– Hazy shades of Venice –

Essential portfolio of Venice in the mist


To serve as a complement to my previous post about visiting and photographing Venice in winter, I collected here a selection of images I took while wandering about Venice in the misty and foggy days of winter.

 *please click on the pictures if you want to see them larger

“Boy with frog” is a sculpture in white steel of the Los Angeles based artist Charles Ray. Prominently situated on the very tip of Punta della Dogana, exactly where the Grand Canal, the Giudecca Canal and the San Marco basin converge, it was placed here at the beginning of June 2009 for the opening of the new exhibition center at the Dogana. Unfortunately, Charles Ray’s wonderful masterpiece is not there anymore. Following a petition made by the population, the statue has been removed and replaced with that old, big lamp post that had always been there. Apparently, for the best or the worst, Venetians are a sort of very traditionalist people… I took this picture about 30 minutes after dawn on a cold and very foggy morning of mid January. This is stitched from nine vertical frames.

Another image of “Boy with frog” this time taken in twilight about 30 minutes before sunrise. I had noticed the clouds and the mist on the horizon were slowly moving towards me. To record this movement into a still photograph I decided to go for a very long exposure (160″ @ f11). It was still very dark, but not as much dark as needed for achieving such a long exposure time, so I used a six stop neutral density filter. The long exposure has beautifully motion-blurred the clouds in the sky, providing the picture with a dynamic element. And, as a secondary but very welcome effect, it also transformed the water of the lagoon into a perfectly flat, highly reflective surface.

A classic or better, iconic view of the Grand Canal from the Rialto Bridge, with the Palace of Camerlenghi on the left and the bell tower of the Santi Apostoli church in the background. It is not easy to take such a calm, old time looking picture of the Grand Canal nowadays, with the water buses and all sort of motor boats passing by all the time. Taken at noon on an overcast and misty day of mid December.

Riva degli Schiavoni with San Giorgio Maggiore in the background. Taken about 30 minutes before sunrise on a very foggy morning of December. It is just gorgeous  to attend the awakening of the city in the early mornings of winter, as you can become aware of those little things that make this city so unique in the world. For example, the big boat on the left is actually one of the many delivery vans of the town, and it’s docked there for resupplying restaurants, hotels, shops and offices of the necessary goods for a new working day. Nobody stops and thinks about it, but everything travel exclusively on boats in Venice, grocery goods included.

Thick layers of fog raising above the lagoon and the San Marco basin, with the church of La Salute and Punta della Dogana in the background. Taken from the vaporetto nr. 2, the one that from Riva degli Schiavoni – close to San Marco – goes to the islands of San Giorgio Maggiore and Giudecca.

The amazing cathedral of San Giorgio Maggiore and the surrounding buildings emerging from the deep fog of the lagoon, in a very cold early morning of mid January. This place seems to be shrouded into mystery, and not only when it is so foggy. After all, this was the place called home by the Benedictine priest Pellegrino Ernetti, the most famous exorcist among those who operated in Venice. Besides this, Father Ernetti is also said to be one of the inventors of the chronovisor, a device that, according to the explanation given by Father Ernetti himself, allowed hearing and seeing any event from the past. In a few words, a time machine. Also this is Venice!

A lady walks her dog on a cold and foggy morning of mid January. Taken at the Fondamenta of Giudecca looking north, with San Giorgio Maggiore in the background. Stitched from eight vertical frames. Giudecca, together with Cannaregio and, partially, Castello, is one of the sestieri (districts) of Venice where people still reside and own their houses. This kind of people is becoming a rarity unfortunately, as there are only fifty-six thousand residents left in the city centre presently. Venice is not a very convenient place to live in, prices are ridicolously high – for everyone, not only for tourists – and householders are being offered big money for selling their houses to corporates and wealthy foreigners who want to set a foot in town. As a result, every day a family or two leave the city and move to the mainland. Sadly, also this is Venice.

A moody, almost surreal view of the Basin in front of San Marco square from a quay of the Giudecca. The three small yellow dots in the water are simply buoys. The waterfront sidewalks at Giudecca, Zattere, and Riva degli Schiavoni are great locations for taking beautiful, comprehensive grand vistas of the Venice skyline and the lagoon, particularly at sunrise and sunset. And when the fog gets in, they become perfect spots for minimalistic, simple yet strong compositions like this one.


Another very typical Venetian view, again a simple, geometrical composition: a quay and two lamp posts on the Giudecca, and the strip of buildings of the city centre in the background. Taken on a hazy evening of mid January, about 30 minutes after sunset.

A panoramic view of the San Marco Basin as seen from atop the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore, with the Cathedrale in the foreground and, in the background, the Giudecca Canal on the left, Punta della Dogana and the entrance of the Grand Canal at the centre, San Marco square and bell tower, Doge’s Palace and Riva degli Schiavoni on the right. One of those glorious sunsets sometimes nature put on stage in the misty evenings of December and January. Stitched from nine vertical frames.

As the night falls down again on the lagoon, the haze spreads the last rays of the setting sun in the sky, casting some amazing colours on the clouds over San Marco. Taken on an evening of mid January from San Giorgio Maggiore.


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Winter impressions of the Serenissima © Paolo De Faveri 2013 

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Venice in winter

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All images and text copyright 2004-2014 Paolo De Faveri. All rights reserved. 

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