«Aug 2020»

Venice, 2020

Photos © Ruud Leeuw


The first time I visited Venice 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 my wife). Another visit followed in 2009, rather more for allowing my aging mother one last peek at her favourite city. My visit in 2015 started to included personal 'themes'.

So this time I went on another extensive visit, also visiting bookshops, following 'Commissario Brunetti's' footsteps through Venice, visiting locations in the Laguna I had not visited before plus a wonderful photo exhibition of work by Henri Cartier-Bresson.
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'.

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Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
'Brunetti's Venice' - by Toni Sepeda

Calle Tiepolo is supposedly where Commissario Brunetti lived, with his wife and two children. On the 4th floor: 94 steps!

Following Commissario Guido Brunetti, protagonist of Donna Leon’s internationally best-selling mystery series, over a dozen walks that highlight Venice’s churches, markets, bars, cafes, and palazzos. I am a great fan of Donna Leon's books, not because the plots and drama, but rather for the Italian live style and the corruption in Italian society.

In Brunetti’s Venice, tourists and armchair travelers follow in the footsteps of Brunetti as he traverses the city he knows and loves.
With his acute eye for change in his native city, his fascination with the past, his ear for language and his passion for food and drink, as well as his familiarity with the dark realities of crime and corruption, Brunetti is the perfect companion for any walk across La Serenissima.
Over a dozen walks, encompassing all 6 regions of Venice as well as the lagoon, lead readers down calli, over canali, and through campi.

I spent two days on this theme, combining it with the quests for bookshops. No doubt this book will assist me in future Venetian exploration. The book and author is further detailed on MyBlog 2020Q3.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Pasticceria Tonolo, more than once visited by Commissario Brunetti. Unfortunately I found it closed.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
There are is an increasing amount of shops with Chinese owners and/or -staff.

Venice, Italy (2020)
The fishmarket, a short walk from the Rialto Bridge: 'Mercato del Pesci'.

Fish market, Venice (2020)




Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Glad to have been able to visit the 'Le Grand Jeu' exhibition!

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
People adhered to wearing the Corona masks, thank goodness.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Pretty but dumb. Even when the waiting room filled with circa 30 people
she did not put on her mask. Only when we boarded she did, knowing the steward would check.
She was not Italian, I did not recognize her accent when she asked the steward something in English.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
AVM/Actv is the main public transport provider for the urban area of Venice and the suburban area up to
Padua, Treviso and Rovigo. []

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
The steward would check if everybody wore it correctly but the gent in front escaped: not covering the nose.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
A good one for my collection 'People reading books in the public domain'.



CIMITERO @Isola di San Michele

Cimitero, Venice 2020
One of the islands in the Laguna which we had never visited before: Cimitero @Isola di San Michele.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Cimitero, Venice 2020
Purpose of my visit was to visit the graves of two fanous authors here, but I was positively
surprised to find the grave here of the 1st wife of a famous Dutch author, Tine Douwes Dekker.
Cimitero, Venice 2020

In part from the above: 'Tine spent her last remaining years sickly and in poverty with her 2 children in Venice. Friends collected money for her burial here. For over a century the grave was unattended, it was derelict
and trodden on. In the Multatuli House (Korsjespoortsteeg 20, 1015 AR Amsterdam), the birthplace of Dutch most famous 19th-century writer, the museum and the Multatuli Society are established.
The society had the grave here restored in 2002.
The grave was again seriously damaged in march of 2010 by a severe storm, when a large tree was toppled and the grave was uprooted. The cemetery was not insured against storm adamage.
The society decided to renovate the site thoroughly: useful parts were carefully selected from the debris, roots were further removed, remains of the tree were cut and removed, and finally the grave was lovingly restored. In may the work was completed by the Multatuli Society.'

'Everdina (Tine) Huberta van Wijnbergen (b.Antwerp, 26Sep1819 - d.Venice, 13Sep1874) was the 1stst wife of writer Eduard Douwes Dekker and appears in the books 'Max Havelaar' and 'Tine'.
After their parents died at an early age, the girls were raised by their grandmother and her two unmarried daughters.
In 1837 she and her sister were taken in by the family of her great-nephew and guardian Jan Pieter van der Hucht.
In 1845 they left with him and his family for the tea country Parakan Salak on Java.
His brother, Willem van der Hucht, asked Douwes Dekker to pick up the Van Wijnbergen sisters in Batavia and accompany them to the Preanger estate.
On 26Sep1845, Tine became engaged to Eduard Douwes Dekker. On 10Apr1846 the wedding was celebrated in Javanese Tijandjoer.
They had 2 children, Edu and Nonnie.
She became known as Tine in the book 'Max Havelaar'.
In 1866, Stephanie Etzerodt, later Mrs. Omboni, gave her a position as a governess in Italy.
She returned to Dekker once more, but left again in 1868 with her children for Venice.' [Wikipedia (NL)]


Cimitero, Venice 2020

Cimitero, Venice 2020
This grave reminded me of my 'MAGNIFICENT SEVEN' project (2014) when I documented 7
overgrown cemeteries in London.

Cimitero, Venice 2020
The first writer I looked for was Ezra Pound, buried in the righthand side of that center bush. His wife Olga
is buried on the left. It took a bit of searching before I found this grave; this section has many authors but mostly
unknown to me. Other sections include composers, but we did not explore Cimitero beyond this section: too warm.

'Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (b.30Oct1885 – d.01Nov1972) was an expatriate American poet and critic, a major figure in the early modernist poetry movement, and a fascist collaborator in Italy during World War II.

Working in London in the early 20th century as foreign editor of several American literary magazines, he helped discover and shape the work of contemporaries such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost, and Ernest Hemingway.
Angered by the carnage of World War I (1914–1918), Pound lost faith in England and blamed the war on finance capitalism, which he called "usury".
He moved to Italy in 1924 and through the 1930s and 1940s embraced Benito Mussolini's fascism, expressed support for Adolf Hitler, and wrote for publications owned by the British fascist Sir Oswald Mosley. During World War II, he persuaded the Italian government to let him make hundreds of paid, antisemitic radio broadcasts attacking the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Jews, as a result of which he was arrested in 1945 by American forces in Italy on charges of treason.
Deemed unfit to stand trial, he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years.
While in custody in Italy, Pound began work on sections of The Cantos that were published as The Pisan Cantos (1948), for which he was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1949 by the Library of Congress, causing enormous controversy.
After a campaign by his fellow writers, he was released from St. Elizabeths in 1958 and lived in Italy until his death in 1972.' [Wikipedia]

Upon the exhibition 'The Beautiful and the Sinister', photography by Bill Brandt (see MyBlog_2022Q2), I came across a portrait of Ezra Pound, taken by Bill Brandt.
Ezra Pound, portrayed by Bill Brandt

Cimitero, Venice 2020
"Man's greatest enemy is not Communisme, not Socialism, not Capitalism," Brodsky wrote,
"but rather the vulgarity of the human heart, of human imagination." (¬Susan Sontag by Benjamin Moser)

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky (b.24May1940 – d.28Jan1996) was a Russian-American poet and essayist.
Brodsky was born into a Russian Jewish family in Leningrad. He was a descendant of a prominent and ancient rabbinic family, Schorr (Shor).
His father, Aleksandr Brodsky, was a professional photographer in the Soviet Navy His mother, Maria Volpert Brodskaya, was a professional interpreter whose work often helped to support the family. They lived in communal apartments, in poverty, marginalized by their Jewish status.
In early childhood Brodsky survived the Siege of Leningrad where he and his parents nearly died of starvation.

As a young student, Brodsky was an unruly child, known for his misbehavior during classes. At fifteen, Brodsky left school. He worked odd jobs, one was at the morgue at the Kresty Prison, cutting and sewing bodies.

He learned Polish so he could translate the works of Polish poets such as Czesław Miłosz, and English so that he could translate John Donne. On the way, he acquired a deep interest in classical philosophy, religion, mythology, and English and American poetry.

Brodsky ran afoul of Soviet authorities and was expelled ("strongly advised!" to emigrate) from the Soviet Union in 1972, settling in the United States with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters.
He taught thereafter at Mount Holyoke College, and at universities including Yale, Columbia, Cambridge, and Michigan.
Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity".
He was appointed 'United States Poet Laureate' in 1991. [Wikipedia]

In 2022 I acquired Willem Diepraam's '50 Years of Photography' photobook and came across
a portrait (Amsterdam, 1980) of Josef Brodski (must be Dutch spelling at the time).
Joseph Brodski by Willem Diepraam




Cimitero, Venice 2020

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
I always insist that art is not a competition. Critics and curators miss the fact that valid work takes place across a wide spectrum - they are in love with the mode du jour and they cannot see that there are many valid concurrent modes of
thinking among artists
. ¬Sam Haskins ( Noted in conversation with Sam while working on 'Fashion Etcetera', a few
months before Sam's death. See MyBlog 2020Q4 on Sam Haskins)




Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
We were treated on a glimpse of Acqua Alta.. Water bubbling up from drainage underneath Piazza San Marco.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Of course it was nowhere near as much as the real Acqua Alta, but for the kids on this warm day a wonderful treat.

Between autumn and early spring, the city is often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic.
Six hundred years ago, Venetians protected themselves from land-based attacks by diverting all the major rivers flowing into the lagoon and thus preventing sediment from filling the area around the city.
This created an ever-deeper lagoon environment.
During the 20th century, when many artesian wells were sunk into the periphery of the lagoon to draw water for local industry, Venice began to subside.
It was realized that extraction of water from the aquifer was the cause. The sinking has slowed markedly since artesian wells were banned in the 1960s. However, the city is still threatened by more frequent low-level floods—the Acqua alta. [¬]





Torcello, Venice (2020)
Torcello was another box 'to be ticked', hadn't been here before. It is located further up the Laguna, near Burano.
Locando Cipriani is a famous restaurant, Ernest Hemingway spent some time there in 1948, writing parts of 'Across
the River and Into the Trees'. The novel contains representations of Torcello and its environs. Other famous guests
were Mick Jagger, Audrey Hepburn and Tom Cruise. Regrettably it was closed. []

Torcello, Venice (2020)

Torcello (Latin: Torcellum; Venetian: Torceło) is a sparsely populated island at the northern end of the Venetian Lagoon.
It was first settled in the year 452 and has been referred to as the parent island from which Venice was populated.
It was a town with a cathedral and bishops before St Mark's Basilica was built!

After the downfall of the Western Roman Empire, Torcello was one of the first lagoon islands to be successively populated by those Veneti who fled the terra ferma (mainland) to take shelter from the recurring barbarian invasions, especially after Attila the Hun had destroyed the city of Altinum and all of the surrounding settlements in 452.

The Black Death devastated the Venice Republic in 1348 and again between 1575 and 1577. In three years, the plague killed some 50,000 people.
In 1630, the Italian plague of 1629–31 killed a third of Venice's 150,000 citizens...
A further serious issue for Torcello specifically was that the swamp area of the lagoon around the island increased by the 14th century, partly because of the lowering of the land level. Navigation in the 'laguna morta' was impossible before long and traders ceased calling at the island.'

Torcello, Venice (2020)

'Torcello's numerous palazzi, its 12 parishes and its 16 cloisters have almost disappeared since the Venetians recycled the useful building material.
One small palazzo is the only remaining medieval structure, consisting of a cathedral, a church, the town's former council chamber and archives (which house the museum), and the nearby basilica and campanile; the latter two were rebuilt in the year 1008.' [Wikipedia]

Torcello, Venice (2020)
Today's main attraction is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in 639. It is of basilica-form with side
aisles but no crossing, and has much 11th and 12th century Byzantine work, including mosaics (e.g. a vivid version of
' the Last Judgement').

Torcello, Venice (2020)
Ponte del Diavolo
Torcello, Venice (2020)
The idea to visit Torcello was just one of items I had jotted down as an intention. But when I noticed this photo among
the HCB exhibition I was determined to go there. Forgot all about the bridge until I got home and noticed my photo...




Burano, Venice (2020)
Burano we had visited before but of somethings the eyes never tire and we thought this place a nicer location
for our lunch. Burano did not disappoint and my Risotto d'Adriaticco was simply divine!

Burano, Venice (2020)

Burano, Venice (2020)
My Leico Q camera performed splendidly with these colours.

Burano, Venice (2020)

Burano, Venice (2020)

Burano, Venice (2020)

'All the houses of Burano are colored, but the house of Bepi Suà (also called 'Bepi of Candies') is the most colored house of the island: decorated with geometric forms of any type such as circles, squares, triangles, dyed of yellow, orange, red, blue and all colors of the rainbow!
Bepi, aka Giuseppe Toselli, besides being a lover of painting was also a movie buff. Passion born during his working at the Cinema Favin, where he was employed as a janitor and maintenance. When the cinema was closed, he began to sell sweets in Burano's Galuppi Square: hence the name of Bepi of Candies.
The Bepi's house now appears in many postcards and is well known worldwide. It is without a doubt the most famous home of Burano.'

Burano, Venice (2020)
A bicycle painted to match..




Burano, Venice (2020)
At Bepi's House

Burano, Venice (2020)
Very pleased with my results of streetphotography this trip.

Venice, Italy (2020)

Venice, Italy (2020)




Venice, Italy (2020)
Just another example of my Leica's exuberant rendition of colours!

Venice, Italy (2020)

Remember the Otis Redding's song?

'll be sittin' when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch them roll away again, yeah

I'm sittin' on the dock of the bay
Watchin' the tide roll away, ooh
I'm just sittin' on the dock of the bay
Wastin' time...

Venice, Italy (2020)

La Fine

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Created: 03-Oct-2020