House Boats on the Regent’s canal near Little Venice, London
When walking or cycling along the canals for the first times, either in Little Venice or in the lovely Regent’s canal in East London, you will notice those barges moored on the banks. People live there all year round and chose this type of life for financial reasons for example or for the sense of community this lifestyle creates. In the UK you can either constantly be on the move and change place regularly, undertaking “continuous cruising” as set up by the local authorities; or you can find a permanent mooring and set up something that looks like more of a “house”. According to the Resident Boat Owners Association this may be difficult though, due to a lack of appropriate moorings. Among other activities, the Association works to encourage marina developers to include moorings for residential purposes explaining the benefits this can generate: the provision of security and environmental control to the marina thanks to the presence of residents all-year-round, the generation of income for the neighbourhood and diversification of affordable housing types in the area.
Googling info about houseboats in Italy I got many results related to holidays, but not much info about residential use. In fact, river houseboats are not very common as there is a similar problem with mooring as in the UK and our rivers and canals experience a lack of infrastructures. It is also difficult to set up a permanent address in a marina, as the local authorities are not quite organised for this. Anyway Rome has few barges and house boats and on Milan’s Navigli some of them have been reconverted in bars – www.scimmie.it is a famous one.
Also, Gloria Aura Bortolini, an Italian videomaker produced a documentary called London Afloat