Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Venice

A pickup point for Gondolas in Venice
A pickup point for Gondolas in Venice 

In this post, I thought I would concentrate on some of the things that we first noticed while wandering around the floating city - not so much the things that one thinks of as quintessentially Venetian, such as gondolas and Carnevale masks, which I will look at in more detail in later posts.

The image above is of the main Gondola "pickup point" at St Marks square. A 5.30am start was required to photograph the area around St Marks square without tourists walking into the frame. This area is unbelievably busy during "normal" hours of the day. The church in the background is San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of San Giorgio.

Read on for more info and images.

A Vaporetto navigates the Grand Canal
A Vaporetto navigates the Grand Canal

Venice consists of two main islands, which are divided by the Grand Canal, and a number of smaller islands. The Grand Canal, as the name suggests, is the main waterway used to get around. It starts in the Venetian lagoon and ends in St Marks Basin. The areas along the two banks of the Grand Canal are very touristy and full of restaurants and souvenir shops.

A Gondola glides along the Grand Canal
A Gondola glides along the Grand Canal

There are 4 bridges which span the Grand Canal. Of these the Rialto is the best known and the oldest - in fact, until the middle of the 19th century, this was the only bridge to span the Grand Canal. The Rialto is named after the market on eastern bank of the canal. It was initially a pontoon bridge built in 1181 by Nicolo Barettieri. Due to increased traffic the bridge was replaced by wooden bridge in 1255.  The wooden bridge burnt once and collapsed on two separate occasions, the last of which was in 1524. The stone bridge which stands today was built in 1591. It is constantly packed with tourists, either taking pictures, looking out over the Grand Canal or browsing around the two rows of shops which span the length of the bridge.

The Rialto Bridge
The Rialto Bridge

The Ponte dell' Academia is a relatively new wooden bridge across the Grand Canal. It is also the closest crossing to St Marks square. The entrance to the Gallerie dell' Academia is at the foot of this bridge on the eastern bank. The bridge offers two of the best views of Venice.

The Grand Canal photographed form the Academia Bridge
The Grand Canal photographed form the Academia Bridge

The islands of Venice are home to around 80 churches. Walking into most of these is like walking into small museums, as a number of them contain paintings and sculptures of the great Venetian artists including Tintoretto, Veronese and Titian.

>Santa Maria della Salute photographed from a Vaporetto
Santa Maria della Salute photographed from a Vaporetto

All these images were captured using a Canon 7D and a Canon 24-105mm Lens. I also had a circular polariser on the lens.

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