As you meander the fondamente of Venice, you’ll likely notice they’re lined with i pali, the mooring posts which permit the boats to park, for an hour, a day, a lifetime. Until recently, these have all been made of wood, hewn tree trunks of various sizes, hauled in from the mainland and impaled deep into the soft lagoon bottom, serving devoted boaters for as long as they’d last. All part of practical Venice that also adds to its famous atmosfera, yes? There’s a problem, though.
The lower sections of these piles are drenched and exposed incessantly with the tide ebb and flow, and the saline slowly eats away the wooden surface, which eventually becomes rough and craggy. A boat lashed at high tide will drop with the water level, as will the ties that bind. If lashes can get caught on the lower, roughened sections of the piles when the tide comes back in, though, the water level will rise…but the boat will not. So you can imagine the buzz-kill when you show arrive to take it for a spin on the lagoon, and discover it is instead playing nautical hide-and-seek, glinting up at you pathetically from just underneath the water’s surface.
What’s a water-bound city to do?
I’m not sure, but we’ve recently spotted these pali that seem to be made of some type of resin substance; indestructible, for all practical purposes. They would cost more, and last longer, and wouldn’t require the ongoing deforestation or develop the surface damage that the wooden ones do. Someone said they’ll be used only in front of various palazzi, but not the bricole marking the channels through out the lagoon, for example. I don’t have any official word…but we can all keep an eye out, anyway.
These were the first ones I noticed, along the Fondamenta San Felice (in my ‘hood). For imitations, they’re quite nice, I think, someone seems to have have made some effort to make them look like the wooden ones in use now. And well, if it minimizes a bit of the maintenance that seems at times to be what Venice is made of, so be it.