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Updated: Mar 3, 2022

Rust and salt

At the time, a classic and elegant district inspired by the venerable Italian city, little paradise for tourist and rich citizen, the little Venice sank under the waves and the inhabitants deserted the place as quickly as the investors.

The underwater drifting process has now stabilized (it seems) and a new section of the population has taken over the area. Or at least the parts that remain over the water, the third floors and beyond, the peaks and the attics. Between the floors and the roofs that adorn the surface, broken citizens have rebuilt a place to live in, made of scrap metal and building materials recovered in the Forges, the adjacent neighborhood. A sort of giant slum built on stilts and steel rods. Rusted and patched bridges connecting one building to another. Creaky structures, held above the ancient flooded streets by ropes and rusty chains, at questionable angles.

By windy weather, the Little Venice offers a concert of metallic sounds, rustling squeaks and gull cries. Not to mention the smell of seaweed and salt.

A different society

The Little Venice lives by its own laws. By the laws of the mafia Lords. From the safety of The Pillars, they dictate their whims and desires, in the service of their own ascensions within the hidden hierarchy of the city.

Citizens are miserable there. This is where the people with nothing left to lose go. There is no rent to pay, and most inhabitants simply occupy buildings, usually controlled by gangs or clans organized in micro-societies. Some can afford the protection of the Lords, but most citizens are left on their own, surviving as they can. Families have nothing, and most children are left on their own, playing in the streets or sent to beg for money in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Drug addiction, street violence and mental illness are the obvious and brutal results of the complete abandon of the Little Venice by the City government.

The police rarely venture into the streets of Little Venice, and for good reason: it is a cut-throat, literally. The foreigners and people from the outside are watched and suspected there. And that is nothing compared to the way patrols of lost cops are treated when venturing too deep into the narrow and chaotic walkways. It is common to have to dodge furniture or sharp objects falling from windows “by accident”. Even children are aggressive there.

Use your feet

Traffic in the neighborhood is mainly on foot. Only a fool would trust the broken and rusty structures to support the weight of a car. Little Venice is therefore a veritable labyrinth of iron and concrete, a tangle of alleys, walkways and bridges which juxtapose, intersect and overhang each other, passing from the open air to the interiors of buildings, rising in the heights or standing only a few centimeters above the surface of the water.

However, some major axes have been consolidated to allow vehicles to circulate. These axes are funded by mafia Lords who need to be able to move safely in the areas they control. These routes are mainly being used by delivery trucks often carrying illegal goods, and they are closely watched by local militias and mafia gangs.

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