Aperativo break at the Venice Carnival

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I wasn’t able to make it to the Venice Carnival this year as I’m in a play and can’t miss the rehearsals. So, I’m post photos from previous years instead.

I love the expression on the gentleman’s face on the left. He doesn’t look too happy. Maybe his wig is itching him, or he’s wishing he was drinking an Aperol Spritz like his companion. I felt a bit like a time traveller watching them both anyhow – was it really the 21st century?!!! The wonderful thing about Venice is that the backdrop looks so historic, and there are no cars, so once people step into period costume you really can start to believe that you have stepped back in time.

Arrivederci Venezia – a la prossima!

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Tomorrow I say goodbye to Venice and fly back to London after nearly two months here. It’s not without a heavy heart that I leave. In fact if it wasn’t for the fact that I have to supervise works on my apartment back home I would probably be extending my stay again.

So, why the heartache? Well, I can honestly say that no place has touched my heart and soul like Italy. I’ve admired and been fascinated by other countries but this country just reeled me in. The crush began as a teenager when I was bewitched by the mere prospect of a place existing that is renowned for its food, wine, opera, fashion, design, scooters, ice cream, football, history, stunning scenery and dark handsome men (among many other things). I wanted the country so much that I was content to spend a year in Milan – I didn’t care if it wasn’t high on the tourist wish list – it was still Italy! And since then I just can’t shake off the country. And I know I’m not the only one that has a thing about the place.

So, if you agree with me that Italy is the most incredible place on this planet, then which would you argue is its magical city? How could it not be Venice – this mystical city built on water – home to the most incredible architecture, the majestic gondolas that look like they are dancing on the water, that fantastical bright orange drink called Spritz, those wonderful narrow alleyways that usually lead to a dead-end or another canal, and the washing everywhere – oh those washing lines!

And then the people are really friendly! How can this possibly be in a city that is over-run with tourists?! A place that is invaded daily by huge cruise ships that belche out hordes of tourists, who gape and gaze and maybe buy an ice cream or occasionally take a gondola ride, then suck them back in and move on. Why don’t the locals tell us to get lost? Why aren’t they rude to us? Why don’t they charge us a fortune for a glass of wine instead of sometimes just a measly 80 cents?  Why do they tolerate me photographing them (albeit discreetly but I’m sure they know)?

I guess it just goes against the Italians’ nature to be inhospitable so they can’t stop themselves from welcoming us with open arms and hearts. (Which the owners of my apartment did incidentally. They are such lovely people and so generous that they even let me borrow a cat for two months to keep me company!

So how does one say goodbye to Venice in a photograph? I guess I just have to finish how I began, with a picture of a gondolier. I know it’s a cliche, but hear me out – the gondolas may be the symbol of Venice but gondoliers also in my mind symbolise what is great about Venetians. They tolerated me photographing them without ever a complaint; they never ever hassled me to take a gondola – other than occasionally greeting me with the soft signature call of “Gondola, gondola…” as I walked past (which I secretly grew to love). Whenever I saw them interacting with the customers they seemed friendly and courteous – even when the trip was over and they didn’t need to be anymore. Their beautiful boats have a grace on the water that is just hypnotic to observe, and in their striped jumpers and straw boaters they are, well what can I say, devilishly handsome!

So goodbye gondoliers – I will miss you. And goodbye Venice. Until the next time…

(Oh, but don’t think this is the last of the Venice photos. I will keep posting them – just to help ease the pain).

 

 

The instinctive artists

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This photo is dedicated to Tim, a follower of my blog who has kindly fed back to me many times on my photos – reassuring me that there is an audience out there! More precisely it is dedicated to Tim’s wife, whom he says has been known to hang out her washing in specific colours and shapes to create an art installation. Thankfully she recognised the artist within herself when doing this because she went on to put on a public art show involving a washing line that people could rearrange as they chose. You can read about it in his comments to a recent post.

Washing lines and window displays are two examples of ‘street art’ that are persistent in Venice. Maybe that is one of the reasons why I love the city so much – because the Venetians turn hanging out the washing or decorating shop windows into such an exquisite art form that there is beauty all around you wherever you go.  In fact I’m sure the message on the window is a nod to the fact that dressing a window in Venice is no ordinary task; it is the work of an artist.

I included the lady in the photo because I think it makes it appear as if the window is talking to her, saying “Why aren’t you appreciating what has been created here?!!!!”

(Very) Little Red Riding Hood

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I saw three Little Red Riding Hoods during carnival: one lady in a very fantastical costume which made her a magnet for the photographers; a guy comically dressed as the girl in red, and this one, which is my favourite. I know I am starting to have a thing about toddlers in costume – but there really is something very endearing about the sight of them dressed up. So I expect there will be more to come!

Weekly photo challenge: Abandoned

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This little ‘lion cub’ looks like he has been abandoned amongst the crowd at the Venice carnival celebrations. Actually he was very safe and seemed to be in heaven amongst the streamers and confetti and the street band playing in the sunshine. I was in heaven too capturing his movements. I would love to give the pictures to his parents (who had not abandoned him by any means and were standing by keeping an eye on him!) I gave the father my business card and am hoping they will get in touch.

Here’s the full story of his escapades (see photos below). I love the look on the mother’s face –  it seems that she too is moved by watching her adorable little son during this precious time in his young history. It’s being able to capture beautiful scenes like this that makes me so happy to be a photographer!

(I have, ahem, edited this post after the parents did to my delight get in touch and I discovered that it is a little boy called Levante and not a girl as I had wrongly assumed. Sorry Levante, but you just look so darned cute!)

Posted for the weekly photo challenge

Venice promenader

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Taking a photograph of someone in costume along the Venice waterfront at sunset is a bit of a carnival cliché I know. But I  like the symmetry of her mask reflecting the dome of the church and the way her outfit mirrors the colours of the sky.

Three Venice Carnival pictures

For a change I’m posting three photos, taken earlier this evening in Venice, for the  wordpress weekly photo challenge: Threes

Free spirit

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A recent sunny afternoon had me mesmerised as I watched the majestic silhouettes of the gondolas on the grand canal, gliding as effortlessly through the sun-dappled water as the seagulls above it.

Can there possibly be any place quite as beautiful as Venice on a clear spring day?