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The Brenta River Waterway

The Brenta River Waterway

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The Naviglio is the ancient natural bed of the Brenta river, before the massive hydraulic changes made by the Republic of Venice (which required Leonardo Da Vinci's engineering consultancy several times) and then up to the twentieth century diverted the main course further south, moving it away from the Venetian lagoon and leading it to flow directly into the Adriatic Sea. These hydraulic works are represented by the cuts of the Brenta Nuova and Brenta Nuovissima, and consist of locks and mobile bridges that have made the river navigable.

 

 

National Museum of Villa Pisani in Stra

The inhabited area along the canal is defined Riviera del Brenta; in fact, between the 16th and 18th centuries, dozens of Venetian villas were built here, summer residences of the Venetian nobility.

 

The Brenta canal is part of the system of rivers and canals that since ancient times connected the Venetian cities to each other and to the Venice lagoon. On these fluvial routes, the goods directed from the hinterland to the Serenissima Republic of Venice passed: building materials such as wood, marble, stones from the Hills of Vicenza and trachyte from the Euganean Hills as well as grains and other agricultural products. The transport took place with barges called bùrci pulled along the banks by horses.

 

The boats destined to transport mail and passengers also passed through, the so-called "Burchielli", which were luxurious boats with a large cabin and three or four balconies, used by wealthy Venetians to reach their villas in the countryside.

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