Saturday, December 9, 2023

San Giorgio Maggiore

 I've posted this image before, but still haven't gotten it quite right in terms of conveying the day's fog. I took it with a small Canon point-and-shoot held just above the surface of the water in one hand, with my other hand on the tiller of our small light sandolo-sanpierota, trying to keep it under control in the moto ondoso of the bacino of San Marco. (8 December 2016)

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Carting a Tree Home

At the Christmas tree lot set up each year in front of the church of San Felice (7 December 2013)

Saturday, November 25, 2023

The Lost Princess (Near the Top of the Dome of Santa Maria della Salute)

The Festa della Santa Maria della Salute is all about two things for Venetian kids: helium balloons and sweets, both of which are available in abundance just outside the church. The image above thus contains an implicit (and perhaps predictable) narrative, and is a reminder of why it's best, if at all possible, to delay the purchase of a helium balloon until after the child's visit inside the church, lest the child too literally follow the theme song of this particular princess from the film Frozen and "Let It Go". (21 November 2016)

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Header, Murano

I don't even know how one would reach the above field on foot: it's on the northern edge of Murano, and a small canal passes by it just before it leads one out into the wide lagoon. I only ever saw the field from our boat, and only if I was standing on its prow while my son (7 years old when this pic was taken) drove. I seem to recall that this was how this image (which I'd forgotten all about until coming upon it today) was captured, with my son at the tiller and me standing on the prow--though, given the tricks of memory, it might also be possible that I clambered ashore for a few minutes to take it). (29 November 2015)

Friday, November 10, 2023

Motoscafo (Strictly Speaking)

Everyone knows what one means when one says "vaporetto," but though I've never bothered to make any distinction in all the years I've done this blog, the type of water bus seen above is specifically referred to as a "motoscafo," while the larger style, used on the Number 1 line, is a "vaporetto." But, generally, in every day use, either style is referred to as a vaporetto (except perhaps by some very particular Venetians). (11 November 2014)

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Harvest Time in the Vineyard of the Cemetery Island of San Michele

A sure sign that the book or video you are watching is written by or presented by someone who has no actual experience of living in Venice as any thing other than, at best, a long-term tourist, is when they refer to the city and lagoon as mournful and "redolent of death" and with similar other tired old Romantic cliches that have been lazily repeated for the last two centuries by people more interested in posturing than perceiving (eg, Peter Ackroyd, who, not content with disgorging--I wouldn't call it writing--one of the worst books on the city I've ever read, followed it up with an equally ridiculous BBC series). They have no idea of the local life that's carried on behind the walls of even the cemetery island, as seen above. (22 September 2023)

Friday, September 15, 2023

Council of Elders, Sant' Elena

One of the great deprivations of American life is a social and economic environment which makes possible scenes like the above. Alas, the social and economic environment that gave rise to such scenes in Venice has largely been wiped out there as well. (15 September 2015)

Friday, August 25, 2023

Rowing Lesson

20 August 2017

My son wasn't interested in my first offers to teach him how to row, when he was 7 and 8 years old,  though he loved to be out in boats and drive them. So I imagined that it was something in which he had little interest, and in which he might not ever have any interest. So I was surprised when he finally said he wanted to learn at the age of 9 by how very quickly he picked it up. By the end of the first lesson I was able to let him row in the rear of the boat (la poppa), the place from which one steers the boat by altering the angle of the oar in the water as one draws the oar back towards one's chest. He picked it up so quickly in fact, that I soon realized I didn't need to row at all and could lounge in the front of the boat and leave everything entirely to him. By the end of that first lesson he'd even taken to rowing with just one hand, as he'd seen gondoliers do, with that showy nonchalance that characterizes them--and I realized I'd been wrong about him having no interest in rowing those previous years: rather, he'd been watching people do it closely enough to mimic them convincingly when he chose to learn himself.

By the second lesson he was so adept that I decided we could venture onto the Grand Canal, with all its traffic, which is what is shown in the image above (though I am rowing in the poppa on the Grand Canal).

In spite of the tourist crush and its many problems, Venice is a marvelous place for a young child to grow up, and it pains me to see how few children there are in the city, and how that number, like the population in general, continues to decrease. 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Rovinj, Croatia, or, A Bit of Venice on the Istrian Peninsula

From 1283 to 1797 Rovinj was one of the most important outposts of the Venetian Republic on the eastern shores of the Adriatic, and it's a lovely place to visit--but NOT in August (photo taken 10 August 2015)


Friday, August 4, 2023

Rio Menuo Panorama

Taken in October, not August, but I forgot all about this image & haven't posted it before (7 Oct 2013)

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

One of the Most Beautiful Paintings in Venice Costs Nothing to See (Unless You Pay to Illuminate It)

Giovanni Bellini's altarpiece in the church of San Zaccaria, which I somehow missed seeing the first two times I visited Venice, in spite of the fact it's just a short distance from Piazza San Marco (8 July 2013)

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Hitching Up

Starting from the age of three our son insisted we buy him cords or light rope so he could mimic this toss-and-tie that the marinai do at each stop. He'd toss the rope around chairs, around bed posts, around door knobs, around anything he could, and as he grew older and his ropes proliferated and he grew more skilled at making knots, our small living room/dining room would be criss-crossed so thickly by ropes tied to every conceivable object that some days it was almost impossible to simply walk through it. This is what it's like to raise a child--or at least a certain kind of child--in Venice. (photo: 17 June 2015)

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Nesting Upon A Bricola (I Think)

A bricola is a trio of timber strapped together marking intersections in the Venetian lagoon. I think the very long-billed bird captured in these images taken north of Torcello was sitting upon a nest, but I didn't want to disturb this probable domestic scene by venturing too close in our boat to confirm that (taken with a telephoto lens, 7 June 2020)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Getting Away From It All...

12 October 2014

...isn't so easy in Venice, where even what one thought to be a secluded fishing spot near the monastery island of San Francesco del'Deserto can become another picturesque view to be taken in by visitors (not to mention someone with a camera).

Sunday, April 30, 2023

All Quiet on the Grand Canal

It was remarkable to see the Grand Canal so still on a Friday night in May at 8:15 pm, but this was taken during the Covid lock down, when even those most weary of tourists would have preferred them--and in huge numbers--to the virus. One source of hope during this very bad time was that it might inspire a new commitment to diversifying the city's tourism monoculture: even Venice's then and current non-resident mayor mouthed such sentiments. But he has turned out to be as committed to such aims as he was to the promise he made during his first campaign to increase the resident population--which is to say, not at all. Napoleon threatened that he would be Venice's Attila, but two centuries later Luigi Brugnaro has actually proven to be just that. (8 May 2020)