VENICE, ITALY
«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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Having landed at Marco Polo Int'l Airport, we purchased our Actv waterbus passes and we walked to the nearby
Alilaguna dock. Here I exchanged the voucher with QR-code, which I had purchased online, for the Alilaguna tickets to Lido.
Alilaguna waterbus airport-Lido transfer
Alilaguna waterbus for airport-Lido transfer.

The Hotel Belvedere on Lido; the view from our room facing the main islands of Venice.
The hotel is right across the autobus- and the waterbus station.
Venice, aug.2020



 

 

One of the main reasons for me to visit Venice this year was the Henry Cartier-Bresson retrospective exhibition.
Le Grand Jeu, Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in Venice (2020)

So this august I visited this wonderful exhibition in Palazzo Grassi (@Venice, Italy - 11Jul2020 - 20Mar2021). It was a priority among the sights I intended to visit during this stay.
'Le Grand Jeu', a large and unedited retrospective on Henri Cartier-Bresson, co-organised with the Bibliothèque nationale de France and in partnership with the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Based on a project conceived and coordinated by Matthieu Humery, the exhibition looks at how the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908 – 2004) is viewed by 5 different curators, focusing particularly on the ‘Master Collection’, a selection of 385 images that the artist himself chose in the early 1970s, upon the request of his friends and collectors Jean and Dominique de Menil, as the most significant of his work.
Today there are five copies of this extraordinary set.


Le Grand Jeu, Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in Venice (2020)
'Social distancing' in Corona times..

Le Grand Jeu, Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in Venice (2020)
While I have several books of work by 'HCB', it was a joy to see his work on display here.

Le Grand Jeu, Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in Venice (2020)

Le Grand Jeu, Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in Venice (2020)
More on MyBlog 2020Q3

Photographer Annie Leibovitz, film director Wim Wenders, writer Javier Cercas, the General Conservator and Director of the Prints and Photography Department of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Sylvie Aubenas, and collector François Pinault have been invited to select 50 works each from the original ‘Master Collection’.

Through their selection, each curator shares his or her vision of this major artist’s photography and work. The scope of this unique project is thus to renew and enrich our view on Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work through the respective ones of five personalities.

Le Grand Jeu, Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in Venice (2020)
For me it was also a unique opportunity to visit the Palazzo Grassi.
While I had purchased online a ticket with a time slot, there was a long queue due to the Covid-19 measures.

 


 

 


Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Some familiar scenes of Venice, but my eyes will never tire of them!

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Canal Grande

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (2020)
One day I hope to visit Venice during 'regatta'-days and 'Il Carnevale'.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
I had several themes planned for this trip, but we also took a lot of brakes... It was warm, ca. 28-32 Celsius, so we drank a lot: water, lemonsoda, other soft drinks, Spritz Veneziano (aperol, prosecco & soda water), Birra Rossa, Campari soda...

It was also my first trip with my new/used Leica Q (Typ116) and greatly enjoyed it (I also used my Sony RX10M4).


 

 


Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
The masks do change the 'street scene'..

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Masks were mandatory in shops, on the waterbusses, in museums and in the hotel. Most people adhered.
Also of course during our flight to & from Venice; it was the first time I wore a 'Corona face mask'.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
No crowds on Ponte di Rialto! No cruise ships emptying their human cargo onto the streets of Venice, no
Americans, no Asians. Venice back to the Europeans!

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Some locals call the water here 'spinach water', but that was before 'Corona days'.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
The water was also more clearer than ever before, though not so clear I could see fish swimming.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

 


 

 


Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Like last year, again on the trail of the Venetian water cisterns...
There was one in front of the entrance of Palazzo Grassi, on Campo San Samuele.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campo Santa Marina

Venice’s underground does not have easy-to-reach water tables. Up to a century ago, fresh water was drawn from the springs on the mainland and transported in casks to the lagoon by boat.
This supplemented the traditional rainwater collection system built in the campi and campielli: it consisted of a wellhead and an underground cistern, filled with clean sand, with a waterproof layer of clay all around that served as a barrier against the infiltration of saltwater. [¬www.venicebackstage.org/en/159/i-pozzi-veneziani/]

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campo Santa Marina Nova

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campo San Canzian.
The wells differ in amount of decorations, no doubt having to do with the wealth of the benefactor at the time.

The rainwater penetrated into the ground by means of collectors positioned around the well, located at slightly lower levels than the rest of the campo; it filtered through the sand down to the waterproof clay bottom of the cistern. The well shaft, which was waterproofed by a layer of clay (tera da saòn, soap earth) spread along its entire length, filled up from below with the collected water, which had been purified as it drained through the sand.
The water was drawn with buckets. [¬www.venicebackstage.org/en/159/i-pozzi-veneziani/]

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campo Sant'Aponal

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campo Sant'Aponal

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Corte Petriana, entrance of a hotel near Calle Tiepolo

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campiello San Rocco

Venice was surrounded by salt water but didn't have drinking water, so some wells were built to collect rainwater. The wells vera, is a typical Venetian word that means the visible stone, the one that covers the well itself.
At the beginning, to cover the wells, recycled materials were used, taken from the ruins of Altino; in fact the oldest wells have vere made with some portions of capitals and columns sections. Many of these vere show effigy of the family that has built the well.
The largest one is located in campo San Polo and measures 320 cm in diameter.
In XIX century the census counted about six thousand wells, but after 1884, after the aqueduct construction, many wells were destroyed especially the brick ones.
In Corte Fontana at St. Marina you can see the last artifact.
Today Venice has about 600 wells, of which none are in use.
www.veniceredhouse.com/the-wells-of-venice

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campo Santa Maria Formosa

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Campiello Michiel



 

 


Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Safety measures for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

The Patriarchal Cathedral Basilica of Saint Mark, commonly known as St Mark's Basilica (Italian: Basilica di San Marco; Venetian: Baxéłega de San Marco), is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, northern Italy. .
It is situated at the eastern end of the Piazza San Marco, adjacent and connected to the Doge's Palace.
The building's structure dates back to the later part of the 11th century, and the most likely influence on its architecture and design is the Hagia Sophia.
Much work has gone toward embellishing this, and the famous main façade has an ornamented roofline that is mostly Gothic. [¬en.wikipedia.org:_St_Mark"s_Basilica]

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Photography was not allowed here, so I shot from the waist..

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
The gold ground mosaics that now cover almost all the upper areas of the interior took centuries to complete.
In the 13th century the external height of the domes was greatly increased by hollow drums raised on a wooden
framework and covered with metal; the original ones are shallower, as can be seen on the inside.
This change makes the domes visible from the piazza.


 

 

CAMPI, CALLE e CANALI

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
It is a great joy to walk the labyrinth of small streets; the few crowds that existed were easily avoided here.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
The Italian and the Venetian flag

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
There is quite a lot of senseless graffiti, but this one I liked. Note the eyes!

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Compared to our 2015 visit I noticed many of the campi now offered seating; a great improvement, I think.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
One cannot get lost in Venice, but it is good to have a map with you, otherwise you may walk around in circles!

 


 

 

BOOKSHOPS @VENICE

Bookstore Cafoscarina in Venice
One theme of this trip was 'book shops'. I had made a list of some to shop for photobooks and some titles.
Unfortunately I found quite a few closed, because of that awfully long midday closure and one for the owner on vacation.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
On the trail of bookshops: here Libreria A.Bertoni - unfortunately closed due to vacation!

We tried to find the book 'Il Pecorone' by Giovanni Fiorentino (Italian or English), but no such luck.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Libreria Miracoli di Vascon Claudio, on Camp Santa Maria Nova.

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
The store was a tad difficult to browse, but it had a friendly and helpful owner.
I was successful here in purchasing a fine photobook, La Mia Venezia by Fulvio Roiter (review on MyBlog 2020Q3)

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Libreria Marco Polo at Campo Santa Margherita. I was able to purchase a title for my son, in Italian.
Don't think it was a good location for photobooks, but no doubt I will visit it again on a future visit and explore it further..

Venice, Italy (aug.2020)
Librerie La Toletta was the best of those I was able to enter: I bought a magnificent photobook of Bruce Davidson
and on a 2nd visit I bought a paperback about Venice, 'Venetian Stories' by Jane Turner Rylands (MyBlog 2013Q3)


Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant had an interview in Dutch of Donna Leon, by Sander Pleij (09Oct20).
Thus I learned she still enjoys writing her books, while spending time between her residents in
Venice, Zürich and the Swiss Alps. Below photos were taken by Marta Giaccone and accompanied said article.
en.wikipedia.org:_Donna_Leon
Donna Leon photographed by Marta Giaccone
www.martagiaccone.com

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Created: 03-Oct-2020