Saturday Snapshots #47



Venice – July 2009

The first time I visited Venice was in the depths of winter 2000.  We arrived late on a Friday night, arrived at our hotel and collapsed in bed.  The next morning we awoke bright and early and set off on the 3-minute walk to the Piazza San Marco.  We had gone only a block or two when our way was blocked by water lapping at our feet, seemingly appearing from nowhere.  We thought there must be a broken water main somewhere and tried another street – same story.  It was only when we got to the piazza (via the slightly higher-lying alleys!) that we realised we were witnessing acqua alta, the massive tide that occasionally submerges the streets around San Marco and the piazza itself.

The image I have of people walking in wellington boots along low trestle tables to the basilica, and gazing at the floor of the beautiful loggia through a foot of water, could not be more different from the view that greeted me when I visited the city last week at the height of summer.  Opening the windows in the morning was like pushing through a warm, steamy soup (God bless air conditioning!); queues outside every gelateria; sunburnt tourists jostling for space to sit in every little patch of shade; sun twinkling off the carnival masks for sale; and gondoliers mopping their brows.  And through it all, La Serenissima remains as implacable as ever – as if she has seen it all before, and she will see it all again.

Saturday Snapshots is a series of non-food photographs published every Saturday on CookSister. Previously featured photographs can be viewed on the Saturday Snapshots archive pages. Many photos featured in Saturday Snapshots are available to buy as high-quality greeting cards or prints in my RedBubble store, or even as high-quality A3-size calendars. If you want a custom calendar with your own selection of photos, starting with any month (not only January), please e-mail me and we can discuss your requirements.

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  1. says

    So jealous you’re much closer to Italy than I am. Been in Venice only once, in 2004. One of the most beautiful places I’ve seen. Sigh.

  2. says

    Great image, Jeanne, both words and photo. I’ve been in freezing winter for carnival, when we spent most of our time trying to warm up in bars and in hot summer as a sweltering tourist. But I now feel on first name terms with Venice through reading the Donna Leon series of crime novels set there. I’m in love with it from afar aqua alta and all. Hope you had a lovely time there.

  3. says

    Lovely photo, Jeanne!
    I STILL haven’t visited Venice, except vicariously. I first heard about aqua alta when reading Donna Leon’s novels featuring Guido Brunetti. Even though I’ve only read a a fictional account, I still have a vivid image of people slogging along cursing because the water has reached the top of their boots.
    I wonder if there are little shops set up to repair Wellington boot punctures….

  4. says

    Lovely photo! Is Venice not just too beautiful?! It was exceedingly hot when we were there too, but so, so beautiful!
    Hope you had a lovely time there.