With Venice in autumn during the week before Halloween, I expected damp days, dull light and mystical wisps of mist creeping slowly from the sea over the canals and through the narrow streets. A few wisps of clouds drifted across the otherwise clear blue sky here and there. The Serenissima shone in the light of golden autumn.
Venice has never been seen in its entirety. Every time I visit, I suddenly find myself in a place I’ve never been before, like the Giardini at the eastern end of the city. Leaving the main venue of the Biennale to the left, there is the opportunity for a walk through an idyllic park and a quiet residential area. Not only are there no tourists there, on Saturday morning there were not even any locals out and about. The quay allows a beautiful view of the silhouette of Venice. It’s not easy for me to draw such views of places, but the difficulty here was to fit the whole view onto an A5 page.
Then there are places where I have been many times before, but which still hold an unsuspected secret. I knew the excellent gelato shop at Campo Bandiera e Moro and the little street that only the bravest use, called "Calle della Morte", but I had always passed by the unimposing church of S. Giovanni in Bragora. An unforgivable mistake, especially for me, as it is the baptismal church of Antonio Vivaldi – one of my favourite composers. Also hardly noticed is the (presumed) working place of the important printer and typographer Aldo Pio Manuzio near Campo Sant’Agostin. Venice, not necessarily a city of writers, was once an important centre of book printing. Manuzio printed in ancient Greek letters for the first time in 1495. Besides this important contribution to Humanism, we also owe him cursive writing and the paperback.
I devoted one day – no, not to sketching – to shopping. If it’s not a bookshop, I hate shopping. In the meantime, the regular shops in Venice fill a whole list and since they are quite scattered, it is hardly possible to do it under one day. Not to mention that such a day allows for several rest breaks including Aperol.
The holiday video of Venice now spans 5 years and lasts around 20 minutes. If I go there a few more times, I’ll have made a full-length movie.