Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Carnevale Fatalities

Front page news in the local Venice paper today: another body found floating in a canal this morning--the second of this Carnevale season.

It sounds--and the headline looked--exactly like something out of the old Donald Sutherland/Julie Christie movie Don't Look Now. But there is no murderer roaming the calli, nor is this, unfortunately, just a film adaptation of a work of fiction.

No, instead, every Carnevale it seems that at least a couple of tourists drink too much and fall into a canal on their way home at night. Even during Carnevale, Venice is hardly New York City: it's easy to find yourself walking in silent isolation at night even just a short way from Piazza San Marco. There are plenty of stretches of canal with no barrier or railing between the stones of a fondamenta and the water, and if one is bundled up in winter wear and inebriated even a decent swimmer might immediately find him- or herself in serious trouble.

There's so little crime in Venice perhaps it's easy to get lulled into a false sense of complete safety, and the environment has been so well urbanized for so long that the ever-present water of the canals probably seems too fully domesticated to feel the least bit dangerous. 

As far as I can recall, no guidebooks warn of this. Perhaps it seems obvious?

But, unfortunately, not always obvious enough...

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