Post by bixaorellana on Sept 18, 2019 22:38:51 GMT
Rather than start off with quotes and links about a city whose beauty is reason enough for it to exist, I'll plunge right in with pictures and the source of the title quote.
I arrived on a rainy afternoon in May of this year. Disembarking from the crowded vaporetto which transported me from the railroad station to the Rialto Bridge, I attempted to capture the crush of tourists on the bridge ~
I wended my way through the bewildering squares and tiny streets of Venice. At one point I backtracked thinking the directive to turn left couldn't possibly be correct. It was, though -- it turned out that I had to ascend the steps of a church, then descend them from the side in order to reach the street I needed. The square of Santa Maria Formosa in the Castello district was my objective. Here I huddled from the rain under the green awning to await my contact ~
Having fallen instantly under Venice's spell, I dumped my luggage in my apartment near the square & set out into the drizzle to see what I could see. The echoes of the long-ago alliance with Byzantium were everywhere in evidence. Oh, what the heck -- here's a lengthy history link.
In Venice, it's almost impossible not to want to take a picture at the sight of any canal ~
The city seems not so much to be crumbling, but rather melting ~
Even though my objective was St. Mark's, I came upon it unawares, since the phone directions treat Venice's narrow alleys and arcades as regular streets. Thus it was that I popped out of a narrow space darkened by ancient looming buildings on either side to be astounded by a vision of impossible beauty ~
This is what I first beheld of this proud basilica which seems to float in Venice's watery air. And this is only the side ~
Around the front and into the square ~
Much more to be explored over there to right and to the left on another day, but for now more pictures of the square. You'll see some of these pictures again in a separate thread on St. Mark's basilica and square -- I have to do something with the 83 I took. I make no apologies for the excess. Of all the exquisite, timeless sights I saw in Italy, the thing that completely took my breath away was St. Mark's.
Looking across to San Giorgio Maggiore on its own island ~
Last Edit: Oct 4, 2019 5:17:58 GMT by bixaorellana: added link to thread on St. Mark's
Magnificent scenery. I always worry about the future of building sitting in water, though. Considering how many ancient buildings I have seen sitting in water just about everywhere in the world, I know I am being irrational.
I still have not been to Venice although I have been promising myself that I will get there sooner or later for the last 30 years or so. One thing that I decided long ago was then when I go it will be in the winter. Bixa didn't have this problem since there was plenty of rain when she was there, but I have been told by dozens of people that the canals stink in the summer heat -- and there are also the crowds. I hope that it is not flooding whenever I finally go, but I'm sure that the acqua alta has a certain charm, too, as long as it is moderate.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 19, 2019 21:49:53 GMT
Thanks for the supportive words, you all!
Kerouac, the stinky canal question comes up all the time on Italian travel discussion groups. Apparently it is something that has happened in the past, but rarely. As it happened, I arrived just a couple of days after some flooding, so it's all a roll of the dice. As far as summer heat -- I got there on May 19 and left on the 24th and there wasn't a single hot day. Really, there were no uncomfortably hot days anywhere until I got to Rome (June 5 to 11).
Addressing both LaGatta & Kerouac re: crowds -- Yes, tourists and lots of them. Even so, I would go back at the same time of year again because I just adored Venice. It's extremely commercial and the background sound is that of spinner suitcases on pavement, but none of it takes away one whit from the magic that is Venice. Really, I consider all my photographs to be failures because none truly captures the enchantment of all that magnificent architecture impossibly suspended in that light which exists nowhere else.
It appears that Venice loved me back, as it graciously named a street after me ~
And speaking of streets, I'll now lead you to my apartment there, which was just off Campo Maria Formosa, shown in the 2nd through 6th pictures in the OP.
I happily resided in Castello, the largest of Venice’s six sestiere/neighborhoods ~
The space surrounding the church is very large, with stores, cafes, and all kinds of temporary things ~
The present church dates from 1492 and is built on the site of one from the 7th century ~
To get to my apartment, we go through that little street straight ahead, to the left of Hotel Scandinavia. Incidentally, should any Anyport members be going to Venice & wishing for information on the lovely place I stayed, just let me know.
The stores were shuttered when I took this picture at night, but in the day sparkle with acres of Murano glass and other treasures. Turn left ~
It's narrow here!
Yes, I was mildly alarmed when I saw the place on Google Street View, but it was perfect & I loved it ~
A little ways down from my place was the tourist-draw Libreria Acqua Alta with its patio sporting booksteps so you can look over the wall into a canal ~
Bixa: The photos are lovely, every one. Your love of Venice shows through.
With cheap Easy Jet flights from Paris to Treviso, I visited Venice many times. Even if I was going on to Trieste, Bolzano, Udine, Gorizia, Trento (I love that corner of Italy) or Slovenia, I stayed a few days in Venice. Also in all my travels it was the only place I was pickpocketed. I was leaving Harry's Bar and a group of bitsy boys all fingers got me. I still remember sitting exhausted at a cafe in St. Marks and watching the waiter write the charge of 13.50 E for my no frills espresso on the paper table cloth. I laughed and so did he, but I paid. The crowds of now were not present.
Ah, so kind, Huckle! I think everyone who has been to Venice identifies with my frustration on the pictures. I sort of felt like those Victorians trying to capture fairies on film in the garden. A shame about the theft, but it seems it did not sour you on the city, nor did the nosebleed charge for an espresso. If that was in pre-crowd days, what could they be charging now?! I thought 10€ for a (big) beer in a tourist trap cafe in Rome was bad, and that was this year. I am jealous of your being able to enjoy it without the throngs. Be prepared to have me badger you for travel insights to those other places one of these days, as I am tempted to follow in your footsteps.
Thank you, LaGatta. There will be more and more!
Right now we're going to go shopping. Even people without a trace of buyitis can be drawn into window shopping in Venice.
It seems I only took one picture of Murano glass. There was so much of it I guess I thought I'd snap more later. As you see, some items can be too too cutesy, but the workmanship is fabulous. And the jewelry runs the range from gawdy to very elegant indeed ~
Speaking of elegant, Italians often seem to have written the book on that, and there are luxury goods aplenty in Venice ~
Look ~ Jimmy Choo designed some shoes just for me!
The shop showing these delicate ceramics was right on St. Mark's and the colors seem to reflect that dazzling water view from the square ~
Of course you have to have lots and lots of this for some of those items ...
But the produce from land and sea is affordable here and the views are free ~
I still remember sitting exhausted at a cafe in St. Marks and watching the waiter write the charge of 13.50 E for my no frills espresso on the paper table cloth. I laughed and so did he, but I paid. The crowds of now were not present.
The most I've ever paid for a coffee in Italy is two and a half euro so I guess that tells you the kind of places I frequent there! I am usually a little annoyed if it's over one. I think if you go before May and the cruise season opening, you'll see it significantly more quiet. After the daytrippers leave in the early evening is even better, it can actually be pretty serene if not ever serenissima.
Another way to get serenity is to wander around in the rain. I like rain, although my camera doesn't, and if ever a city might look even better on a rainy day, that city would be Venice. Here are a few shots as I scampered from pillar to post between showers. There will be more of this sort of thing as the thread ambles on.
This is the facade of the deconsecrated church, Santa Maria dei Derelitti which makes me think of audition shots for the cowardly lion ~
Great pics, Bixa. It's probably impossible to take lousy pictures in Venice, at least from the subject's point of view. Everything seems picturesque. I think the rain doesn't pose problems since it's a city built on water and the umbrellas add colour.
I last went to Venice in 1984, in November. It was foggy but that just created an interesting atmosphere. As far as smelly canals go, I think it has been cleaned up a lot since my first visit in 1970 when gray plastic bags of garbage floated on the canals. Don't remember much smell though and it was July.
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 20, 2019 17:32:44 GMT
Thanks, Bjd and good point about how atmospheric Venice is. You were just a teen student back in 1970, weren't you? Even though the city has been a tourist destination for centuries, I imagine that aspect was much less intense than it is now. Even fourteen years later, it must have been pleasantly uncrowded compared to now.
I do have more to show, but for now will just wind up the moody rain shots before moving on to other stuff. That should make everyone happy, yes?
The Rialto bridge in the rain and not sagging under the weight of visitors ~
Some of you may enjoy puzzling this out. I did find that "urbis conditae" means "from the founding of the city", i.e. 1591 was 1,170 years after it was founded ~
The next two shots were taken only two minutes apart, meaning that in the space of two minutes I went two centuries back into the past ~
Me in costume, striding purposefully along in the rain ~
Just stunning Bixa , reading this ...it makes me realise just how much I missed ; maybe because when I visited I stayed on the Lido Venezia and maybe my memory is failing me because it was years ago certainly before digital photography. One thing I do remember was the behind the scenes tour of the Doges palace which was my stand out experience.
Thank you, Lugg! Funnily enough, going through my pictures and looking stuff up is making me realize how much I missed, too. For me, Venice was such a longed for experience which delivered so dazzlingly, that I need more than one visit to take it in better or just to enjoy it again. Your Doges palace tour sounds like such an exceptional experience -- wow!
Now for a little bit of a religious interlude. Venice seems light on the angels in the architecture, but does sport quite a few saints ~
This is San Giovanni Grisostomo. I believe I entered it because of a touted display. That turned out to be some clunky contemporary terra cotta pieces which were for sale. But moving further into the church revealed treasure ~
Saints Christopher, Jerome and Louis of Toulouse by Giovanni Bellini, 1513 ~
St. Joseph seems to be fairly dancing as they flee into Egypt ~
The Virgin with St. Dominic and Saint Theresa ~
The Coronation of the Virgin, by Tullio Lombardo 1500–1502 ~
The photos continue to be amazing. So crisp and clear. Keep posting.
And if you haven't seen these movies, they might help keep Venice in your mind. Bread and Tulips is a sweet, sweet story of a woman abandoned by her family at a turnpike stop, says the hell with it and goes on to Venice to find love with Bruno Ganz. If you can find it, the twisted, creepy Anima Persa, a film in French and Italian featuring Vittorio Gassman at his most handsome and the super lovely Catherine Deneuve is good on visual Venice. The story doesn't really need the dialogue being clear from the visuals.
There are many others but to me these two were the best of the lot
Post by bixaorellana on Sept 21, 2019 13:56:53 GMT
Thank you so much, Huckle! And thank you for those recommendations. I'm glad to be reminded of Bread & Tulips, which has been on a semi-forgotten list of must-sees for a while. Bruno Ganz is a plus! And I owe it to Vittorio Gassman to finally see him in something other than the risible Bitter Rice. Catherine Deneuve is a plus! I am in awe of your encyclopedic knowledge of good cinema.
What a fabulous school trip, Mick! I think I might have been even a couple of years older than 16 the first time I had pizza. It wasn't always a universal food!
Before moving on to an artistic interlude -- it was, after all a Biennale year -- here are some walking around shots. Those who know Venice will note that not all the pictures in this group are in logical order. Just be grateful that they don't all feature rain.
Post by cheerypeabrain on Sept 21, 2019 18:13:52 GMT
How you manage to get such atmospheric shots of alleyways, nooks and crannies amazes me. I havent been to Venice but it does look amazing...my favourite image has to be the cat but the architecture is stunning...love the warmth of the brick and the squashed up mush mash of styles of architecture, windows and doors especially. Canals? There are canals ?
Everything looks perfect, obviously. Strangely enough, I am wondering if I would get tired of the water everywhere. I actually get tired of the canals in Amsterdam.
One of the best things about Bread and Tulips is that it takes place away from the touristy areas. I have absolutely nothing against the touristy areas and will rush there when I finally go, but it was a relief to see more of a "real" city in that movie.
And that makes me wonder if the canals now stink less because the population of Venice has declined so radically due to tourism. Not saying that Venetians were responsible for the stink, but just the fact that so many fewer people live there makes it obvious that there would be less pollution.
The population was 154,000 in the 1930's and it is now down to 60,000 (+ 20 million tourists).
Awww ~ thank you, Cheery! Some atmospheric shots are the result of getting lost and others of "wonder what's down this way". When I first got to Florence I was thrilled because everything looked straight out of Renaissance paintings. In Venice, somehow that thrill did not abate in the least. You would love it. And when you just aren't feeling culture-vultureish, there's always tons of fun shopping to do.
I suppose it's impossible to objectively address whether or not you would tire of the canals in Venice, Kerouac, but I will say the feeling of the Venetian canals is light years apart from the ones in Amsterdam. Even though everything about the engineering of Amsterdam so that people might live there is astounding, it manages to impress because of the weight of practicality and yes, history. Venice just feels much older and as though it sprang there from an enchantment. You feel you might see a figure from the past rounding the next corner. The reason the word magical is used ad nauseam to describe it is because it's so apt. Your logic re: less stink appears faulty. All those extra tourists have to be making an impact on the drainage system.
Now we're off on an artsy excursion. There's that bridge again ~
I fairly dashed down this street to see the glassy wiggles ~
The street dead ends here. Ooooo ~
Looking back the other way ~
Onward, admiring sights along the way ~
Now, what's this?
This is the Palazzo Mora, which turns out to be far bigger inside than would seem possible. It is hosting various pavilions of the Biennale ~
Yes,20 million tourists would make a far greater imprint, especially as compared with the somehwhat larger number of pre-war inhabitants, at a time when people consumed and polluted far less. I discovered Venice with a friend of a friend, who had to leave it in haste at 17 as he was in a resistance network and there was a death warrant out for him. I can't even imagine how he made it to Switzerland. Remember, all of Italy was fascist, and what was friendly neighbour Austria had been incorporated into Nazi Germany and no longer existed as a separate country. After the war he had a successful career as a lawyer and did much to defend both injured and poisoned workers and local people affected by the pollution of the laguna.
The people inside Palazzo Mora were extremely friendly and told me to roam around as I wished. It's fun to go up and around into rooms large and small. This was the first work I encountered. We'll pass through it now and circle back to it in a bit ~
Back to the Black Forest ~
And out the door of the forest to admire the roofs of Venice ~
I wondered what you would see of the Biennale since I knew it was on when you were there.
As for stinky canals, I was thinking more along the lines of older Venetians having the habit of tossing buckets of garbage into the canal from their windows. Tourists would not behave the same, I hope.
Those grey tabbies are called Soriani, supposedly of Syrian origin and common in Venice. I do trust that the ginger cat was wearing a harness, not a collar that would have hanged him. I am so glad to have balconies!
As for my friend, he was very impressive and impeccably dressed as one would imagine a Venetian barrister. But he fought a losing battle against the pigeons, who destroyed one of his beautiful white shirts as he was showing me around Venice! Had a great sense of humour. Hard to imagine him as a terrified 17-year-old with a death warrant who had to cross fascist territory to unsure and precarious haven in Switzerland.