Venice

Venice has always been an important trading partner, the door to the east. Today, Venice is still a thriving city due to mass tourism. Unfortunately the city is being trampled to death leaving its own folk no alternative but to leave due to dilapidation of the city’s foundations & infrastructure.

Venice

Venice has always been an important trading partner, the door to the east. Today, Venice is still a thriving city due to mass tourism. Unfortunately the city is being trampled to death leaving its own folk no alternative but to leave due to dilapidation of the city’s foundations & infrastructure.

Venice

Venice has always been an important trading partner, the door to the east. Today, Venice is still a thriving city due to mass tourism. Unfortunately the city is being trampled to death leaving its own folk no alternative but to leave due to dilapidation of the city’s foundations & infrastructure.

Photo Hotspots

Piazza San Marco

Murano

Grand Canal

Rialto Bridge

Certosa

Basilica Di Santa Maria Della Salute

Santa Maria Degli Angeli

Riva Degli Schiavoni

Bridge Of Sighs

Harry's Bar

Calle Larga XXII Marzo

Campo Santo Stefano

Rio De La Fava

Pesaro Palace & Ca’ D’ Oro

Rialto Market

Tribunale Amministrativo Regionale

Campo San Polo

Guglie

Tronchetto

Fondamenta Dei Vertrai

Colour Gallery

Venice in August isn’t really advisable due to massive overcrowding & the intense heat but after a last minute change of plan to visit Val d’Orcia in Tuscany I had instead just four days at hand & decided on a short trip to Venice with the bus from Munich. From those four days I slept just once in a Hotel on the island of Certosa while the rest of my time was spent shooting material day & night, especially at night where the lagoon city is so peaceful. During the day though it was unbearable, too warm & way too many people. Like ants marching through the tight lanes, barely taking in what they were passing, others only interested in the boutiques & special offers in souvenir shops, totally crazy. I am nonetheless happy that I was there to document a few of those magical photographic opportunities & hopefully also to of captured a little of that mystical, romantic atmosphere that only Venice has to offer.

CHIESA DI SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE

The Benedictine church on the island of the same name was erected between 1566 & 1610 & was built in the classical renaissance style. The white façade makes the church a real eyecatcher from the Piazzetta (St. Marks Square) opposite & has often been a subject for artists like Monet or Turner in the past.

BASILICA DI SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE

This Barock church situated on the mouth to the Grand Canal in the district of Dorsoduro was built not just as a reminder to those that died of the plague in 1630 but to the Virgin Mary who was thought to be the protector of the Republic. The church was completed in 1687.

IL DOLOMITI

With my view from St. Marks Campanile early in the morning to the north west I had a beautiful clear view of the Italian Alps including the Dolomiti Bellunesi National Park some 125 km away.

SANTA MARIA DEGLI ANGELI

A towering mass of Cumulus built up behind this 12th century Murano church that used to be home to nuns from the most prestigious families of Venice in the late afternoon as I set off on the ferry back to Venice.

SPLISH SPLASH

These guys were either in a hurry or just wanted to hang out the macho image as they overtook our ferry & cut in very close in front of us.

ABOVE THE DOMES OF ST. MARKS

This close-up of the domes of St. Marks Basilica gives an impression just how old this church is & the craftsmanship of those that built this monumental architectural masterpiece in the 11th century.

RIVA DEGLI SCHIAVONI

A grand view from the top of the canal bridge spanning the Rio de Palazzo de Canonica canal next to the Doge’s Palace where the Bridge of Sighs is to be admired. Our view extends to the old library of St. Marks with the columns of San Marco & San Teodoro.

PONTE DEI SOSPIRI

Built in white limestone around 1600 the Bridge of Sighs spans the Rio di Palazzo canal connecting the New Prison with the interrogation rooms of the Doge’s Palace.

UNDER THE ARCHES

Looking towards the main area of St. Marks Square with its bell tower from under the arcade of the Doge’s Palace. One thing that went through my mind as I got down to ground level for this shot was just how many feet have walked over these marble stones over the centuries?

DOGE’S PALACE ARCADES

It was 3:00am as I took this shot & although St. Mark’s is fully lit throughout the night there are some lovely moody dark areas as here under the arcade of the Doge’s Palace. The magic of being here at this early hour and having it all to myself as if I had been granted use exclusively is definitely to be judged as a privilege.

GETTING OLD & FRAGILE

The Napoleonic Wing at the far end arcade of St. Mark’s Square is as many other parts of the ancient city showing dramatic signs of fatigue. The ceilings have to be supported as do many of the columns around the square. With flooding in the winter months too it is a battle that eventually nature will win.

MAIN PORTAL, ST. MARK’S BASILICA

The front facade of St. Mark’s Basilica consists of three arches, each displaying gilded mosaics from the life of Christ. This mosaic above the main portal is known as “The Last Judgment”.

PORTO DELLA CARTA, DOGE’S PALACE

Constructed around 1440 the Porta della Carta is a fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture with Venice’s emblem above the door, the winged lion.

WEST ARCADE, PIAZZA SAN MARCO

St. Mark’s Square by night is an almost spiritual experience in comparision to the overcrowding during daylight hours.

DARK CORRIDOR

Looking through the south arches of Arcade Ala Napolionica, across Piazza San Marco to the Campanile.

HARRY’S BAR, HEMINGWAYS LOCAL

Harry’s Bar is world renowned for it’s filmstar clientele but is also home to the Bellini cocktail and Dry Martini Montgomery. The bar is also the founder of Carpaccio by Giuseppe Cipriani in 1936 for the countess Amalia Nani Mocenigo who under doctor’s order was advised to eat raw meat.

CALLE LARGA XXII MARZO

Located just west of Piazza San Marco is boutique mile. This is the Fifth Avenue or Champs Elysees of Venice. Named after the uprising against Austria in March 22, 1848. Before it was named Calle San Moise after the church you see here at the end of the street.

MURANO GLASS SCULPTURE, CAMPO SANTO STEFANO

A trip to Venice wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the island of Murano and it’s world famous glass.

SPEEDBOAT LAGOON

No stretch of water in Italy should be without the elegant Riva, a classical Italian speedboat design. These boats are fast & very agile.

TIME FOR REFLECTION

With the sun shimmering over the Grand Canal the water makes for sunny summer holiday mood.

“The winter light in this city! It has the extraordinary property of enhancing your eye’s power of resolution to the point of microscopic precision—the pupil humbles any Hasselblad lens and develops your subsequent memories to National Geographicsharpness. The sky is brisk blue, the sun, escaping its golden likeness beneath the foot of San Giorgio, sashays over the countless fish scales of the lagoon’s lapping ripples; behind you, under the colonnades of the Palazzo Ducale, a bunch of stocky fellows in fur coats are revving up Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, just for you, slumped in your white chair and squinting at the pigeons’ maddening gambits on the chessboard of a vast piazza. The espresso at your cup’s bottom is the only small black dot in, you feel, a miles-long radius.”

―Joseph Brodsky

A NEW DAY HAS DAWNED ON ST. MARKS SQUARE

Having worked through the night non-stop I was glad to see the sun light up the stage once more and although cloudless the soft warm tones did the Doge’s justice once again. On the down side you notice just how quickly the city starts to fill with the first wave of visitors.

PRINCESS FOR A DAY

Couples come from all corners of the earth come to get married in Venice or at least to get dolled up for their wedding pictures, not surprising really, a more romantic setting is difficult to find I would imagine.

STORMY NIGHT

I was in for a treat here I thought. I wasn’t to be disappointed either. A real cracker of a storm lighting here the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore captured from the Fondamenta Zattere Ai Saloni in Dorsoduro.

SIGN OF THE TIMES

A case of hopelessness is probably the most appropriate form for describing the state of the run down facades of Venice. A city without future, too expensive to restore & impossible to save. Maybe it is better so, at the end it proves that nature is the ruler of our existance and not we humans.

SOUVENIR TURISTICI

If Venice ever does disappear from the face of the earth then Italy would probably lose more money from the tourists than it would cost to recreate Venice from scratch.

THE BRIDGE OF SIGHS

Legend has it that lovers will be granted eternal love and happiness if they kiss at sunset on a gondola under the bridge at the toll of the bells of St. Mark’s.

MODERN SEAFARER

Despite years of debate over the impact of large cruise liners being maneuvered through the lagoon from the Adriatic to navigate their way down the Giudecca Canal to the international cruise ship terminal Tronchetto the Italian Government has done nothing to stop this madness.

MONEY, MONEY, MONEY

Sad as it seems it is all about milking the cow as long as possible. The Italians are willing so it seems to sacrifice their heritage for money. Unfortunately, as a tourist in Venice you notice very quickly that all they want is your cash & as much of it as they can possibly relieve you of before you leave the lagoon. Sad really because it destroys the illusion of “La dolce Vita” a little.

SUNRISE, TIME TO TOP UP FOR THE NEXT WAVE OF TOURISTS

From about 6:00am the street vendors, delivery services, caterers and linen services are all working full swing to deliver the city with everything that we tourists need to survive. Beverages, snacks & sweets for en route, toilet paper, clean sheets & towels for the hotel rooms, not to mention everything that the restaurants and cafes need to keep its endless torrent of customers happy.

GONDOLA SUNRISE OVER SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE

There is a very appropriate word that describes particular venues that everybody takes pictures of, “Iconic”. This shot is such an “Icon”, it has been shot a million times yet we all hope that ours is better or different. Well, I’m not sure that I would win a prize with this one but I am very happy that I too have this view in the bag.

CALL ME A TAXI PLEASE

I don’t think I would ever get used to living in Venice. I wonder how many drunken people have fallen into the canals on their way home or after leaving a restaurant thinking that the car is just a few meters away. Well I stayed dry during my stay but then I was sober ;-)

GONDOLA ARTIGIANATO

Gondolas are handmade using 8 different types of wood (fir, oak, cherry, walnut, elm, mahogany, larch and lime) and are composed of 280 individual pieces. The oar is made from beech wood. Many are very ornate with many carvings as in this example.

RIALTO BRIDGE, SPANNING HISTORY

A real pity but I was unfortunate to see the Rialto partly covered in tarpaulins and scaffolding. The Rialto is the oldest of the four bridges spanning the Grand Canal connecting the districts of San Marco with San Polo & was completed in 1591 succeeding a wooden construction of similar look.

HANDLE WITH CARE

This image of St. Mark’s Square in the early hours shows just how delapidated the main structures have become over the years. Many of the arches and columns along the arcades are crumbling and sinking leaving them tilted & having to be supported by iron reinforcements.

SAN GIORGIO MAGGIORE

Peace has returned to the lagoon, no cruise liners, no Vaporetti, no water taxis jettying past & the Gondolas are moored up for the short night. Everybody is tucked up in bed, this is my time to start working.

MUSICAL ACCOMPANIMENT

Caffè Lavena was opened way back in 1750 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Situated next to the basilica on St. Mark’s Square it has & still is visited by the rich and famous. You have to be rich too as the prices, especially when the string quintet are playing are well spiced. The cafe’s most prominent guest was the composer Richard Wagner who visited on a daily basis.

RIO DE LA FAVA

This is my vision of the true Venice. I was so excited as I found this secluded spot with such a grand view I forgot about my aching shoulders from carrying equipment for a while and just sat down & enjoyed what I had in front of me. A memorable moment indeed.

LOST IN TIME

Another view of the Rio de la Fava, this time from a slightly different angle & focal length, more central. In the distance is the Ponte de la Fava. As you may see there are no streets either side of the canal meaning a 10 minute walk through a labyrinth of alleys to reach it. That’s typical for Venice.

CANALE GRANDE

“Il classico!” Of course when in Venice a shot of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge is a must do. Also late evening the canal is quite busy, not just in the restaurants but on the water too. Water taxis & Vaporetti transporting guests to and from their evening meals. The weather is warm & most enjoyable.

VENETIAN EYESORE

Just as the Germans are considered to be ultra efficient, the Italians are known for their style. If only a part of these Clichés were true. Can somebody explain to me for example why, if the Italians are so stylish that they have built such ugly, modern water taxi stations along the canals? They could have built them a little more in the style of the houses and palaces behind them. Sorry Venice, zero out of ten points for these eyesores.

“In Venice, things are not always as they first appear. I contemplate this observation from my post on the aft deck of one of Master Fumagalli’s gondolas, taking in the panorama of bridges, domes, bell towers, and quaysides of my native city. I row into the neck of the Grand Canal, and, one by one, the reflection of each colorful façade appears, only to dissipate into wavering, shimmering shards under my oar.”

― Laura Morelli, The Gondola Maker

PESARO PALACE & CA’ D’ORO

Early evening on the northern curve of the Grand Canal shooting some of the pretty palaces lining its shore. In the foreground we have the Pesaro Palace Hotel, a restored palace & noble accomodation in typical Venetian style. To the left is Ca’ d’Oro, one of the city’s oldest palace’s. Today it is a public gallery left to the Italian state by collector baron Giorgio Franchetti.

MERCATO DI RIALTO

The Rialto market was the most important trading area in Venice & one of the first established settlements in the city. Here we see a side canal next to the fish market area. Today the market is just as important as ever where the locals still buy their fish, fresh fruit & vegetables.

CAMPO ERBERIA

Just a stones throw from the Rialto Bridge & close to the daily markets of Rialto we have a magnificant view by twilight of the Venetian houses & palaces lining the northern curve of the Grand Canal.

TRIBUNALE AMMINISTRATIVO REGIONALE PER IL VENETO

Which basically means…..Courthouse. And exactly that is what you see from the opposite side of the Grand Canal from the courtyard of the church of San Stae, it’s the building with the red gondola moorings.

READY FOR CARNIVAL?

No, Carnivale di Venezia isn’t in August but in cold February each year. This young lady is showing off her wares to the passing tourists hoping for donations. Well if this is the general look for carnival then I might just pop down again in February next year. Stayed posted.

CAMPO SAN POLO

Campo San Polo is after St. Mark’s Square the second largest square in Venice. The Well you can see here is one of very few in Venice. The square has seen many bullfights, masked balls & mass sermons in its history. Today it is still a popular venue for open-air concerts, carnival events & screenings during the Venice Film Festival.

MASCHERA DI CARNEVALE DI VENEZIA

Carnevale di Venezia takes place annually in the middle of February and although not the warmest time of the year it is in any case a magnet that draws the world to experience its mask events. You can buy them the whole year round from cheap & nasty to eloquent & expensive.

GUGLIE TO GRAND CANAL

With a visitors day pass you can get an overview of Venice in no time using the Vaporetti plus enjoy a light breeze through your hair when the air otherwise stands still in unbearable August. in addition you avoid the overcrowded streets and get some interesting shooting angles to boot.

TWO LOCALS

Surprisingly I didn’t see that many cats in Venice and these two gems were the prettiest ones in any case. Enjoying the rising sun & watching the tourists swarm by the whole day, not having to work or care about doing the shopping or how to open the sardine tins at teatime…….

READY FOR BREAKFAST

These cheeky little Sparrows know where to eat out it seems as an English breakfast for just 7€ wouldn’t even be possible in England but as Italy isn’t known as accommodating the budget tourist I am sure there are extras involved such as paying for ones own cutlery and for the luxury of sitting outside with the local Sparrows.

“The experts are right, he thought. Venice is sinking. The whole city is slowly dying. One day the tourists will travel here by boat to peer down into the waters, and they will see pillars and columns and marble far, far beneath them, slime and mud uncovering for brief moments a lost underworld of stone. Their heels made a ringing sound on the pavement and the rain splashed from the gutterings above. A fine ending to an evening that had started with brave hope, with innocence. (“Don’t Look Now”)”

― Daphne du Maurier, Echoes from the Macabre: Selected Stories

MORNING PEACE

The sun is rising and the tourists are on their way into the lagoon city but it’ll take at least another hour before they like marching ants are everywhere. Venice in August is “Overcrowding” the keyword.

PICCOLO CANALE

Like a labyrinth separating houses from another throughout the lagoon the canals of Venice are unique and around almost every corner is the the promise of the next canal, bridge or square to be admired.

LA DOLCE VITA

Terracotta colour walls where the plasterwork is crumbling or even non existent, other areas covered in deep green with the odd bloom. In the foreground a row of tables with bright yellow tablecloths and black iron chairs. The perfect venue in a quiet Venetian side street to enjoy that romantic candlelit dinner.

VISIONS OF CUBA

I haven’t been to Cuba before but everybody knows the classic imagery of run down house facades & iron, flower clad balconies, maybe even the odd washing line here & there well folks, it’s all been copied from here I would assume.

TRANSPORT WITH TRADITION

It is estimated that there were between 8000-10000 gondolas present in Venice between the 17th and 18th century. Today there are just over four hundred in service, virtually all of them used for hire by tourists wanting to living “La dolce Vita”.

HIGHSPEED BULLETS

Two trains of Trenitalia’s highspeed family. Here in the foreground a Frecciargento ETR 600 with a maximum speed of around 250 km/h (160 mph) and just behind a Frecciarossa ETR 500 with speeds of up to 300 km/h (190 mph).

CUNARD QUEEN VICTORIA

I couldn’t believe my luck as the bus rolled into Tronchetto, Venice’s cruise liner port on the outskirts of the city. The smaller sister to the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth was in town and she is mighty big and impressive.

MAIN STREET FONDAMENTA DEI VERTRAI, MURANO

It was humid and extremely warm as I traversed the main street of Murano from the Vaporetto station on the south of the island at Colonna. Countless glass maker shops and galleries line the street offering some amazing handwork but at just as amazing prices.

ACROSS THE STREET

I can’t think of anything stranger than leaving the house in the morning and making my way to work with a boat. In Venice this is normality.

SKYSCRAPERS VENICE STYLE

Walking through the tight alleyways with that claustrophobic feeling. Depending on where the sun is though these small streets offer cool refuge from the penetrating 33°C-35°C sun of the early afternoon.

“This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty – this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.”

― Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

GETTING DARKER BY THE MINUTE

The sky over Piazza San Marco had changed from a friendly sunny summer afternoon to a dark threatening scenario within the past half hour. Not long before the show begins.

BAD WEATHER FRONT

The weather was beginning to change at an alarming rate. Massive clouds were gathering smothering the once blue sky now with its overwhelming dark grey covering. Time to find a well covered spot before the action starts I thought.

PRIVATE YACHT

A rather nice looking boat was moored just offshore of the Punta della Dogana with the island of Giorgio Maggiore in the background, couldn’t resist that.

BURNING CLOUD

Hard to imagine that just an hour later the sun had made way for a black belt of cloud, thunder, lightning and torrents of rain.

SUN WASHED

Late afternoon on the Grand Canal near the Mercato di Rialto. It was awesome watching the water traffic pass by, sitting on a boat jetty eating some fresh fruit from the market behind me.

BASILICA DI SANTA MARIA DELLA SALUTE

The Basilica, situated on the Punta della Dogana a narrow finger of land between the Grand Canal and Guidecca Canal in the district of Dorsoduro was constructed after the great plague of 1630 where a third of the city’s population were wiped out. The church was built in the then fashionable Baroque style and took 50 years to complete.

VAPORETTO

The Waterbus is a standard means of transport in Venice run by the ACTV but there are other alternatives such as a Water taxi like this one pictured above. They are rented by people wanting a quicker, more relaxed, direct route from A to B.

THUNDER STORM OVER THE GRAND CANAL

A beautiful evening, sunny and warm turned sour. Heavy clouds moved in obscuring the sun, suddenly it was very dark and then the thunder started to roll and the wind started to howl. For the next 2 hours a natural spectacle, the sky constantly lit by bolts of lightning.

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Did You Know?

Venice is becoming a ghost town. In the past 50 years the population has declined from 120,000 to 66,000 due to a number of factors: Primarily Venice hasn’t a long term future due to the ever rising water pegel and deteriorating foundations making restoration work extremely difficult and expensive. Then there is the overcrowding of the lagoon in the summer months from tourists making living conditions almost unbearable for the locals.

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