The Floating Signifier

Robert C. Davis and Garry R. Marvin

in Venice, the Tourist Maze

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238039
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937802 | DOI:
The Floating Signifier

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What has by now become the classic entrance into Venice is all water: a drive or a train ride takes one across the Lagoon on the Ponte della Libertà and then the Linea 1 vaporetto completes the trip, down the length of the Grand Canal to Piazza San Marco. Unquestionably, Venice's eponymous claim to be its own archetype derives from the very number of its canals, and the breadth and complexity of the network they form. The gondoliers established themselves in the lucrative business of shunting passengers from the train station to the better hotels, most of which were (and are) located around Piazza San Marco. Gondolas have become the key icon through which tourists can enter Venice's waterscape and thus engage with the true logic of the city itself. Since they are not actually taken anywhere, of course, it also cannot be said that tourists are exposed to the real logic of the Venetian waterways.

Keywords: Venice; tourists; gondolas; gondoliers; canals; waterways; waterscape; Piazza San Marco; Ponte della Libertà; Grand Canal

Chapter.  11175 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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