It’s now been three months since I returned from Venice, and I’m still sorting through my photos. But here’s the second installment of what I have so far. Missed the first? Check out The Life Aquatic.
Today, Venice is a mere shadow of her former beauty. Centuries of tides and sea water have taken their toll, and the entire city is slowly sinking.
And although the locals are doing their best to fend off the wall wrinkles …
… everything is in a state of disarming disrepair.
But if Venice is crumbling back into the sea, at least she’s doing it with style.
Bits of stucco have fallen off most of the buildings, exposing the structural brick below.
In some cases, all that’s left is brick.
This is the entrance to the Hotels Rossi and Guerrini, both run for generations by local families.
But while the hotels loudly broadcast their presence, private homes in Venice are usually hidden behind tall walls — or beautiful wrought-iron gates.
Almost no one in Venice has a garden, but they still find a way to “garden.”
This is someone’s idea of a cactus garden, no doubt …
… and someone else’s idea of an herb garden.
When we did eventually see an actual garden, we HAD to photograph it. Check it out … lawn furniture!!
Drying laundry is another favorite pastime in Venice.
The clotheslines are connected by two pulleys …
… so you simply pin your garment to the upper line, pull on the lower line, and repeat as necessary until everything you own is dangling precariously over the murky, stinky seawater.
To non-Venetians, some of these traditions may seem a bit crazy. But remember: This is a city that lives with one foot in the past. You can still sense the Middle Ages as you walk through the “sottoportegi” that connect the buildings, and past the ancient wells in the tiny neighborhood squares.
Some 16th century wood beams still stick out of the buildings, as well.
But in spite of time’s ravages, the architectural details still bear witness to Venice’s wealthy, influential past.
The winged lion — which represents St. Mark — is the city’s official symbol.
In fact, Venice has a long Catholic tradition, which is why dozens of “Pietá” sculptures dot the city.
Though I’m guessing that the electrician who installed this light wasn’t Catholic.
Speaking of lights: The fixtures come in a variety of styles. Some were especially lovely …
… but what I especially loved was the warm glow they cast on the city as evening fell.
Well, that’s all I have for now. But I promise to be back soon with a look at the life of the gondolier — and some meditations for the new year.