Venice Revealed : An Intimate Portrait / Paolo Barbaro ; Translated by Tami Calliope ; Photographs by Ken Aiken.
The city of Venice is a kind of miracle: surrounded by sea, cut by more canals than streets, made up of a hundred and twenty separate islands connected by bridges, built on sand and mud and reinforced by millions of ancient, petrified tree trunks; it defies nature and belief. No city in the world has been more often painted or written about. For centuries it has drawn visitors to its cafes and churches, masked balls and street life, the intricate lacework of its palazzi, the clarity of its light and dazzle of its waters, the shimmer of its green lagoon.But Venice is dying, a victim of global warming and increasing pollution, literally sinking into the sea under the weight of its tourists while ordinary citizens can barely afford to live there. Paolo Barbaro grew up in the Venice of old, a closed and stratified society in which crafts flourished, gondolas were built in its many bustling boatyards, and boys dove for crabs in the crystalline waters of its canals. After a full working life as a civil engineer in cities scattered across the world, Barbaro went home. There he fell in love all over again with a city that seemed to be slipping away. Yet, "even at its most derelict and degraded," he writes, "this city-that-is-entirely-a-work-of-art is still wholly lived in and livable." Everything has changed and nothing has changed. Disembodied voices still float through the labyrinthine alleyways, the microcalli "for native Venetians only, even today"; the old rhythms and refrains remain. The architecture, the urban landscape, the inescapable presence of the lagoon with its penetrating dampness, the feel and smell of air heavy with sea salt, the unique character of the city and its people all come back to him after a long absence that in truth was not long at all. He describes the illumination of that rediscovery in this extraordinary book - a brilliant evocation of an imperiled city that has lost none of its power to dazzle and disorient, bewilder and seduce, but which may be losing its foothold in our world.
- Hardback | 233 pages
- 148.3 x 222.3 x 24.9mm | 430.92g
- 01 Feb 2008
- Steerforth Press
- South Royalton, United States