Venice, Italy. June 2018 (14 photos)
This is Part 3 of my Italy 2018 photo series, and also Part 24 of my Europe 2018 photo series.
Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is actually built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals, including the Grand Canal which you see above.
The absence of roads seemingly makes life feel a bit less stressed and slower in Venice. More time for that double espresso.
“Obligatory dead end photo”
The numerous dead ends invite casual exploration.
“The Bridge of Fists”
For generations from about 1600, rival clans would gather each year on small neighbourhood bridges without railings for fist fights with the goal of knocking their opponents into the cold sewage-laden canal below. These “Wars of the Fist” were frowned upon by the ruling Council of Ten, but tolerated as they were considered an improvement over the earlier tradition of fights with deadly sharpened sticks. The fights took place on several bridges in Venice, but the most famous fighting bridge is the Ponte dei Pugni (The Bridge of Fists) which you see above. Railings were installed on the bridge in “recent” years.
In the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, there is a scene in which Indiana grabs a flower and gives it to Dr Schneider whilst crossing a bridge – you guessed it, the Bridge of Fists. Ahead and just to the right is the Chiesa di San Barnaba which I showed earlier and which also featured in the movie as a library where X marks the spot. The title of this post also comes from that movie. Behind us in the photo is my hotel in Venice. So I actually crossed this bridge quite regularly and fortunately (for them) most people made way for me whenever I crossed the Bridge of Fists.
“Attention to details”
A gate at the entrance to St Mark’s Campanile, a 16th-century square cathedral tower with an angel-topped spire & belfry which fortunately has an elevator to the top. That’s St Mark’s Basilica in the background.
Calle de la Morte, literally translates to “Death Alley”. This alley is near the Church of San Giovanni. According to legend, people that the governing Council of Ten in Venice wanted to “disappear” would be lured or tricked into this alley to be killed. Government-sanctioned murder, in essence. I was intrigued by the name when I came across this alley purely by chance. The details of the alley were discovered later.
A chance find down some narrow alley.
“The Bridge of Sighs”
The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) is an enclosed bridge made of white limestone, passing over the Rio di Palazzo. It connects the New Prison (on the right) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace (on the left). It was built in 1600.
The view from the Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. The bridge’s name, given by Lord Byron as a translation from the Italian “Ponte dei sospiri” in the 19th century, comes from the suggestion that prisoners would sigh at their final view of beautiful Venice through the window before being taken down to their cells.
Getting away from the tourist areas, you come to the more authentic areas of Venice where people live.
“Nightfall on Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute”
In 1630, Venice experienced a devastating outbreak of the plague. As a votive offering for the city’s deliverance from the pestilence, the Republic of Venice vowed to build and dedicate a church to Our Lady of Health (or of Deliverance, Italian: Salute). The church was designed in the baroque style by Baldassarre Longhena. Construction began in 1631. Most of the objects of art housed in the church bear references to the Black Death.