No, it´s not Venice! The picture shows one of the rare spots in town, where you can still see one of the canals running through Bologna. It was the most efficient water-supplying system in the world in the days of Dante (1265-1321), the river water was used to supply a wide net of canals and Bologna always had enough water from the Apennine foothills. Boccaccio founded a big textile manufacturing industry (Armani is still producing here) and connected Bologna to the Adriatic sea. The neighbourhood (quatiere) Porto is a reminiscence to the old days – it was the port area, where the ships from the Adriatic sea would get loaded.
These Canals and the Via Emilia (completed 187 B.C. and still running through town) made Bologna a main traffic knot and one of the biggest and richest cities in Europe at that time.