Saturday, January 9, 2010

Classic Venice

Our apartment in Venice overlooked Piazza San Marco, an appropriate place to start when searching for classic Venice. Unfortunately, the actual population of Venice continues to decline, as it becomes more predominantly a tourist destination rather than a living city (see Betsy's post below: The Weight of Venice). The reason for this steady influx of travelers can be seen in some of the pictures below. I was rather ambivalent about these sites, feeling that they had somehow been co-opted by tourism and no longer really belonged to Venice. Hence the traveler's unenviable search for the "back door." Certainly these sights were impressive, and I'm not such a purist that something has to be "untouched" or "original" to be valuable to me. But I was never hit by a sense of cultural gravity as I was in other places I've visited (like Machu Picchu -- though the epitome of an over-visited cultural site, it still managed to exercise a spell on me). For that reason, traveling to Slovenia after Venice, where people still work the farms (even the one where we were staying) had a more authentic feel and was a refreshing glimpse into a living culture. I hope, however, that I'm not so aloof that I don't recognize some of the more striking elements of Venetian culture.

Saint Mark's Basilica forms one boundary of St. Mark's Square, and is where we went to a midnight service on Christmas Eve.

The Campanile, also in St. Mark's Square, dominates the Venetian skyline.

Though relatively traffic-free in December, the Grand Canal is the main thoroughfare for the city.

This row of homes on the south lagoon was particularly striking. The second one from the left was our favorite.

Venetian architecture is particularly compelling in the delicately curved windows.

How would you like this for a front porch?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These were an especially pretty glimpse of Venice, Brett. Thanks as always. JM