If you read a lot, nothing is as great as you’ve imagined. Venice is— Venice is better.
– Fran Lebowitz
She’s right. Venice was better. More than I ever could have imagined. My first trip 18 years ago left such an indelible impression it changed my life. On that first trip, wandering the calli, turning each corner to be greeted by aquatic reflections and a crumbling patchwork of ochers, I decided I would find a way to integrate my professional life with this incredible floating city. It started with one Venetian company, and a new career. Now I am publishing books that celebrate into the treasure that is La Serenissima.
In Dream of Venice, some people have been bewildered by our lack of formal book traditions. There are no page numbers, no table of contents. We do not identify any of the locations. This is all part of our desire to have the book replicate a passeggiata, a stroll through Venice, where you never know exactly what may greet you.
Venice is a liquid maze; it flows along the contours of the canals, over a bridge, under a sotoportego. It is a walking city. The absence of cars gives a peaceful quality to the city, and our bodies relax into a different rhythm.
So please, join me for a meander through the photography of Charles Christopher, matched with words from an illustrious group of Venetophiles. Here is a taste of our dream that is Venice…
Venice is a state of mind. That is, the scintillating, kaleidoscopic, shifting colors of that watery realm remain alive inside me long after I depart the actual city. – Frances Mayes
“Neither land nor sea” proudly say the Venetians. The city is born from the waters like Aphrodite, constantly on the verge of plunging back to the sea, living in its own precarious balance. – Alessandro Falassi
I call my late night peregrinations “once around the block,” and although I have discovered many routes and sometimes have the pleasure of choosing different crossroads, I have come to discover that “all roads lead to Rome” – which, for me, always means San Marco. – Hutton Wilkinson
The season that best fits the most beautiful man-made city is winter, when the laguna is in monochrome. No crowds, no tourists, no noise. Just the sound of languid canal water lapping the sides of the gondola, the distant wailing horn that announces high tide. – Eleonora Baldwin
The unexpected mystery of Venice… misleading reflections, startling shadows, ominous light and shade, and endless corners. What’s round the next one? – Julie Christie
The merchants of Venice became the richest people in Europe in the presence of this clock. For hundreds of years the rotation of its golden rays brought pepper, silk, ginger, glass, furs and pearls, frankincense and carpets – anything that the world might contain – here to the Rialto. This was the souk of the Western world. – Roger Crowley
Ci conosciamo dai nostri passi – we know each other by our footsteps. – Nan McElroy
Guest post by: JoAnn Locktov
Photography credits: Charles Christopher Photography