I was fortunate enough to be able to visit Venice, Italy a little under a year ago. I’m one of those, “off the beaten path” travelers in that I would much prefer exploring a city’s lesser known areas than one of it’s more famous, trafficked, for lack of a better term, “tourist traps.” Venice is one of those cities where, if you just “take a left” (or a right, but be careful, you could end up in the water) and explore the back canals that aren’t teeming with throngs of tourists, you’ll come across hidden gems that will stay with you long after you leave.
Venice is built on the water; there isn’t a car to be seen. People get around the city either by walking or by one of the various means of water transport; the vaporetti (waterbus), the traghetti (gondola ferries), or private gondolas (but be forewarned, while very picturesque, the gondoliers can spot a tourist a mile away).
All along the back canals you’ll find artisan shops selling beautiful handmade treasures not to be seen along the Grand Canal; beautiful jewelry made of handblown Venetian glass, bakeries selling crusty, rustic breads baked fresh that morning, and galleries selling amazing finds by local artists. These wonderful wares aside, what I loved the most about exploring the back canals was coming across the time worn, but still beautiful buildings who, while abandoned and slightly weathered, still stood proud and beautiful, waiting for someone to come along and capture their beauty on film.
My latest creation, “The Guardian,” is of an abandoned factory, tucked far back from the Grand Canal. What captured my eye was the single chair sitting out front. I imagined a man, perhaps the owner, a Venetian glass blower, taking a break from his work to watch the passersby. In time, he’ll go back inside and finish his work for the day, eventually going home to his wife and children, but, for now, he’ll just watch, wondering about the lives of the people he sees…