Rialto Bridge, and rip out all the materials that fill these canals, to think what it would have been like a few centuries ago.

Anyhow, someone, probably Fausto of the Alloggi Barbaria blog, pointed out that as you walk along a Rio Tera, you may see remains of what were cross canals, before the urban developers got to work. They are arches which mark an ancient canal pathway. They look quite low, so now you have to imagine how much deeper you’d have to look, to find the water level of the old canal/cross-canal.

Enough of the tough stuff, here are some pictures that show old cross canals on a particular Rio Tera in Venice. I leave it to the location experts, to tell you where I was.


The other half of the previous arch

Really low, isn't it?

I hope the ugly red pipe is only temporary


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15 responses to “Walking on water!

  1. I find another fun telltale sign is the fact that the old “fondamenta” were left with their paving stones and the white edge stones, and the ex-canal area is generally much more “humped” in the center, with a different stone paving pattern (often diagonal, compared to the fondamenta’s orthogonal pattern).
    Another fun “tera” is the “piscina” paved over near the Giustiniana Hospital near the Zattere.
    Another curiosity is that every once in a while they change their minds, like the “Crea” canal off of the Canale di Cannaregio which was filled in and recently dug back out again.


    • Good! You’ve given me more to watch for as I ramble along, never sure whether to look down, up or to the sides!

      I read recently that it would be good to release some of the buried canals to provide more ‘parking’ space for family boats. I hadn’t thought of that scarce quality here, but it seems correct!


      • As far as I had heard back when, the Crea re-opening was due to tide/water circulation problems, as the other two canals (Rio San Giobbe, closer to Tre Archi with the bridge leading “da Marisa”, and the Rio di Crea which divides the “Safa” area from the train station) started becoming too stagnant. Just another aspect they have to consider…


  2. jessybobss

    Fantastic !! ///I never noticed these in all my visits !! certainly will look out for them xxxx


  3. Darlene

    OMGoodness, you find the most intriguing things to show us about Venice. Thank you!


  4. The St. Agnes locations are the most often shown. The others should open our eyes in many places to link to the history of Venice. Often, you can find former waterdoors along calle NOT named Rio Terra!
    We look forward to seeing you leading the regatta to victory!


  5. So, maybe I should leave wee prizes for you ladies (and the fellas) to discover??

    There’s a rowing race/regatta off Giudecca tomorrow which promises some action. Maxine, maybe I’ll take the (deleted) Bloggie out for a trial!


  6. Looking forward to a scavanger hunt in the fall. Keep ’em coming 😉


  7. Michelle

    Of course I did already know the Rio Tera story having spent two weeks just off Rio Tera San Leonardo.


  8. Michelle

    My sentiments exactly, Maxine. Grazzie, Yvonne for giving me something new to watch for. I had seen those arches and wondered about them.


  9. MMM.. you keep finding things for me to look for the next time I’m in Venice


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