I want to call it My Venezia, but it’s no more mine than anyone else’s who has beheld its haunting and hushed beauty. For centuries, it has captured the imagination of artists from Canaletto to Shakespeare.

This crumbling jewel of Northern Italy, built completely on marshland, is steeped in history and irresistibly imbued with romance. Known as “The City of Light” and “Queen of the Adriatic,” Venezia is indelibly tinged with dark intrigue, decadence and decay. If you’ve traveled here at any time in your life, even once, or only briefly, you leave knowing you’ve witnessed the unforgettable. It has that effect of never leaving you.

The world’s smallest metropolis, comprising 118 small islands along the Adriatic Sea, Venezia was a maritime power during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and a staging area for the Crusades. The city’s long decline began some 500 years ago; but its survival of two episodes of the Black Death, and the loss of its thousand years of independence to Napoleon Bonaparte in 1797 – as well as the fact that it appears to be sinking slowly into the waters on which it is built – has only added to its mystique.

Now a collection of images to match its mystical history, photographed over a span of 30 years, quietly made by one of the preeminent photographers of his generation and one of my personal favorites, Michael Kenna in this beautifully produced book Venezia. The images are part of a large retrospective exhibition of Kenna’s work at Palazzo Magnani Museum, Reggio Emilia, Italy in Spring, 2010.

“I love this place, I love this photographer. How could I not love this book?” she sighed.



Photo: (Top) Kenna, Accademia Bridge, Venice, Italy 2007, via Wayne Ford




~ by eaesthete on 06/07/10.

6 Responses to “Venezia”

  1. Venice is without a doubt the most spectacular place I’ve ever visited in my life (and I live in Paris). You’re right when you say it never leaves you. It’s the only place on earth I’ve ever been to where I felt like I wasn’t actually on the earth! I still have the image of being on the vaporetto at midnight as it pushed off from Piazza San Marco into the Grand Canal. The bells of the Basilica sounded suddenly, the night was clear, crisp, and slightly humid, and bookended as I was between the glory of San Marco on the one side and the awesome baroque beauty of Santa Maria della Salute on the other, how could I help but tear up a bit? Still one of my fondest memories…..

    Thanks for the book recommendation. Will go get it post-haste.

  2. Thank you for sending me into a reverie of Venice. I hope that a future sojourn will be to that intoxicating city during Carnival. Closer by, however, is New Orleans with some similar traits.
    RE the errant oil storming into our waters, I’m reminded of a classic and terrifying movie, On The Beach, with Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck. The protagonists in Australia are powerless as nuclear fallout drifts closer and closer. The same feeling applies now as beach after beach is claimed along with its sea life.

  3. Me too. I would love to live there for a time. My husband has never been. I had a slight romance with a Canadian in Venice one Winter.

  4. Venice…. words cannot do justice. Florence is pretty amazing too – but for different reasons. It’s a shame that Venice has had such problems with such severe flooding in recent years. What inherent beauty there.

  5. Passing this post on to my husband whose appreciation of b/w photography never wanes and who introduced me to your blog.

    My trip to Venice was in 1971 while backpacking with my girlfriend. It is a vivid memory. We loved it there. We didn’t know the vaporazzo (SP?) were not free. We hopped on and off them as tho’ it was nothing. Nobody ever chased us. The alleys, the architecture, the food, the pigeons, it was all fabulous. Loved it and hope to go again before I die.

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