Thursday, August 9, 2007

Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy

Venice has a unique character and, although packed with tourists, there are some good plein air painting spots off the beaten path that you can get to easily using the public water taxi system. There are several islands in the Venetian lagoon including the less visited Giudecca as well as the more well known islands of Murano and further afield, Burano.

No matter what time of day you go to Piazza San Marco, it is crowded with tourists waiting to get water taxis to other locations, or lining up to get into the Doge’s Palace. I tried to plein air paint along the waterfront a few times where there are lovely views across to San Giorgio Maggiore, and although the view was magnificent, you won’t be able to avoid the hordes of tourists. I like the evening view the best since the late light on the fa├žade of San Giorgio is beautiful. It is best viewed from across the water from San Marco but you can also get a view of it from the promenade next to the Santa Maria della Salute.
I did this plein air painting of Santa Maria della Salute from Piazza San Marco on a rainy day so there were not too many tourists around to bother me. There is only one location where you can get a good view to Santa Maria della Salute without being on a private restaurant balcony or in a main thoroughfare and away from the tourists, but you need to explore the side alleys quite a lot to find it. When you find the right alleyway, it ends up in a small platform over the water in front of one of the palaces and has a great view over to Santa Maria della Salute. This particular alleyway is almost directly opposite the church. You won’t be bothered by tourists, just the occasional person using the boat moorings there to load supplies. I didn’t find any secluded places where you can get an interesting oblique view and I spent several hours trying. The only oblique view was from in front of the water taxi stop, but there was a lot of traffic there.

Money saving tip: if you are planning to stay in Venice for a week or so, buy one of the weekly passes on the water taxis. It’s much cheaper and you’ll have easy access to the whole of Venice.

Overall rating: **
Aesthetics: *****
Accessibility: *****
Tranquility: *
Variety: **
Shade: **

Map: Piazza San Marco, Venezia, Italy

This location contributed by:
Barry John Raybould