One thought on “Appuhn: Drowning a Renaissance City

  1. After watching this video I tried to decide what idea I agreed with more in terms of my experience in Venice. In other words, if I tended to think the way people in the Renaissance felt towards the city, that it was one built on water, or if I had a modern reaction to it, that it was one sinking. And I have to say that I agree with both. I was enchanted with the city after getting off the train and seeing the water right in front of me, as I am sure 99% of tourists are. After a few hours of walking around in soaking wet shoes…I started to think that the city was in trouble and that perhaps it was one with too much water.
    Dr. Appuhn made a point to emphasize the difference in transportation, how we mostly walk around the city, whereas in the 15th century they were getting around by boat. I agree that the difference in transportation, foot vs. boat, plays a crucial role in our different perceptions of the city over time. If I hadn’t gone through 4 pairs of socks in 2 hours, I probably would have been thinking kinder thoughts about the flooding situation. It is much easier to see Venice as a sinking city and one that is in need of preserving when walking around, but I imagine if the main form of transportation were by boat, as it was during the Renaissance, it would be easier to see the city as a wonder and perfectly preserved. Our priorities have shifted over the years, as Dr. Appuhn stated, while the Venetians in the 15th century were concerned with preserving the lagoon, society today is concerned with preserving the city. I would say that most people lie somewhere in the middle of these two concerns upon their first visit to Venice. We are captivated by the amount of water and the ability the Venetians had to build a city on water, but give us a few hours of getting lost in the city in soaking wet clothes up to our knees and we might think that there are serious flooding problems and perhaps the city, while beautiful, is not exactly practical and is in need of some serious flood control.
    The part of the video I found the most interesting was the image of the male sea and the female land, halfway between an embrace and a struggle, demonstrating the only way Venice can really exist, as Dr. Appuhn stated. Comparing this to our modern beliefs “Is Venice Sinking” I found the contrast interesting. I suppose in the end, Venice has always had problems, whether it be with the lagoon, the flooding, the sediments, etc. What changes is how we choose to think of the city. If only the gondola rides were more affordable, maybe then we could get back to the 15th century way of thinking about Venice. Problem solved!

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