The Last of the Venetians

PHOTO ESSAY: Life in a city that is sinking.

Stark Raving
4 min readJul 16, 2022


Laundry dries over a Venice canal — Photo by author

The eternal question is whether Venice will be submerged by tourists first, or by the rising tide wrought be climate change.

According to the latest estimates, the city will be underwater by 2100 if climate change trends continue uncurbed. And yet a different risk is already threatening Venice. Locals often complain that their town has become a “dead city”, a shiny showcase to accommodate the 20 million tourists that come each year, but whose high rents and lack of services are pushing the new generations of residents to leave the laguna and build their lives elsewhere.

And yet, for now, Venice is surprisingly alive. You only have to walk a couple of blocks away from the Rialto bridge of San Marco square to find yourself in tourist-free residential streets, where neighbours have high volume conversations with one another from their windows, and life continues as it would in any other city.

Through these photos, I hoped to show snippets of what it means to live in a town where the streets are water, a quirky, beautiful lifestyle that feels, every time I go there, like I have entered a beautiful fantasy land.

Morning deliveries of aperol, beer and water to the cafés along the grand canal— Photo by the author
Tans and short-shorts — Photo by the author
DHL, doing the rounds — Photo by the author

Weaving their way between the gondolas and tourist taxis, delivery boats are a vital lifeline for the businesses of Venice.

Reflection in the window of the water-bus stand — Photo by the author

It isn’t a lie: Venice really does have water everywhere. You can’t walk very far without coming across another canal. There are also no cars within the heart of the city — the streets are either too narrow or too wet. And so for locals, the preferred form of public transport is the…



Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work!