The streets close to the Piazza San Marco are cluttered with designer shops, high fashion and even higher prices. But their doors are boring. So I wandered, happily getting lost down alleyways, in pursuit of the perfect portal.
Hotel doors can be interesting, too. Here is a hotel with its own canal and a German hotel shining and glistering in the weak spring sunshine.
Ambling down the side streets, stopping to photograph doors, suddenly you come across a massive church which seems to have been levered into position, dominating a small square.
Or a famous building, such as the Fenice, the Venice Theatre.
But how about some really fancy doors?
And what about the bell pushes?
To get around in Venice, you need to know a bit of Italian to interpret the map. But it is complicated. For example, a piazza is a large, central open square, but the Piazzale Roma is a bus terminus. And there are two piazettas, either side of the Basilica San Marco. However, districts have squares, called a campo, which are urban and not close to canals. Not to be confused with a campiello and a campazzo. I thought I was walking to a swimming pool when I saw the sign “Piscina“, but it is actually a pond which has been filled in to make solid ground.
The Piazza San Marco is the heart of the city. The Doge’s palace, the Basilica San Marco, the campanile (bell tower), the national library and the Correr Museum form the boundaries of the piazza.
Around the Piazza there are some fancy restaurants, with chairs splayed out into the square, but there were very few patrons. Not surprised, the cost of a coffee approaches $20 (strings attached – pardon the pun) when the orchestra plays for you.
Around the corner, there is a shop/museum showing the office machines made by Olivetti. The Museo Correr used to be the offices of Napoleon, who took over the city state at the end of the 18th Century.
You can now take a virtual tour around the museums of Venice free of charge.
“Other cities have admirers; Venice alone has lovers.”
There are 46 side canals joining the Grand Canal. Centuries ago, these side canals were rivulets between the mudbanks on which the city was built.
More Grand Canal door photographs. I didn’t have a telephoto lens, so you can enjoy the facade of the buildings as well as the doors.
We rode a virtually empty vaporetto water bus down the Grand Canal to St Mark’s Square. Vaporetti were driven by steam engines, now replaced by diesels, but the name stuck. Before vaporetti, people moved around the city in gondolas. In modern times, tourists enjoy the expensive charms of the gondoliers, but you can get a traghetto (ferry) in a gondola across the Grand Canal at seven locations for two euros.
Not all the buildings are beautiful. Some are elegantly sliding into decay. Others are being renovated, under cover – sometimes this is an image of the facade, a trompe l’oeil.
More Grand Canal-side doors:
I took more than 200 photographs of Venetian doors, so I need to pack as many as I can into each post or you will be viewing Venice for the next three months!