Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Venice from a Different Perspective

The good ship Raptus of Sestante di Venezia
As a Venetian friend, born and bred, told me a couple of years ago, "There are two Venices: one you see on foot and with the vaporetti, another that requires your own boat." But what if you don't have your own boat, and don't have the hundreds and hundreds of euros it would cost to rent a water taxi for a few hours?

Well, one more affordable option is offered by a friend of ours, Fabio, in the form of "eco-sustainable tours" around the lagoon, either in a smaller flat-bottomed motorboat with room for 11, or a larger boat (pictured above) with room for as many as 56 people.

The name of his company is Sestante di Venezia, and you can see a complete description of the variety of tours available--not just on boats, but on foot and on bikes as well--at (in Italian and English).
Annual maintenance on a wood boat in a marina on the south side of Giudecca
This past Saturday I booked a place on a photography boat tour in the lagoon south of San Giorgio Maggiore. At present, it seems like the details of the photography excursion page are available only in Italian (, but what particularly interested me was that on each of these outings (or uscite) a professional photographer is along to answer questions and provide pointers. A list of the photographers with whom Sestante di Venezia works is available on the page above, along with links to each photographer's website (which are in English). Last Saturday the photographer was Joan Porcel Pascual.

The church of Le Zitelle seen from the south lagoon
What I didn't expect was that mounted on a table in the center of the boat was what looked to be about a 23-inch computer monitor. This meant that you could download your images onto Joan's laptop computer during the cruise itself and review them on the large screen for on-the-fly (or on-the-float) evaluations. As well allowing for a more comprehensive discussion of a variety of images taken by various members of the group on the tour--whoever was willing--when we moored along the Zattere after the sun had set. 

The lack of boat traffic and waves in the south lagoon makes it the ideal place to learn to row...
Unfortunately, I was so taken with the sights outside of the boat that I didn't end up shooting any images of the inside of the roomy open-air boat, as I'd planned to. But there are images of the inside of the boat, in which one can move around freely and shoot in any direction, on the Sestante di Venezia Facebook page. It's worth checking out, as are these photography cruises themselves. well as for more experienced rowers to train
It was the unsustainability of these unsightly--but job-producing--industries on Giudecca (foreground) and Marghera (background) that has led Venice to depend so largely on tourism in recent decades
Sunset as seen from the south lagoon


  1. Thank you very much for this post! Your photographs are so good; you must be happy with them.

    I've had this tour in my planning folder for about 2 years. Time to get off my butt and do something about it, next visit.

    1. Thanks, Yvonne, it was a fun time. I easily could have left my camera in its bag and been equally happy just puttering slowly around the lagoon. I look forward to seeing what you might do or have to say about such a voyage when you take one.

  2. I wrote to them to ask about the rates and availibility in November, thank you!

    1. You're welcome, Sasha, it was a fun time and I'm curious now about some of the other things they do.