Canal grande

I spent five days in Venice with my family, thanks to Professor Balbo’s hospitality. As numerous writers have pointed out, Venice is unlike any other city in the world. The first, obvious point is that all the major routes are canals; about 3/4 of the routes in Venice are stone, and one quarter are water. But this also blocks cars and mopeds from entering Venice, which is even more striking than the presence of boats among the houses.

horizon view

This time we stayed in Giudecca, so here I am looking across at Dorsoduro. In the center distance is the campanile of Saint Mark, which is on the far side of the Grand Canal.

1m alley

As for the paved paths: they are often very narow. In this case, 1.5 meters. My Afghan students will note how clean this is. In part this is because Venice is almost entorely paved. There is little opportunity for dust to emerge within the city because it is all covered with stone.

wall flowers

Since most Venetians do not have yards, they like to hand flower-boxes out of windows. The effect is lovely. But also notice the extreme simplicity of the building itself, which is typical of most Venetian houses. The building is a box, covered in colored plaster, with detailing only at the openings and the roofline. Maybe at the base. As part of a dense urban fabric, it works just fine.

hidden garden

Where there are gardens, they are usually in the courtyards of houses. They are only visible if doors are open or if the door is an open metal-work gate like this one.


More paved pedestrian streets. On the left, notice the small bags of trash. In Venice and now in many cities, residents have to separate their trash into paper, glass, metal, and garbage. The first three are recycled; only the last is dumped.

older couples

For many years, young people left Venice for better opportunities on the mainland. The city functioned as a combination retirement community and tourist resort. Recently, though, a web and multimedia industry has begun on this island, so young adults are moving here for the first time in many years.

public fountain

Venice and other Italian cities still have working public fountains.

sunset colors

The hazy air at the end of the Lombardy Plain makes for wonderful sunset light in Venice.

San Marco landing

Approaching the landing at Saing Mark’s. Here the view is carefully designed to impress the visitor. On the right, the Duke’s Palace. Beyond it, the edge of St. Mark’s chapel. In the middle distance, the clock tower. To the left, the campanile. On the far left, the library and the beginning of the galleries that wrap around St. Mark’s Plaza.


In most cities, tourists are the most lucrative business. They demand few expensive resources such as schools, and they spend a lot of money. The next four pictures are from the gallery of the Dukes’ Palace…

more tourists

where there are lots of tourists…

and more tourists

and more tourists…

still more

and still more tourists.

Capella San Marco

Venice has been designed for receiving tourists for hundreds of years.


Archiecture corner: on the right, the Duke’s Palace. On the left, St. Mark’s chapel. kind of an interesting juncture between them.

iwan of San Marco

On the front face of St. Mark’s is an outward-turned apse, with beautiful mosaic illustrations. This outward-turned archway is very unusual in Europe. It is much more similar to the ‘iwan used in Iranian public buildings.

overwhelmed infrastructure

Venetians try very hard to keep their city clean, and the tourists do too. Notice that all the trash is piled up around the garbage can.

leaning towers


priest and grapes

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