Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dead End Venice: Two of My Favorites

There's so much advice available on visiting Venice that I rarely feel compelled to give any more. But I will suggest to any visitor who likes to walk that if you don't find the calle you're on abruptly ending in water at least three times a day you're probably spending too much time on the main thoroughfares.

Never mind Piazza San Marco and the Doges Palace and Salute, dead ends (as films like Don't Look Now and The Comfort of Strangers underline) are a quintessentially Venetian aesthetic experience--and those that involve a sottoportego (a passage way beneath a building), as in the images above and below, especially so.

In a city of famous views these sottoporteghi act as the perfect frames, enclosing a representative fragment of the whole: glassy green water, brick, stone architectural elements, and the effects of time, all on an intimate, domestic scale. It's close as you'll find--when the light is just right--to a bit of Vermeer in Venice.


  1. Dead-end calli? It has happened frequently and I always hope no-one is looking (and sniggering) when I have to make an about-turn!

    1. Just pretend the surprise cut off was actually your destination all along, Rosalind, and no one will know the difference! Actually, there are some dead ends which, once stumbled upon, can easily become destinations in themselves.