«July 2015»

Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Venice: I cannot think of anyone who may not have heard of this Italian City. Other places may be referred to as '..the Venice of [...]' and there is a hotel in Las Vegas 'dressed up' as Venice: The Venetian.
Luigi Barzini described it in The New York Times as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man".

So we went to the real thing.
Even though I had been her before, those visits I now regard as superficial glances.
The first time was with my parents, must have been aged 10 or so; that would be around 1965 or 1966.
The next time was in 1978, with my girlfriend (later to become my wife). Another visit in 2009, rather more for allowing my mother one last peek at her favourite city.

This time I went on an extensive visit, also visiting sights my mother (r.i.p.) had visited with her friends; for a while in the 1990s she had almost yearly visits to Italy, with a regular group of friends, and 'Venezia' always featured in their itinerary for at least a few days. Places such as Murano, Burano and a few places in Cannaregio & San Marco.
But the style of photography and choice of subjects are my of course my own; I like streetphotography and there are also subjects such as my quest for libraries and my fascination for photography exhibitions.

I hope you will enjoy my report on 'La Serenissima', also known as 'La Dominante', 'Queen of the Adriatic', 'City of Water', 'City of Masks', 'City of Bridges', 'The Floating City' and 'City of Canals'.


Venice, San Marco
When mentioning 'Venice, Italy' most people will think of the square referred to as St. Mark's Square / Piazza
San Marco and of course the Rialto Bridge. There is a long queue here waiting to get in (the queue was actually
much longer than seen here) and people walking their trolley suitcases on their way and in search for
their hotels in the maze of small back streets. (

Venice, San Marco
Obviously two of the 'guards' on the roof of the 'Biblioteca' are on their tea break!
There was also a queue waiting to get into that tower, I will leave that for another day;
must be a nice view up there, though!

St. Mark's Campanile.
The first tower standing at the site of the campanile was built in the seventh century, possibly as a lighthouse.
The first clock tower dates from around the year 900.
Throughout the centuries, it was rebuilt a number of times, finally reaching its current look around 1513, after a restoration following a damaging earthquake. 
More on


Venice, San Marco
This was probably how a tearoom looked like in the 19th (?) century.
This was on Piazza San Marco, but only meant for a peek inside.

Venice, San Marco
The entrance to the museum on San Marco square.
They have an excellent bookstore for books on Venice, I came away with 2 books I am well pleased with.

Venice, San Marco
I did not have time to visit the museum, I was only interested in the historic library.
I was told by the steward I could enter it for free by visiting the New Zealand Expo; for this
I had to find another entrance and here we are! The books have been relocated to the public
library next door; when I tried to visit that location I was told I had to enter through
the main entrance and buy a ticket! For another day, I think.

Venice, historic library
The books may have been relocated, but there is still this historic world map. What a treasure!
Fra Mauro's map is thought to originate from around 1450; it is one of the most famous and important extant
cartographic documents from the 15th century. It is a broad summary of geographical knowledge of that period.
The map was completed here in Venice, in the Monastery of San Michele.
See the results of my quest for libraries on my account.

Venice, San Marco
We go down the stairs again, to return to St Mark's square, or to be more precise: to the piazetta.


Venice, Rialto
Yes, we went to Ponte Rialto too, everybody does. It is hard to miss for there are few bridges across the
'Canal Grande', but the crowds are thick here and a nuisance. Most of the bridge was covered for renovations.
Upon our visit in 2009 we had a much better view on Rialto bridge: see HERE..
Same goes for our visit in 2020, Venice in Corona time..

Venice, Rialto bridge
Now this a 'a Rialto' I like: entirely made of chocolate!

Venice, Rialto
There is an obvious overdose of 'Carnivale' masks on offer, esspecially surrounding the Rialto bridge.
There is a great range of prices and quality. I read somewhere 'the real thing' can be bought in Alberto
Sarria's shop, near the Rialto bridge. Mr Sarria came to Venice, from Argentina, in the 1970s when
there was only one mask-making shop in the city; his masks have been commissioned by opera productions in Paris.

Venice, Carnival masks
Isn't she pretty, though?!

Rialto market
Not far from Rialto bridge is a market; it is known as a fish market (see my seperate page), but
as one can see, there is also a section with vegetables and fruit for sale.


Venice, Lido
Before we continue, a quick look at our place of stay. I was late in booking (a week before the actual flight to VCE)
and found most hotels fully booked or the remaining accommodation beyond my budget. I did find a reasonably priced
hotel on Lido, Hotel ('Albergo') Belvedere (on far right). It was conveniently located across the Vaporetti dock.

Venice, Hotel Bellevue (Lido)
It became somewhat of a tradition to eat at a nearby restaurant, Pizzeria Stella, and afterwards
buy an icecream ('Gelido Latte') and watch the sunset from the Vaporetti station.
The wifi internet of Hotel Belvedere was a pain, either blocked or with many time consuming warnings
about unsafe internet connection; so we updated our social media at the charming Pizzeria Stella as well.


Venice, Italy
The water traffic can be daunting at times. On the right is the entry to the 'Canal Grande', but we steer a course
for 'Canale della Giudecca', left of Dorsoduro (Basilico di Santa Maria della Salute is seen straight ahead) and
passed those immense luxury yachts. We will leave 'Canal Grande' for a little later in this report, see link at bottom page.

Venice, Italy
Away from the glamour of 'Canal Grande' and we see written 'Emporia Dei Sali'. This makes it easy to pinpoint:
it is a peaceful promenade, which makes for a nice break away from the many crowded areas in the city. If you can stand
the lack of shade! This is Zattere, a part of Dorsoduro. The Zattere was built in 1519 and was first used as a landing dock
for the delivery of timber used to construct ships and buildings, which gave the quay the name Zattere, Italian for raft.

Venice, Zattere
Grafitti does not enhance the view here!

Venice, Zattere
The long promenade connects here, towards the east end, with the Santa Maria del Rosario / St. Mary of The Rosary Church.
Churches in Italy cannot be avoided, but this trip we kept well away from the interiors, with only a few exceptions.
Not that I dislike churches, but on this trip I had clear objectives and my choices had been made in advance.

Venice, Spirito Santo Church
There is a distinct advantage for viewing Venice from the water, like from the Vaporetti here, a nice unobstructed view.

Venice, Zattere
The reason why I visited Zattere was because I was under the impression there was a photo exhibition in the University.
Searching for objectives such as these have brought me to unlikely places away from the maddening crowds. This
time was no different, we did find the University (of Architecture), but the information was not correct, they had
no photo exhibition. So we wandered off again, lost our sense of direction, the sun beating down on us. The above image
is one of few I took during this rather strenuous walk. But we did get to places not many tourist go to.
This image was taken along the Fondamenta Bonlini, must have been a blacksmith; near where they actually make gondolas.



Venice, Campo e Canali
The salt water, with the heavy water traffic much more unruly than many decades ago, causes damage to the houses.

Venice, Dorsoduro
Time has left its scars here. A house on Rio Dei Tolentini, seen from Fondamenta Sacchere (Santa Croce).

San Barnaba di Venezia Church. Seen from Fondamenta Alberti.
If you walk through Dorsoduro chances are there is no avoiding this place; we found ourselves here several times.

History San Barnaba Church:
Founded in 809, the original church burnt down in 1105 and was rebuilt, and consecrated on 6th December 1350. The current church dates from 1749-76 and is by Lorenzo Boschetti, a follower of Massari. His façade is another Greek temple front, based on Massari's nearby Gesuati, but heavier with even beefier columns.

Campanile 35m (114 ft) with 'manual bells'.
Brickwork with a pine-cone shaped steeple. The original 11th Century tower was rebuilt in Gothic style in 1350 and restored in 1882 by Lodovico Cadorin. This church in film: featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - our hero finds catacombs, rats and dead Crusaders under the floor and later emerges from a manhole in the campo. Katherine Hepburn fell into the canal in front of this church in Summertime and the shop where she finds the red glasses, and her love interest, is to the left of the façade - it's now a toy shop.

Campi, Calle e Canali
Campiello de la Scuola no.2454. That ornament seems of someone holding a book, fitting for a school.
This was the place where inadvertendly I stumbled on a photo exhibition (which is among the subjects HERE...]

Campiello de la Scuola no.2454 is the Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangalista.
Google Maps indicates it as 'San Giovanni Evangalista' where I visited the photo exhib, across from this adress, perhaps a part of church that is not used for religious purposes anymore.
This is in the San Polo district of Venezia.
Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista di Venezia has positive ratings on Tripadvisor; I thought it quite obscure.
The school is defined externally by the open air atrium or courtyard, separated from the city by a marble screen of (1478–81) by Pietro Lombardo.
More can be read on Wikipedia


Campi, Calle e Canali
Indeed a gate to behold! I seem to read 'Divo Ioanni Apostoio et Evangelista Protectori et Sanctissimae Crvi'
For details see info above.

Campi, Calle e Canali
Narrow streets see houses connect over people's heads, over several levels.

Venice, Italy
The water mixes the colours, a beautifully Tuscanny red and a nice green.

Campi e Canali
The square with the Pier Dickens restaurant is rather well known. The area and this restaurant have been positively reviewed by people searching for a 'local atmosphere'. The amount of tourists here in places can become oppressive.
Unfortunately it was too early in the day for us to stop for lunch; perhaps (quite possibly!) some other time.

The population of Venice is dwindling fast, because of the rising prices of real estate, the inconvenience of rising water levels ('acqua alta', high water;) and the masses of tourists meandering through the narrow streets.
In 2006, there were 62.027 permanent residents, just over half of the population 30 years earlier!
I recently even heard a number of only 55.000 people living in Venice now - demographers predict that by 2030, there won't be a single full-time Venetian resident left!

Campi, Calle e Canali
Market on the water.

Campi, Calle e Canali
Que bella...

Campi, Calle e Canali
I am not sure if the art displayed here has something to do with the Biennale 2015, but this I liked!


Venice, Italy
Having stated earlier that I was avoiding the churches, some cannot be avoided.
Apparently this is a popular church to get married in. The exterior is indeed remarkable.

History: A shrine was built near here in 1408 to house a painting of the Virgin commissioned by Francesco Amadi, on the walls of whose house it hung. This image soon got a reputation for working miracles and the funds that it generated allowed the building of a small wooden church squeezed into the same campo. Work began in 1481 on the present church and continued into the early 1490s.
It was also funded by Angelo Amadi, the nephew of Francesco Amadi who had had the icon painted.
The church has remained virtually untouched, only cleaned.

Venice, Italy
This is another church that cannot be avoided, it even marks Venice' skyline, as a photo earlier this page has shown: Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (English: Saint Mary of Health). And this one I did want to have a look inside!

Venice, Italy

The original monastery and church on this site, dedicated to The Holy Trinity, was given by Venice to the Teutonic Knights in 1256 in gratitude for their help in the war against Genoa.
Suppression by Pope Clement XVI followed in 1592 and the complex returned to the patriarchate of Venice.
This original complex was demolished in order that this church be built to hasten and celebrate the end of the last great plague of 1630-31 which had taken 46,000 people, 30% of Venice’s population.
Sources and more info:

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy
What a remarkable floor!


Venice Lagoon
I had not been to Murano and Burano on my previous trips to Venice and this time I was determined to go there.
See the seperate link at bottom page for a report on these islands.


Suynset on Venice as seen from Lido
Sunset on Venice, seen from Lido.