I vividly remember last year walking around the mock-up of Venice that is the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada & thinking how it’d be cool to get back to the real thing, recalling with fondness my first & only visit to Venice back in 2007. That was unexpected because Venice back then didn’t particularly impress me all that much – I remember it being horridly dirty & unkempt, horridly busy, & horridly expensive. It still is all those things but, & like it or loathe it, the world’s only fully pedestrian city is as iconic as it is unique, the sort of place that will never fail to attract the hordes no matter the time of year.
It’s low season here now which means there are people everywhere, just not as many people as in high season of May through September. Venice is that kind of place, busy all year around – the UNESCO World Heritage listed sanctuary, built on 118 islands with some 150 canals & over 400 bridges, attracts over 20 million of my ilk a year, an amount that exceeds Venice’s population two-hundredfold. They all come to see the Venice of today, which by all accounts hasn’t changed all that much form the Venice of the 12th to 16th centuries when the city was the great maritime & merchant power of the day. Today the city lives off of its glorious past and functions solely as a tourist destination, riding its romantic charm for all it’s worth (& it’s worth a lot to a lot of people). Yes, people do actually call Venice home but it’s hard to comprehend that when everything so overwhelmingly shouts tourism as it does here. Strange as it may seem but in many ways the Venetian mock-up in Las Vegas is less of a charlatan than the real deal itself.
The Grand Canal
Needless to say the sole reason I returned here to Venice was to see what I could come up with photographically. It was fun. A lot of fun. Just as it was back in 2007, the highlight of this visit was getting lost while meandering the endless lanes of the city – I always seem to go left when right was the obvious choice & vice versa; I hung out a lot in Piazza San Marco people & pigeon watching; I took a few trips up & down the Grand Canal; & I took advantage of the low season numbers to visit some attractions I deemed not worthy of queuing hours for back in 2007 – no queues & cheaper accommodation prices greet the out-of-season visitor & €25 for a no-frills double room a few minutes’ walk from the Rialto Bridge was another highlight.
— davidMbyrne.com (@ByrneDavidM) March 18, 2014
Piazza San Marco
– Napoleon describing Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square)
– Truman Capote
I leave in the morning, destination Pula in Croatia, a 2-hour train followed by a 3-hour bus trip away. As I type I’m debating whether or not to pay another & last first-light visit to Piazza San Marco in the morning. I’m happy with the images I’ve captured thus far so I might just have a lie-in tomorrow ahead of a day of train & bus travel. I guess I’ll sleep on it.