Venetian Impressions


I’m back from Venice and still processing. A lot of what I saw was just the way I remembered it, a lot was better, many things were worse. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tourists in my life. Tourists as such are no fun because you never get to see anything in peace, you’re always pushed and shoved but in Venice tourism takes on bizarre forms. I’m not going to go into all of that, I’ll rather leave you with some of my favourite photographic impressions.


As you may easily notice, I’m fond of Venetian masks. We even found the shop who manufactured the masks for the movie Eyes Wide Shut.



Not everyone may be as fond of masks as I am , so here are a few other impressions.

















As some of you know I wanted to find one of the most beautiful bookshops in the world, The Libreria Alta Aqua. It was quite a challenge to be honest as the bookshop is hard to find, but we managed in the end. Most photos are a bit blurred, but I made some, which show quite nicely what an amazing shop it is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bookshop that was this crammed, using every little bit of space. Many of the books are stored in old boats. If you wonder, I didn’t feel tempted to buy anything. As picturesque as it was to visit the shop, the books are very damp and that’s something I’m not too keen on.








I have taken a lot of other photos, notably in areas where there were no tourists, but I’ll keep those for another day.

After having read Guy’s comment below, I thought I add this link that will tell you more about the “secret of the padlocks”.

54 thoughts on “Venetian Impressions

  1. Lovely pictures. We spent a day in Venice and took a walk out from the center just to get away from the tourists. Even with a street map it is very easy to get lost in the narrow streets. Too many tourists but also, happily, no cars. The bookshop pictures suggest what some of our houses will look like if we don’t get out book buying under control.

    • Thanks, Silver Season. It’s indeed not an easy city to find your way. Mayn of the small streets are not on the maps. Sooner or later you laways find out of the maze but at night it’s tricky.
      Parts of my aprtament don’t look much better than the bookshop but at least the books are not damp.

  2. Looks like a wonderful place to visit. Living in London and Boston has trained me to accept tourists. And I love the bookshop. Great photos and I’m glad you enjoyed your time for the most part.

    • I enjoyed it a lot but there are way too many tourists. Not comparable with London or Paris or any other place I’ve ever been. But it’s definitely worth going. Such an unique place.

  3. Quite a sight, that bookstore. Looks like a nice idyllic holiday despite the tourists. I haven’t been there yet but will get there one day. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  4. Hi Caroline, for me it was a lovely surprise to get your post Monday morning. Thanks a lot for enlarging my world today. Venice through your eyes and shots are very beautiful indeed. By what I saw in your pictures Acqua Alta bookstore would be a secondhand one? Heavens, what a disarray! How could someone find what they desire there? As a librarian I moaned when I see that. Of course it has its enchantment, but for practical purposes… Ah, is the dampness the result of the environment of Venice? How they protect the books against fungi?
    Thanks again!!

    • Thanks, Lucia. I’m glad you liked it.
      The bookshop sells new books that look like secondhand books and a lot of secondhand books too.
      As you can see on the last picture the canal comes almost right up to the shop and during the flood season in winter there is alta aqua, and the shop can get flooded. All of Venice is damp. And also a bit smelly. It’s the mix of beauty and decay that’s fascinating. The book shop is interesting because he’s spread over different houses. Quite a labyrinth.

  5. Hi, Caroline. Welcome back! And thanks for the lovely photos of your impressions of Venice. Now when my roommate complains about how many books I bring home and how crowded my shelves are getting, I have a bona fide picture of “it could always be worse!”

  6. Welcome back, Caroline. Thanks for the photos. I particularly liked the one of the reddish coloured house with a white–I don’t know what you’d call it–over the wooden door.

    So Venice has graffiti too? What is the significance of all the locks?

    • Thansk, Guy. Yes, yes, that house is one I’m particularly fond of. I took a whole series of it. It was one of a very few nicely renovated. It’s a relief, over the door. They have quite a lot of those, that or frescoes. Nic small detals, hidden everywhere.
      Ha. The locks. I should have provided some background information. It’s a total craze and tourist buy them and fix them on the brdiges causing a lot of damage.
      The whole craze was inspired by Federico Moccia’s novel I Want You. There is a guardina article. I might insert it in the post.

      • Why does it say FREE on the door of the bookshop?
        Now off to read the article.

        BTW, I was put off of Venice when I read a non fiction book about how the pigeons are poisoned.

        • I have no clue about the FREE.
          Not only the pigeons, Guy. There are no cats in the whole city, only a very few that belong to people like the book shop owner. They were all killed as well. It saddeneend me a lot when I found out. I wouldn’t want to live there, that’s for sure. They have many dogs though.

      • I feel obliged to point out that while the novel you reference may have helped promote the practice of attaching locks to romantic bridges and such in places like Venice and Paris, the practice has gone on for a very, very long time in China.

        • You are right, of course but I think the fact that it has gotten out of hands and become a ral nuisance is due, in parts to the book. And it’s quite annoying to see how people profit from it and others fall into that tacky trap. There’s not the tiniest bit of magic in it.

  7. I’m very impressed with your photographic talent! You managed to take beautiful pictures with almost no-one in them in a place that is so chock-full of tourists you can hardly move. I actually hated Venice the two times I’ve visited for exactly that reason. But that was years ago and maybe I’d be able to appreciated the charm of it more now.

    • Thanks, Bettina. The tourists are dreadful indeed and their behaviour is bad. It was difficult to take pictures. It took a lot of patienece and some cooler days.

  8. Welcome back, Caroline! You were missed.
    The photos are really wonderful and capture the spirit of Venice so well. I would have thought the tourists would be gone this time of year, so that’s too bad. Imagine what summer must be like there.
    That bookstore looks like it’s been flooded more than once. Damp books–no, thanks. Makes for great photos, though.

    • Aww, thanks, Carole. It seems that September/October are the worst months in terms of tourists. November should be very good or so they told us. Not sure I would like the flooding and the cold though.
      We had two rainy, windy days and that was pretty harsh.
      The bookshop is photogenic but it’s been flooded often. You can see that.

  9. Beautiful pictures, Caroline! Glad to know that you had a wonderful time in Venice, though a few things have changed since the last time you went there. My favourite picture was the small lane with a small bridge and a lighted room on the right – it looks so beautiful and cozy! I loved the pictures of the Libreria Alta Aqua too. Sorry to know that you couldn’t buy any book because they were damp. I would like to spend a whole day here – their collection looks wonderful. I thought ‘love-locks’ was a French thing. I didn’t know that it was popular in Venice too. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    • Thanks, Vishy. It was great despite a few bad things, mostly tourist related. I didn’t remember it like that at all. But I still loved it.
      There were some really cozy sights. I just enjoyed standing there and looking at the windows.
      The bookshop was a mixed bag. Amazing but also a bit icky in places, especially near the door. In the front he has loads of new books and a peculiar way of displayng them which is fun. I’m sure you’d like looking at that part.

  10. Great photos, Caroline. I dream of returning to Venice one day, but I can live off these photos for awhile. I must seek out that bookshop if I ever get back there.

    • Thanks, Scott. It was a great trip. I still feel like I’m there. The bookshop is such a unique place but hard to find. maybe you’d find some books you’d like. He’s got many different languages covered. Only those in the back are too damp, I’d say.

  11. Gorgeous post, Caroline. Venice is one of my all-time favorite city. Been a while since I did my ‘Travel thru Cinema’ post by my next one just might be featuring Venice 😉

  12. Beautiful photos, Caroline! You capture the essence of the place–so mysterious and magical….and busy it would seem, too. I wish I could afford to go back. Maybe someday. Is there ever a time when the city is not over-run with tourists? It’s a pity really. Glad you are back. Now I am getting ready to go–am trying to do a little catching up myself as I have been so hectic with work and internet problems at home–frustrating, but I am looking forward to a break and won’t think about what I haven’t gotten done too much. Am thinking of your German lit month too. Something to look forward to when I get back!

    • Thanks, Danielle. They told us that November is a good month. Most tourits will be gone by then. On the other hand, that’s a rainy month woth flooding and so I’m not sure I’d like to go but maybe I would.
      Venice is so expensive. I was a bit shocked. Not as bad as Switzerland but almost which means – very expensive.
      I’ve bought such a lot of books for German lit month, overly enthusiastic as always . . . Just an excuse to buy books, hehe.

  13. Gorgeous photos, but what a bookshop! I doubt I could ever find anything I wanted in such a mess (I am more anal than I think!). I’ve never been to Venice as I’m not sure I could cope with all the water. I’m afraid of floods, and feel pessimistically that Venice would make that worse. So I enjoyed looking at your photos all the more – I don’t expect to visit any day soon!

    • Thanks, Litlove. Yeah that bookshop is a funny thing. Fascinating really.
      It’s not a good idea to test ones fears on a holiday, I’d say and if floods are something you’re scared of . . . This might not be your city.

  14. Welcome back and thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures. That’s a city I’d love to visit.

    The bookshop is incredible. I wonder how they find the book you want in all this chaos. (there’s a bookstore in St Raphael that is a real organized chaos. Books everywhere, and yet, when you ask for something, they have it and find it right away.

    • Thanks, Emma. I thought you’d been there. You would like it, I’m sure. It’s so different from anything else in the world.
      I haven’t tested the bookshop system. It looked soewhat organized but still messy.

  15. I love those mask photos!! they are radiant!
    The book store is heaven! That many book to search, I’d love to be there and bury myself in search for good books

  16. Lovely, athmospheric pictures. I very much want to visit some day.

    I’ve experienced Florence in the height of tourist season, and it was not pleasant.

    • Thanks, Grace. I can’t get enough of those maske.Yes, they do flood but there are metal barrages in the walls on the entrances, blocking the houses. That helps, I guess.

  17. Oh my goodness, what lovely pictures. Especially the masks and the book store. I agree, no damp books, but very lovely to look at. I will have to share these with my husband.

    • Thanks Tracy. It was fascinating to explore the bookshop but I didn’t feel tempted to buy anything. I was tempted to buy one of those masks though but didn’t. They would look lovely on a wall.

  18. Gorgeous pictures, Caroline, thanks for telling me about them! I had feared that the books in Aqua Alta might be a bit damp… Don’t they have an upper floor to move things to? Less picturesque but more practical.

    • Thanks Marina. I didn’t see an upper floor but the place is huge and spreads over several houses, which you can’t see on photos. They were really damp and it was very messy. Almost a bit too much. Still a amazing experience.

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