Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lido in Winter: Long Walk, Short Pier

The Lido is a marvelous place to walk in the winter--though recently it's been so relatively mild and sunny here that the seaside isn't as deserted as one might hope.

It is here on Lido, at the end of the Gran Viale, that you can ponder the question of whether a pier that does not extend into water should be called a pier at all. Not even at high tide does the structure pictured above come in contact with the sea.

Perhaps it was simply intended as an observation deck, you might think.

No, my friend who has lived here for all of his 70 years (and oversaw much of the construction in Venice for many years) assures me that it was meant to be a real pier. But the comune ran out of money before it was finished. And so you have a pier that is not really a pier--or at least not enough of one--and a lasting monument, my friend suggests, to the competence of the city's government.


  1. Perhaps some readers are not familiar with the expression "Go and take a long walk off a short pier".[Strange, that's the way I hear it in my head, but it should be 'a long walk ON a short pier'.]

    1. Thank you, Bert, I suspect some readers aren't familiar with the expression but that's what I had in mind.

      I, too, hear "Long walk OFF a short pier" and think that's actually the way it's said, even though it doesn't quite make literal sense that way. But it sounds better--ie, more insulting.

    2. Now that I think about it, the use of "off" may fall (almost) into the category of prolepsis--that is, if I remember correctly, a speech act whose grammar anticipates the result of an action not yet actually performed.

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  4. Oh, yeah, I knew that. I use prolepsis all the time. I'm a slave to prolepsis. 'Prolepsis' is my middle name. :-)