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Venice, the Tourist MazeA Cultural Critique of the World's Most Touristed City$
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Robert Davis

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780520238039

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520238039.001.0001

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The Floating Signifier

The Floating Signifier

Chapter:
(p.132) (p.133) 6 The Floating Signifier
Source:
Venice, the Tourist Maze
Author(s):

Robert C. Davis

Garry R. Marvin

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520238039.003.0007

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

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