I don’t care what anyone says about Venice; I think it’s the most majestic, enchanting and fascinating city in Italy. Yes, the crowds can overwhelm and, at times, feel suffocating, but who cares? You’re in one of the worlds’ most beautifully unusual places, and whether you’ve been there once or one hundred times, Venice will bewitch you. You’ll see…it’s impossible to put your camera down as with snap after snap, each shot a valiant effort to capture everything you see and feel. When I’m not there, I dream of Venice, and how could I not? The city seemingly floats atop 117 small islands connected by nearly 400 bridges. Couple this landscape with the elegant Venetian Gothic architecture and automobile-free calli, and you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.
If you’ve been there, you know Venice is magical. JoAnn Locktov feels the Venice magic, and she has created two page-turning love letters to La Serenissima. These gorgeous books make the perfect addition to any bookshelf or coffee table for Venice lovers everywhere, whether they’ve visited the city or have just done so from their armchairs.
Dream of Venice, Locktov’s first book, features photography by Charles Christopher with a forward by Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun). Each photo accompanies a personal Venice anecdote from writers and notable Venice admirers like Woody Allen, Peggy Guggenheim, Julie Christie, Marcella Hazan and more, all of which either stir a Venice memory, spark my curiosity or add a new perspective to a Venetian landscape I’ve seen many times over.
If you didn’t know this already, Venice’s buildings are so distinct, that the city’s architectural style has its own name: Venetian Gothic. If the walls of Venice’s grand palazzi could talk, I still don’t think they’d share any of the secrets from Venice’s mysterious past, having stood tall and somewhat foreboding on the canals and along the city’s warren of calli as Venice’s intriguing history unfolded. Anyway, I digress…
Locktov’s second book, Dream of Venice Architecture, features photography by Riccardo De Cal, a documentary maker and photographer whose work focuses on architects, architecture and restorations, while Richard J. Goy, an architect who specializes in conserving and restoring old buildings, penned the forward. Reflections from 30 notable architects such as Tadao Ando, James Biber, Mario Botta, Michele De Lucchi, Massimiliano Fuksas, Robert McCarter, Richard Murphy, Witold Rybczynski, Annabelle Selldorf, and Thomas Woltz.
When I flip through the pages of both of these books, the Venice that I know and love comes to life. I can hear the canals lapping against the quay, the echoing of footsteps in the tiny calli and the occasional splash of the acqua alta on the pavement. I can smell the unmistakable aroma of Venice’s sea air, an I can see the mist settling over the Adriatic and the canals in the evening. On top of it all, I find myself longing for the fritto misto and white polenta fritters at Vecio Fritolin accompanied by a glass of Ribolla Gialla.
You can buy Dream of Venice here and Dream of Venice Architecture here, and I suggest you buy them both. I for one can’t wait to see what JoAnn Locktov comes up with next! Check out all her Bella Figura Publications happenings here.