Acqua Pura (Venezia 146)

This is the same fountain from yesterday’s blog, set in the centre of the Campo San Giacomo di Rialto it provides a centrepiece to a square where many stop to rest on the steps of the church and watch the world go by, including the many users of the water here.  That campaign to convince people of its safety must have worked.

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Over their heads (Venezia 144)

Of the estimated 60,000 visitors per day that wash in and out of Venice like the tides of the lagoon, a good proportion will visit the Rialto Bridge, and many of these will spill into the Campo San Giacomo and the trinket and handbag stalls that proliferate between the arches of Ruga degli Orefice.  The colonnades that are disguised behind these stalls are ignored by those in search of a gift to take home from the city, but it wasn’t always so; one of Turner’s sketchbooks in The Tate, show that he considered the view looking back towards the bridge as potential subject matter, and historically these arches are where the bankers and moneylenders operated, and where the invention of the Bill of Exchange took place.  (Sorry, but I’m a former banker).  It was such a money-lender that provided Shakespeare with his inspiration for The Merchant of Venice of course.

Stepping behind these stalls and under the portico, there are still traces of former glory in the fading ceiling frescos, but I wonder just how many of the 60,000 never see them.

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Il fumatore (Venezia 14)

Many of my favourite images shot in Venice are of the people I saw there, and though there are some beautiful women amongst them, this man stopping for a quick cigarette in the Campo San Giacomo di Rialto is my favourite.  It’s partly his expression, partly the tones in the picture, but for me it really works; let me know what you think.

Attitudes to smoking are now one of the things that distinguish cultures I find; as we Brits continue to make life difficult for the tobacco lover we have become accustomed to smoke free public spaces, and it’s easy to forget that our enthusiasm for clean air isn’t universally shared.  In Venice there is a law preventing smoking on public transport and the landing stages, but as far as I can see any other restriction is at the discretion of the owner of the premises.

The city council passed a by-law making it compulsory to provide a no-smoking area.  It’s just for show, to keep the tourists happy.  Normally no one pays any attention in a place like this, but every once in a while some arsehole insists on the letter of the law.

Dead Lagoon – Michael Dibdin

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