Another Little Venice
Kurashiki is an old canal town in Japan. Like most other places calling themselves 'a little Venice', the canals were once important routes between the port and both warehouses and merchant houses. During the Edo period, Kurashiki rose to prominence as a place for storing and redistributing rice. In the Bikan Historical Area, these canals flow back to a more gentle past, lined with weeping willows, and with the occasional swan drifting past.
Milan was once a city of canals, which were eventually paved over to become streets. Now the council is contemplating opening them up once more, largely to cash in on the tourist dollar.
The Navigli area of Milan (named after one of the canals) dates back to the late 1100's, when the canals linked Milan to the nearby lake district. Now they are lined with cafes and restaurants, and many art shops and galleries.
Bamberg, Germany is a delightful town. Old houses with beautiful gardens and vegetable plots stretch down to the river. From here a network of canal crisscross into another Little Venice. Wild flowers grow along the verge. Many of the buildings in the town are covered with frescoes. Wandering is thirsty work - smoked beer is specialty of the town, first developed by monks on a nearby monastery.
Another claim to the title of Little Venice is Livorno, the port town for Florence which was designed by Medici architects. In Nuovo Venizia (or New Venice) the houses of the local nobility and wealthy merchants of the 17th and 18th C remain. One bridge is covered with inscriptions from boatmen to their beloved. The canals are still used by fisherman of the town.
And then, there is always Venice. Ah, Venice.