27. Barging in
Provisions to keep the millions of tourists fed and watered arrive daily over the bridge from the mainland by conventional wheeled trucks and are then kept in warehouse storage in the commercial port area to the west of Dorsoduro and Santa Croce. From there, supplies are loaded onto barges like this which weave their way through the canal streets to as close as they can get to their destination. At that point the goods are off-loaded onto the wheeled barrows that you can see on the front of the barge, and bounced up and down over the bridges and through the back lanes to their destination.
At a rough estimate, I would say there are about 80 trays of mineral waters and soft drinks on this barge, which had just arrived at this landing stage when I took this picture. About 2000 beverages. It would be safe to assume that every visitor to Venice stays an average of two days and would consume at least one non-alcoholic drink a day, and probably on average, at least one beer or glass of wine each day. The real figure may be a lot higher.
To keep 14 million visitors a year supplied with even that modest amount of liquid refreshment means that an average of around 75 bargeloads like this chug their way up the Venetian canals every single day. Half that number in winter, double that number at the height of summer. And that's just for the drinks, it doesn't include all the foodstuff as well – or the souvenirs, or the many bargeloads of garbage coming out, or bargeloads of laundry going both ways.
The barges may be motorized, but the barrows are still pushed through the streets as they would have been since Venice began. And providing for that many tourists – that's a lot of barrowloads.