The reality of Venice can be shocking at times. It is one thing to hear that there are no cars, no bicycles, no motorbikes; however, when you actually see what that means for the first time it is absolutely overwhelming.
You step out of Venice train station and step into a city, a world, like nowhere else on earth.
Outside is the equivalent of a four lane highway, traffic rushes by: taxis, buses, private vehicles, police sirens are heard as the police rush off somewhere, you might well see an ambulance too or the fire brigade.
You could be in any big city except...
... this is NOT like any other big city and this four lane highway is not like any highway in any other city you have ever visited... this highway is made of water!
Each and every vehicle rushing by is a boat of some sort or another, an incredible array of vehicles: elegant gondolas, waterbuses (called vaporetti), stylish taxis of burnished mahogany and even the boat versions of garbage trucks.
Well, like cars and motorbikes, bicycles in Venice are only allowed as far as the Piazzale Roma on the edge of the city. There is a short stretch after that, where you are allowed to wheel your bicycle to the station, in order to board a train, but that's it!
Well, whether it's the delivery of your online order or the deliveries to supermarkets and other stores everything has to go by boat and, incredibly, it all works extremely well. People head to work by public transport (the water boats) or take their own boat into the office. Need to move house? Well, there's a boat for that. Need to grab a cab to the airport? It's a boat too.
Watch the video at the top of the page to see the reality of Venice, the "miracle" of a city built upon water.