Friday, May 23, 2014

The Lagoon Set Off to Best Effect

Part of Murano against a backdrop of mountains, last week after a storm
The first time I visited Venice as a teenager I had no idea mountains were anywhere in sight around the lagoon. And even the second time, a little less than a decade later, when I stayed here for a few weeks, I still think I left in doubt, if not complete ignorance of their existence (were those vague shapes along the horizon simply low cloud banks?). I strongly suspect that most of the estimated 20 million visitors to the city each year also leave without, for one reason or another, ever really seeing them, which is too bad, as the lagoon rarely looks lovelier than when set off by them.

Of course the main obstacle to seeing them is that they aren't really clearly visible all that often, but are typically obscured by haze or smog or low clouds. They're most likely to appear on cold winter days, or the day after a strong windy storm has blown through town. The mountains then show up after all the meteorological drama as a kind of encore, seeming paradoxically (like much of the built city itself) both chimerical and substantial, almost too beautiful to be believed.

The eastern Alps visible behind Burano, whose leaning campanile can be glimpsed through the door of the vaporetto stop
A panorama of Murano (which, like all images on this site, can be enlarged with a click)


  1. Miss those mountains, so close and so many memories....

    Thanks for the photos.

    1. As if the lagoon itself isn't beautiful enough by itself...
      Thanks, Laura.