Marco Gaggio (@neumarc) continues to share his unique perspective of his home city of Venice, highlighting some of the architectural facades and landscapes – other than the infamous canal – that lend to the beauty of the city.
If you missed Part I of this series, you can find it here.
When people think of Venice they often think of the canal. Describe another unique feature of the city.
One of the most unique elements of Venetian architecture is the rhythm of the facades. Though you don’t notice it immediately, all of the buildings share a particular characteristic: the style of their windows. Even if buildings were built in different eras, their windows – representing the gothic rectangular shape – are consistent with one another. They create a homogeneous, open look throughout Venice.
Photographically, what draws you to Venetian architecture?
Venice was meant to appear light and transparent as it emerged from the water, and throughout centuries, architects continuously strove for height and verticality in their work. Although those elements typically represent the gothic style, they were true of buildings and structures that were built outside of the gothic era as well. I try to mimic those characteristics in my photography, looking for tall, clean lines. Venice is also a two-dimensional city and so I look for harmonious asymmetrical compositions in my work, too.
Venice is known as a city that’s sinking. If you had the power to stop the sinking process for three structures, which three would you choose to save?
I would choose the St. Mark Basilica, which adds a touch of the Orient to the city and gives you a sense of how close the Middle East is. Then, I would save the Miracle’s Church, a small, magical church in the middle of the city, encircled by the canal. It’s one of the most popular for Venetian weddings. Finally, I would save the Arsenale, not only because it is an incarnation of the history of Venice (it was once a boat factory), but because it is an incredibly modern-looking piece of architecture that is stunning and mysterious, but also useful in function.
Venice is very labyrinthine – do you still get lost? What’s been one thing you’ve found completely by accident while trying to find your way?
I have to admit that I sometimes get lost in the Castello area. That part of the city feels like a maze. Just recently, and by accident, I discovered the narrowest street in Venice, Calle Varisco, at just 53cm wide. It was kind of scary – I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who feels claustrophobic easily. I’ve since started a new project, #neumarchotspots, that offers tips for discovering cool places around the city. It’s true that some of the best places are found when you’re not looking for them – this gives people a place to share some of those discoveries.
Gondolas: fan or not?
I am not a big fan of how Gondolas are used today. They serve as a tourist trap, almost like a Disneyland attraction with long lines forming for those who want to ride. When I was a child, my grandmother always asked for a gondola ride for her birthday – it was something special. They simply don’t retain their same memory or purpose today.
Thanks, Marco! Stay tuned for another City Perspectives profile next week.