Having girded our stomachs with food and drink — well, ice cream and water — we set off in the general direction given to us by our very helpful gesticulating Italian Policeman.

Our route took us out of the heat and the seething masses of St Mark’s Square and into the shade of the maze of narrow backstreets that exist between and behind the main waterways. It takes some time for your eyes to get used to the lack of light.

Venice is similar to another famous canal city — Amsterdam — where the only way you can build is up! The backstreets are narrow — often one person wide — and I am sure some of them never see the light of day.

As you can see, we are walking in half light — at least on this street we could walk side by side.

One can only imagine the marketing strategies that you would have to employ if you had a business here to get people to your doorstep.

The next street looked abandoned…

However, if you look upwards into the light, you can see signs of life — flowers growing in pots on a small balcony.

David — you will be delighted to know you can find quieter watering holes where you can rest awhile — this one was particularly tempting as it had an open terrace alongside the canal.

We would have stopped, but it was ludicrously expensive, and decided that a photograph would have to suffice.

Over another bridge, and we have the opportunity for the obligatory gondola shot in good light.

This bridge leads us to a small square dominated by the church of St Mary of the Lily — Chiesa di Santa Maria del Giglio which has one of the finest Venetian Baroque facades in all of Venice.

It really is quite breathtakingly beautiful.

If you take a photograph from another perspective at the bottom of the Square you can see exactly why it is called a facade — the same building taken over a far more welcoming and considerably less expensive cafe on the waterfront.

We make what we hope is our final turn back to the main water way and go down a long passage — even alley is too wide an expression to describe it. We have made it waterside to the jetty — what a relief — we have left the maze behind we now have water and water marks as opposed to landmarks to navigate by.

Turning and looking back you can see the passageway we have just exited — it really does look if the building on the right is holding up the one on the left.

This is the view looking back down towards open water — rather than up the canal. The domed building on the opposite side of the Grand Canal is Santa Maria della Salute commonly known simply as the Salute, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica.

Constructed in the Baroque style is is the most recent of the so called “plague churches.” Plague churches as their name suggests were rather grand offerings built to glorify God and to grant relief and deliverance from the Plague which swept through Europe at regular intervals.

Right opposite our ferry station was this rather nice painted building — for which I can find no identity, at the time I hoped it was going to be an indicator or more delights to come once our ferry connection arrived.

Lastly — and because of mine and David’s curiosity here is a map of where we walked — crazy!


  1. Tremendous article! The images are excellent. This feels to me like the Real Venice with all the crevices and the hiding places where the real people live and work all day.

    The “one person” streets and alleys are just divine. You immediately feel safe an enclosed.

    The “facade” image is fantastic! I’m sure they never thought anyone would ever take a side view of their masking! SMILE!

    1. There is so much contrast between the water and the alleyways they are total opposites. I wish I had access to Google glass for this trip – especially the Venice part as the contrasts are almost unbelievable.

      I am sure the sun never shines on some of the streets – we passed a coupe of hotels – 4 and 5 stars which opened onto these alleyways – it is hard to comprehend how difficult it must be for them to operate – they are hard enough to find and get people to – let alone supplies!

      I have to say I could not resist the facade shot – it looks as though it was bolted on!

      1. You are yearning for Google Glass?!! Oh, noes!!!

        It would be hard to imagine places with no sunshine. That makes them soulless canyons of the spirit. They also must be hard to keep clean and naturally disinfected.

        That facade shot is one of my all-time favorites! SMILE!

  2. Maybe not Google glass but to have been able to record as you go along must be quite neat – but that is a whole different skill set and I think for me I would loose the enjoyment I got – which of course is where Google glass wins, because it makes it all so easy.

    I think some of the “aroma” of Venice comes from the dark forgotten corners ……..

    I think it has to be one of mine too – they never had pictures like that in my history books – it would have made things a lot easier to understand.

    1. Ah! I like that — it’s the unexplored darkness that gives Venice is unique scent!

      Completely agree on the side-facade showing — that’s precisely what we MUST teach our children to lookout for in their daily routines. Look beyond the obvious. Take a different angle. Find a new reality in a perceived understanding!

  3. It is also the still waters, the corners where the water is not churned up by the boats, still water attracts all kinds of bugs etc and algae can easily grow. Also when it floods which it can do in the winter months all kinds of nasties emerge from sewage systems and the like.

    Yes we must always encourage our children to ask why, how, what, where, when – I can remember my grandmother saying to me over 50 years ago that not everything was as it seemed – wise lady!

    1. Yikes! I can imagine how still waters are not really appreciated in Venice. You really have to watch your step in more ways than one!

      Yes, we must always remain curious at every age, and in many ways, stay vigilantly skeptical until given proper evidence. It’s easy to claim anything and difficult to prove few things.

  4. I wish I had the time to talk to people about how their lives are affected by living in water like that – maybe next time.

    My dad used to say the more I know the more I realize I don’t know – I am pretty sure he was quoting someone else but I have no idea who.

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