Photos

Taking a coffin to a Venice undertaker

In Venice, most goods are delivered or taken away in boats. That rule also applies to caskets and human bodies, not just to souvenirs, soda pop, or cornflakes.

One day, when we were walking along the Fondamente Nove, we saw a delivery boat pulling in toward shore:

Fondamente Nove, Venice

As the boat landed and one of the men on board leaped onto the fondamenta with a mooring line, we noticed a pair of coffins on board:

Coffin boat in Venice, Italy

The boatmen unloaded one of the coffins:

Coffin and boat in Venice

Next, they picked up the casket...

Coffin delivery in Venice, Italy

...and delivered it to an undertaker's unmarked storeroom:

Venice mortuary

For the boatmen, the delivery was all in a day's work.

For the coffin's future occupant, it meant a resting place for the next 12 years. (And if you're wondering why we say "12 years," read our article about San Michele, Venice's island cemetery at Veniceforvisitors.com.)


ACTV Linea 12 lagoon water bus

ACTV Linea 12 motonave

ABOVE: Two No. 12 water buses pass each other in the Venetian Lagoon.

When you're ready for a break from the crowds and urban atmosphere of Venice's historic center, take the ACTV's No. 12 motonave (water bus) from Fondamente Nove to Murano, Burano, and Torcello.

The No. 12 line (formerly "LN," for "Laguna Norte" or "Northern Lagoon") uses widebody boats that can accommodate several hundred passengers.

Boats normally run at least twice per hour during the daytime, with stops at the glassmaking island of Murano, the lacemaking island of Burano with its brightly-painted houses, the bucolic island of Mazzorbo (connected to Burano by a footbridge), the historic island of Torcello with its ancient basilica (check the timetable for boats that stop at Torcello), and--of less interest to tourists--the park-and-ride lots at Treporti and Punta Sabbioni.

If you aren't in a hurry, you can take a self-guided tour of the Lagoon islands and return to Venice's main waterfront above the Piazza San Marco on another ACTV waterbus line. For details, see our Venice Islands Tour article at Veniceforvisitors.com.

To whet your appetite for a tour of the Lagoon, here are more photos of Linea 12:

1. A No. 12 motonave with the Italian Alps in the distance:

ACTV No. 12 water bus and Italian Alps

2. The interior passenger compartment on a Linea 12 water bus:

ACTV No. 12 water bus passenger compartment

3. Arriving at Faro, on the island of Murano:

Faro ACTV stop on Murano

4. The ACTV boat pier on Burano:

ACTV pier on Burano

5. A sailor or marinaio prepares for the boat's arrival at a waterbus stop:

Sailor on ACTV water bus

6. The lavatory on a Linea 12 boat, starting with a view from the window:

ACTV lavatory view

ACTV toilet    ACTV sink

For more information about public transportation in Venice (including 12-hour to 7-day Tourist Travel Cards), see our Local Transportation Index and our Venice Water Buses article at Venice for Visitors.


Puddles in the Piazza San Marco

In terms of elevation, the Piazza San Marco is one of Venice's lowest points: The Piazza is almost at the same level as the Venetian Lagoon.

Storm sewers in the Piazza empty into St. Mark's Basin (near the entrance to the Grand Canal), and during high tides, it isn't unusual for water to back up through the drains and into the square.

Such flooding is most dramatic during acqua alta (flood tides that occur mostly from October through April), but it can happen at any time of year--even on warm spring and summer days, when children and tourists are fascinated by puddles on the Piazza:

Wading in the Piazza San Marco

Wading in St. Mark's Square, Venice

Flooding in the Piazza San Marco