Saturday, March 31, 2012

Moorings Found and Lost

Last month I wrote about the complete lack of mooring places or ormeggi available in Venice (

But I've just found out that the city is taking concrete steps to address that issue. A friend told me that Venice has announced a forthcoming lottery for a number of ormeggi. It seems any resident can enter this drawing for a chance to win his or her own docking place.

This is exciting news.

Kind of.

You see, no one believes that there will be anything random about the selection of the lucky "winners".

In fact, I was told a price has already been fixed for those who want to guarantee their random selection as one of the winners of these extremely rare spots:

2,000 euro.

This is not the official price for being selected, as of course none of these spots are available for purchase, officially--it's a lottery after all--yet this is what it will cost you.

A friend tells me that I really should enter this lottery, that it's important to do so--though I have no chance of being selected without paying 2,000 euro.

He tells me of a friend of his with a restaurant who refused to make the unofficial official payment required to obtain a liquor license in Venice. This friend of his actually went to court and was able to get a liquor license without the bribe.

Perhaps it's merely symbolically important to enter this rigged lottery, as I don't know whom I'd take to court after my entry is not selected.

Or perhaps if the number of ormeggi available is greater than the number of lottery entrants willing to pay the 2,000 euro then some of us non-paying entrants will have a chance to be selected.

Though, let's be honest, I think other connections may enter into the selection process at that point: family, old friends, business connections. Ormeggi are in such great demand here that there's far too much to be gained to leave any part of the selection to mere chance.

I wonder: If (like a friend of ours) we'd pooled our resources with other friends to buy a boat, would we now be talking to those same friends about pooling our resources to purchase this lottery selection for a place to dock it?

Perhaps. Or maybe even very likely.

But here are two more advantages of not having a boat right now: We have no need to worry about finding a mooring for it. Nor do we have to worry about losing our moorings, ethically speaking.


  1. Are you able to hire a boat for a day? I guess that would be expensive too.

  2. A boat that you would drive yourself, Andrew, or one that would be driven for you? I don't really know anything about either, but there was this old Guardian article about it:

    According to other more recent pieces on your question, the Guardian info still seems to be valid (though the prices are probably out of date).

    Good luck!

  3. Thanks for the article.I wouldn't attempt to use a boat around Venice and the lagoon but I'm sure you would be capable as a local. Not too bad a price for a day out for 6.

  4. As Italians on the mainland are terrified at the mere thought of a Venetian getting behind the wheel of a car, so Venetians should be terrified at the thought of me driving a boat. In truth, my four-year-old son has much more experience driving a motorboat in the lagoon than I do; the parents of his friends always let him do so. But they know better than to turn the controls over to me...