The Dreamscape of Venice

Feb 15, 2017

While I'm doing research in Italy, the creator of the Dream of Venice series of photography books shares some of the city's delights:


L’Architettura di Venezia

The Architecture of Venice

by JoAnn Locktov

For centuries, Venice has been the beloved jewel of the Adriatic. Her allure is legendary. Poets, kings, artists, composers, and millions of tourists, just like you and me, flock to her canali (canals), campi (public squares) and noble palazzi (palaces). Why does this ancient city of 400 ponti (bridges) still influence our contemporary lives? I set out to explore Venice as a living environment through a series of books.

It is the architecture of Venice that is emblematic of her diversity, ingenuity and beauty. I invited an international group of architetti and architectural writers to tell us how the city has inspired their lives and work. The contributors wrote of humble things, of porte (doors) and pietre (stones). They wrote of the mysterious sotoporteghi (covered passageways) and the unavoidable acqua alta (high water) . They wrote of the post-modern altane (rooftop belvederes) and the elegant Piazza. Often it was not the physical aspects of Venice's built elements that made the strongest impression but rather the more evocative qualities of contradiction, enchantment and memory.

Here is the dramatic photography of Riccardo De Cal, captioned with brief excerpts from Dream of Venice Architecture:

  1Davidson Dream of Venice Architecture

"Venice is not on the sea but of the sea, eclipsing the tale of Atlantis with a modern mythology both repeated and rewritten with every tide." Cynthia Davidson

  Baleri Dream of Venice Architecture

"Venice: the ageless city. How can we take measure of her to a finite time, she who is crystallized by the juxtaposition of styles, of forms, of places, of spaces?" Enrico Baleri

  Welton Dream of Venice Architecture

"Venice…was a dream state, totally untethered from the 21st century — which made it a fine and lovely place to get lost." Michael Welton

  Braverman Dream of Venice Architecture

"Whether frivolous or substantial, Venice is a place where, at any moment, something mysteriously intriguing may happen. It is the native soil of an open-ended spirit of creative opportunity." Louise Braverman

Bosch Dream of Venice Architecture 

"Sotoporteghi are usually narrow, twisting, dark and mysterious tunnels bored through ancient existing buildings. They conspire with crooked bridges and offset streets to link islands never intended to join."  Randy Bosch

  Woltz Dream of Venice Architecture

"Acqua alta brought this landscape to my doorstep and misty autumnal nights challenged the safe navigation of my labyrinth; I was intrigued by my body’s positive response to these materials and spaces; this was a dynamic and deeply satisfying landscape—every surface an act of design, as I now realize."   Thomas Woltz

  Fuksas Dream of Venice Architecture

"Venice, where everything flows, unpredictable, like nature itself."   Massimiliano Fuksas


JoAnn Locktov  is the founder of Bella Figura Publications, an independent imprint publishing a series of photography books on Venice as a contemporary living city, including Dream of Venice  and Dream of Venice Architecture. You can follow JoAnn on Facebook and Twitter.   Dianne Hales is the author of La Bella Lingua: My Love Affair with Italian, the World's Most Enchanting Language and Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered.

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