Mention a leaning tower and Pisa gets all the attention; not without warrant I must say, for the colonnaded design of that tower makes it particularly attractive (not to mention its impressive neighbours in Field of Miracles) and if you ever ascend its spiral, the experience of feeling thrown from wall to wall as the lean pulls you towards the inner and then the outer wall is also memorable. Let’s be fair though, Venice has lots more leaning towers (even it’s most famous; the Campanile of San Marco is in need of help with stability, despite being completely rebuilt in the 2oth Century) and we shouldn’t be surprised; building such structures on a series of water-logged islands in a lagoon probably isn’t good architectural practice.
This one is the bell tower of Santo Stefano and having added another 6.1cm to its lean in the last 60 years, it might just be in greater need than San Marco.
For many (and doubtless more after Mr Clooney’s example) Venice is the perfect city in which to marry. Luxurious hotels, historic palaces, secret gardens, and photogenic backdrops abound. My shot of the bride being gently rowed to her wedding was marred when one of her family seated in the same gondola moved into frame and blocked the lady of the hour.
In Ravello, I witnessed four weddings in a single day (no funeral!) but I didn’t expect to get another chance here, because the brides are likely to be spread throughout the city.
So imagine my surprise when I got a shot of a bride in one of the world’s busiest holiday destinations without others filling the scene. There was a solitary waiter in the original, but I felt the image had more power without him so I resorted to removing him from shot.
They’ll probably crop up again because they appealed to me so much; there is a certain design of lamp-post found in many parts of the city which I just love. They are ornate, they are colourful (you’ll have to take my work on that) and they work!
Having the opportunity to shoot a repeating pattern, not just of the posts but also their reflections was irresistible. Shame about the people!
Time for one of the obvious Venetian shots – the pinnacle of the Campanile San Marco, bell tower of the basilica that dominates the great piazza, and many views of the city from the lagoon. It is one of the tallest, if not the tallest structure in Venice, at least until the vast ten storey high cruise ships drift by, at which point everything else seems to lose it’s significance.
This is an Italian campanile that I have not climbed to get a birds eye view (unless you count scaling the 15th Century version in the guise of Ezio Auditore in a well known computer game) for in Venice that’s kind of missing the point. In a city where the facade is everything, looking down on the rooftops seems futile.
Compared to many of the other towers around the city, cracked, weathered and tilting in all directions, the Campanile San Marco looks pristine as well it might; in 1902 the original tower collapsed into a pile of rubble and immediately it was decided to rebuild it exactly as it was (though with internal reinforcement this time). The work took a decade, so the tower we see today, though medieval in design, is very much a 20th Century structure.