Thursday, January 28, 2016

Double Vision in Piazza San Marco: The Build-Up to Carnevale

Watching the workmen in Piazza San Marco late yesterday afternoon hurrying to complete the large stage and its extensions before the activities of Carnevale begin in earnest this weekend I found myself feeling sorry for any designer charged with the task of devising a set of magical temporary structures in what has long been one of the most fantastic squares in Europe. Even the most whimsical vision realized in lumber has no hope of ever competing with just the basilica of San Marco alone, its eccentricities and excesses and exoticism. It's that strange instance in which something especially constructed for a holiday can't help but be rather dull compared to the same old structure you see everyday.


  1. That's exactely what I feel (from my remote point of view at my screen). And furthermore the construction spoils the breathtaking impression of the piazza.

    I think it's a nice piece of work in the renaissance tradition of temporary triumph constructions but they shouldn't have put it in the piazza. Maybe at the Lido or at the Tronchetto to have this dull place tarted up a bit... :-)

    1. They can be quite impressive constructions, Brigitte, but it's a losing proposition. This year is interesting, though, in that they have additional little pavilions in extending out from the main stage in which local artisans can actually work--for example, do the kind of wood carving involved in boat construction. But I have to see how that all works out in practice...