Sea defences were built on the Lido in the 18th century to protect the island from erosion and the Venetian lagoon from Mediterranean storms. Right at the Southern tip of the Lido, where the old forts used to overlook the ships coming in, these defences have lead to the tide piling up sand into dunes up to nine metres high. In this way, a large-scale human engineering project has inadvertently resulted in the creation of an entirely new habitat.
There, the dunes nature reserve managed by the World Wildlife Fund is partly covered in dense forest; partly it is open shrub land. It borders the tidy Alberoni beach resort, where ‘Death in Venice’ was filmed. A now abandoned workers union holiday resort sits opposite the exclusive golf club constructed in the sand in the 1920s. Boats and the water as a means of transport are ever present, and a regular car ferry links the town of Alberoni with the island of Pellestrina in the South. The strategic location of this place is evident in the presence of the obsolete fortress and today’s shipping control tower. This project surfaces this human-made habitat, which enabled so much to emerge, to be tried, to be used and to be left behind, when no longer required.