Archive for Ponte di Calatrava

Perhaps word of this stunt has already reached you, but in case you were sleeping (as virtually everyone was when it happened here last night), two high-spirited couples from the mainland decided to pick up their friends in Venice after a night of diversion and liquid refreshment.

So they drove to Venice in the Volkswagen Polo belonging to T.V. (the Gazzettino is excruciatingly discreet), age 22, from Jesolo. When they got to Piazzale Roma, instead of parking and taking some other means of transport (vaporetto, feet) to get to wherever their friends were, the young blood at the wheel decided to drive over the Calatrava Bridge (excuse me, Constitution Bridge) and go get them.

So they did.

This snippet of film was obviously from the security video trained on the bridge, viewed in real time by the police.  And they were indeed viewing.

Joining T.V. in this exploit were: A 40-year-old man from Trentino, a region bordering the Veneto but still pretty far from Venice; a 22-year-old girl also from Jesolo, and a 20-year-old girl from Motta di Livenza, which is beyond Jesolo.

I mentioned beverages? They were all from very to extremely drunk. Which might explain how blithely they proceeded, not only driving over the bridge, but proceeding to cross the large area in front of the train station, then down the rather narrow Lista di Spagna till they stopped in front of the Palazzo Labia.

The point isn't how far they went – a mere 645 meters (2,215 feet). It's how far they seemed to be prepared to go.

It isn’t explained why this was their destination — at that point they could just as easily have kept going, driving over the Ponte delle Guglie, heading toward San Marco till the first real bridge with real steps stopped them. It’s just a theory. Maybe nothing would have stopped them.

What did, in fact, bring them to a halt were the police and the Carabinieri, whose officers find nothing amusing, ever. They certainly didn’t smile when T.V. threw the car keys into the canal.

So off they trotted to the police station, where all sorts of paperwork awaited them, papers relating to drunkenness and something called ubriachezza molesta, which means roughly “annoying drunkenness.”

The car, which was probably sitting there in the dawning light wondering how the hell it was going to get home without keys or drivers, was loaded onto a boat and taken to the police station (as evidence, I suppose).

Then the firemen got to work examining the bridge, to determine if it also had been traumatized by this little stunt.

And the penalty for the perps? They have been forbidden to set foot (or Firestone) in Venice for three years.  That’s it.

Far be it from me to comment on the wisdom of the magistrates. But it doesn’t seem like much of a punishment. I’m still not convinced they even knew they were in Venice at the time.

Well, they know now. And I don’t think the idea of seeing Venice is ever going to appeal to them very much, if it ever did  And no more offers to give friends a lift, either.  It’s all going to be different from now on.  One can hope.

It's 26 miles (42 km) between Venice and Jesolo, and it's 36 miles (58 km) to Motta di Livenza. I have no idea how they all got home.

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