In a world that is becoming increasingly globalised – is there a city anywhere that doesn’t have a McDonald’s and a Starbucks? – Venice remains unique. It’s a little grubby, and there is always scaffolding somewhere, but nothing can tarnish the charm of this city, with its canals and bridges, tucked away squares and hidden corners, gondolas and water-buses and the faded glamour of Venice’s golden age. I just love the window on the past that Venice provides. Take away a few modern boats and nothing much has changed in hundreds of years.
Last week I was fortunate enough to visit Venice with my husband and my son. I love that living here in Doha brings me so much closer to the rest of the world and I get to pop over to places like Venice for a few days. I have to confess to being in love with Venice. This was my third visit and it was still magical. That moment when we opened out shutters in our rented apartment to find a vegetable market in the square. Riding down the Grand Canal at the front of the vaporetto. Finding a cafe for dinner where the locals eat. Celebrating my birthday with lunch at the Caffe Florian and a Gondola ride. Magical moments!
Our favourite activity in Venice is just to stroll, with no particular destination in mind. It is a very small city, and since it is an island you can’t get too lost. With maps in hand and a vague sense of where we wanted to end up, we would head out each day and explore. At each corner we would choose that path that we hadn’t followed before, or that seemed the most scenic, or the most appealing for whatever reason – that reason usually being the best opportunity for a photo! I tried to take photos that captured the “ordinary” Venice (which in my opinion is quite extraordinary!). Bridges that went nowhere in particular, little window boxes, washing on the line, small canals, doors and those gorgeous Venetian gothic window arches.
As a dedicated digital scrapbooker, as I was taking my photos I was thinking about the layouts I would create with them, which art kits I would use, how many pages I would need in my photo book. Admit it – you do that too, don’t you? I was even composing the journaling in my head! In the end, however, I decided that these photos needed no embellishment, and very little, if any, journaling. Since they were not really photos of any particular place, it seemed to me that there was very little I could say that the photos didn’t say more eloquently themselves. I decided to do a very simple book, with full page photos, black backgrounds and perhaps a few quotes. I have attached screenshots of the first few pages to show you what I mean. Some pages have nothing but the photo. On some I have stretched the photo across two pages, and I plan to print this with the Lay Flat option, so that the large photos can be seen as a single image. I have found some great quotes about Venice online, and the only embellishments on my pages are these quotes in a variety of fonts.
Here are some of the quotes I have found. If you know any good ones, I’d love to hear them!
“Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.” Truman Capote
“I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs, A palace and a prison on each hand: I saw from out the wave her structures rise As from the stroke of the enchanter’s wand: A thousand years their cloudy wings expand Around me, and a dying Glory smiles O’er the far times, when many a subject land Looked to the winged Lion’s marble piles, Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!” Lord Byron
“It is always assumed that Venice is the ideal place for a honeymoon. This is a grave error. To live in Venice or even to visit it, means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else.” Peggy Guggenheim
“A realist, in Venice, would become a romantic by mere faithfulness to what he saw before him” Arthur Symons
“Getting lost is the only place worth going to.” Tiziano Scarpa
The best thing about this project is that I will be finished this book in a few days. I will be ordering it from the Panstoria Print Shop and I’ll have my coffee table book on my coffee table within a month of getting home from our trip. I call that a magical moment!