The walkways of Venice have been the muses to Poets, Painters and Musicians for centuries. The narrow streets that break into unsuspecting courtyards released by shadowed passages ‘sotoportego’s’ falling over bridges, inspire and frustrate. The labyrinth that is Venice satisfyingly surpasses even the powers of Google maps.
But the lesser known, more exclusive view can be found ‘in alto’ above the bustling heads and shop windows. Where the layers upon layers of tiled roofs create the floor and the sky – the ceiling. Despite the densely populated structure of the city, there is a limit on how high the houses are permitted to grow. Not entering into the political reasons behind this, it has resulted in the skyline being broken only by the silhouettes of the timeless towers and domes.
For me, I search out these heights for different reasons and in different moods. Therefore I have thought of three of my favourite ‘birds eye views’ of Venice. I hope you find and enjoy them too.
A place to appreciate and learn: The terrace of Fondazione dei Tedeschi. Recently refurbished and open to the public, this old post office just off from the Rialto bridge offers one of the best views from within the city itself. Not only can you see down into the narrow callis, but also beyond to the Lagoon Island’s, and even the Dolomites on a clear day. This is a fairly unique view in the fact that it allows you also to appreciate (probably for the first time) the entire bend of the Grand Canal. For me what I enjoy most is the carefully detailed guides that name what it is you are looking at. You may be surprised with the orientation.
I would advise everyone to go here, because whilst yes it reaffirms suspicions you may have had that ‘Venice is not actually that big’, it gives a new found respect for Venetians and what has been achieved.
A place for perspective (and sunset): San Marks bell tower is often praised as the most magnificent view of Venice, partly because of its positioning and prestiage, but we all know that the best view of the coast is from sea. This is also true of Venice. In a previous post, I talked about the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore for its many attributes, but only briefly touched on the bell tower. It is a made in a similar style to that of San Mark’s and stands 63 m high. There is a small admission charge, but it is worth it especially for sun set.
A place to hide: Just like when walking a mountain, you often find that the people you encounter on the path are like-minded and I guess this is to be expected I have had the same happy experience each time I have searched for solitude on the top floor of Palazzo Fortuny. Whilst I am sure I am not alone in enjoying this space because of the high quality of the exhibition, I also think that it is not the first place that people will think to look for you. So on days, when you are feeling particularly thoughtful, it is worth taking a book, scaling the three stories, naturally taking time to observe all the art, but fundamentally knowing that solitude with a wonderful view can be found on the top floor. There are chairs to sit on, and low wooden beams that comfort and shelter.
Finally…A place to eat: Many restaurants in Venice can boast an exceptional view, helped largely by the ‘narrow streets that break into unsuspecting courtyards, released by shadowed passages ‘sottoportegos’, falling over bridges’, but to continue with the theme of heights, we would recommend making the effort to travel to the far side of the Guidecca and seek out ”.Al Storico da Crea
Enjoy the view!