Venice, Italy, "stretching across 117 small islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea in northeast Italy," may be one of the most amazing places in the world to live. Fans of Donna Leon's fictional detective Guido Brunetti come to know it as a land of good food, water taxis and alleys that dead-end at the water. Having said that Venice is not just a stage set. It is also a city with a resident population, which has productive activities, transportation and services. But how does the “Venice system” work? How do the tides in the lagoon behave? How are the canals formed? And the embankments? What’s under the buildings?