I went to Italy recently and was amazed when I stepped outside of the train station in Venice. I knew Venice was built on water but when I saw it with my own eyes, I was amazed to see boats driving everywhere on the streets that were paved in liquid.
If I closed my eyes, the sounds of water splashing against walls and boat’s engines as they propelled through water would make me think that I was on a lake in our family’s ski boat. But before me, I could see a city. A fully functional city that operated on water.
I learned that, during the fall of Rome, wars broke out. In order to escape the violence, families fled to the area around Venice. As the wars escalated, so did the population in that area. Before long all the land was developed, and only water was left.
And here is where it gets incredible. Not willing to expose their loved ones to death, the people cut trees and used them as the foundation for their buildings. Certain species of trees become hard as stone when soaked in saltwater. Something as hard as stone makes a darned solid foundation.
Now the buildings on top of these trees couldn’t be built the same way my house is built. The joints of these buildings had to be flexible – the building needed to be able to sway to and fro a bit as water slapped up against its walls. So that’s how they were built.
As I write this, I’m smiling. What an incredible story of overcoming obstacles. But when you think about it, the people had the most powerful motivation there is – the motivation of love.