Archive for January, 2007

try walking in my shoes

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

i lost count of the kilometres i walk in venice. even if i try to plan my day the more efficiently i can, i happen to cross the city 2 to 4 times a day, from piazzale roma to castello and sometimes more. i hate waiting at the vaporetto stops (our wintertime is being very mild, but in the early morning you feel humidity going up your nostrils), so i prefer give my feet the privilege to express themselves. they bring me everywhere quite fast, provided that i wear the right shoes. comfortable and with very low heel. I prefer to change them on the way if i have a “formal dress” occasion. besides a second pair of  stocking — which is not ununsual to find in the venetian “perfect lady”’s handbag, don’t be surprised to see her carrying another bag with rubber booths against acqua alta or the elegant touch for a meeting. and on the opposite, conveert from pin heels to sneakers, and you’ll feel another. you need comfortable shoes - and open mind, and a lot of patience - to walk in venice.

Depeche Mode’s Walking in my Shoes

from Songs of Faith and Devotion

I would tell you about the things they put me through
The pain I’ve been subjected to
But the Lord himself would blush
The countless feasts laid at my feet
Forbidden fruits for me to eat
But I think your pulse would start to rush

Now I’m not looking for absolution
Forgiveness for the things I do
But before you come to any conclusions
Try walking in my shoes
Try walking in my shoes
You’ll stumble in my footsteps
Keep the same appointments I kept
If you try walking in my shoes
If you try walking in my shoes

Morality would frown upon
Decency look down upon
The scapegoat fate’s made of me
But I promise now, my judge and jurors
My intentions couldn’t have been purer
My case is easy to see
I’m not looking for a clearer conscience
Peace of mind after what I’ve been through
And before we talk of any repentance
Try walking in my shoes
Try walking in my shoes
You’ll stumble in my footsteps
Keep the same appointments I kept
If you try walking in my shoes
If you try walking in my shoes
Try walking in my shoes

Now I’m not looking for absolution
Forgiveness for the things I do
But before you come to any conclusions
Try walking in my shoes
Try walking in my shoes

how much did Moses charge to split waters?

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Al Gore, former vice-president of the U.S. and unsuccessful Democratic candidate for president in 2001, will be the special guest at the international climate and tidal change conference that will take place in Venice at the Doge’s Palace at the end of April. He will be a very welcome participant, whom Mayor Cacciari eagerly wanted to attend — in
the hope of attracting world interest in the event and of finding an ally in his campaign against MOSE, the system of movable underwater locks designed to prevent high tides in Venice. The mayor believes that the MOSE project is already obsolete.

But the government has already said yes to the MOSE, and millions and millions of euros have already been spent, since i do not even remember when: year 2000? the minister Antonio Di Pietro declared the MOSE was the only admittable project because other alternatives lack evidence of effectiveness. so, who is right?


against discrimination

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

The municipality of Venice has joined the campaign against homophobia with a series of posters on the walls of the town. The posters ask citizens to overcome prejudice against gays, lesbians, and transgenders. The initiative began as the result of research done by a group of high school students that the municipality supported in collaboration with
the Council of Europe. “School is the place where a culture of tolerance and respect has to begin. I totally agree with this initiative,” Mayor Cacciari said. Venice is the first public administration in Italy to focus on the problem of *** discrimination.

well, cheers. the slogan says “don’t laugh if they kiss” or something like that. i have very little trust that such campaigns can be successful in a city such as venice, which has a strange relationship with such topics. it’s permissing in the spirit but very gossipy and puritan. it’s an island. consider it as a little town where everyone says everything of everyone (speaking of residents and workers, i mean). or pretends to know everything. people know nothing, of nothing. they don’t know reasons, they just see effects. and can easily be cheated by appearances, for good or worse..

taking pictures (photo contest)

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

In years, I’ve seen so many good and interesting shots of Venice, even by amateur photogrphers. So the idea is to give them visibility and maybe help them starting as professionals. After some editions, I put the winners in touch with a publisher This is how the VeniceWord International Photo Contest was born.

It should become a regular monthly contest, also depending on sponsor. The current contest is sponsored by The Venice School of Photography, as announced in today’s issue of our newsletter Buongiorno Venezia

No matter how good you are at taking pictures, just show us how you see our amazing city! Send your best shots from your stay in Venice.
lations and Prizes: the VeniceWord International Photo Contest will accept entries from 25 January until 31 March 2007. The photos must have been taken in Venice, Italy (not California!), submitted as a .jpg or .gif file, and sent through this form. We do not impose restriction on theme and subject. Color or black & white images are accepted provided they do not exceed 500KB in size each, and we ask you to limit your entry to four images per participant. Participation is free.

The jury who will judge the winning image consists of the Director of The Venice School of Photography, school staff, and the editors.

- ALL participants will be granted a two percent discount on ANY Photography Workshops offered by The Venice School of Photography, either in Venice or in other location

- THE WINNER will be granted a five percent discount on ANY Photography Workshops offered by The Venice School of Photography, either in Venice or in other locations. The winner will also get a free “web photo gallery” on and will receive a photography-related gadget from The Venice School of Photography and The published photos cannot be published elsewhere without permission of the photographer and of VeniceWord International Media Services

that special glow

Friday, January 19th, 2007

my great friend and photographer Paola (whose website i’ve been asked to design, which honours me) just explained to mne the difficulty of taking “the right picture” in venice. light, humidity, people passing by. it may take days to find the special glow. whilst i would be happy all the same with the special glow’s brother and receive the photo some hours (or days) earlier. you would expect that digital photography has destroyed all the romanticism in the profession, instead you still find people who are in love of hard work. my best friend Mauro, also a photographer, does not even use any digital camera and has even a more funny time: he refuses any approach to technology (as a means to oppress the working masses, i guess) (like many venetians, he has no licence to drive. he doesn’t take lifts  - they make your muscles weak, and you-never-know. he hates computers, and i wonder if he ever used a typewriter himself). i smile and tease them, but i understand. i began working with websites in 1997, and i still enjoy programming in pure HTML.


again about Mauro: when we made the project of a calendar together last year, we spent days and days together and i found out he is such a strict vegan that he does not even eat sweets containing eggs - as hens live a terrible life in their cages,  exploited by the breeders. everyone feels he is exaggerated (everyone likes croissants with cappuccino… and all the rest. by the way the same attitude of his applies to milk, in case you were wondering) but everyone feels he is somehow right, and admires him. such as venice: love him or hate him. adorable, in his pureness.


Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

The dream of Federico Bastianelli, a street cleaner in Falconara Marittima (a little town in the Marches region in the centre of Italy) came true at dawn on 6 January. Last September, he made a wish, hoping to be able to clean St. Mark’s Square, and the councillor responsible
for the environment granted it.


He declared he is so happy, after finishing his cleaning duty. and we can’t but be happy for this fantastic person who loves his job, is fully aware of its dignity, and just expressed the wish to work and be of help in the most beautiful city in the world. Un bacio, Federico

reasons for staying in venice

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

In years of activity as a journalist and as the chief editor of Buongiorno Venezia, i responded to thousands of emails from all over the world and met don’t know how many people, all of them needing to make a point in telling me how much they love venice. No need, guys: i fell in Venice’s trap like millions, but there have also been days that i got so angry at her that her sinking seemed to me (and not only me) exactly the right punishment from Above. then, a minute later,  i might have cried to save her. for instance, i remember how i cried and cried watching the Teatro La Fenice burning down, in the arson of 1996. that is: we who live here, we love it and hate it, so this is a perfect neverending story. because Venice is a virus, and you may develop the antivirus, fighting each other constantly inside you.


So when my “antiVenicevirus” wins a round, i just look at tourists and wonder why are people so eager to live in venice. a minute later, i recall why. but i’d like to hear from you about this. Venetians sometimes need someone who remind them of their past love for the city (and maybe to remind us how lucky we are). i’ll soon advertise the blog so that you can flock here and tell me what you think. i’ll appreciate it, i’ll understand better who my readers are and who are the people whom i meet in the calli of venice every day. their thoughts, their dreams. their expectations, their attitudes.


As a matter of fact, it’s rare to be happy with where you are and what you’re doing, here’s a little example. Buongiorno Venezia newsletter has several subscribers from New Zealand (hi everyone); a couple of them emailed me they are planning to move to Venice. ARE YOU KIDDING, I think a good 30% of Italians, when asked about a dream chance to move abroad, respond they would like to live in… New Zealand.

o giorni o mesi che andate sempre via

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

most italians learnt english with american songs. i wonder if you can do the same with italian.


to wish you happy New Year, here’s a song from the Seventies, whose text is not the simplest, yet you can grab it. it’s very evocative ballad, with so many images that it’s like watching pictures of the time passing. and when i have time, i’ll translate it wholly for you. in the meanwhile, look if you can get the meaning…… warning: altavista will make a mess.


Francesco Guccini’s Canzone dei dodici mesi - from the album “Radici”

Viene Gennaio silenzioso e lieve, un fiume addormentato
fra le cui rive giace come neve il mio corpo malato, il mio corpo malato…
Sono distese lungo la pianura bianche file di campi,
son come amanti dopo l’avventura neri alberi stanchi, neri alberi stanchi…

Viene Febbraio, e il mondo è a capo chino, ma nei convitti e nella piazza
lascia i dolori e vesti da Arlecchino, il carnevale impazza, il carnevale impazza…
L’inverno è lungo ancora, ma nel cuore appare la speranza
nei primi giorni di malato sole la primavera danza, la primavera danza..

Cantando Marzo porta le sue piogge, la nebbia squarcia il velo,
porta la neve sciolta nelle rogge il riso del disgelo, il riso del disgelo…
Riempi il bicchiere, e con l’inverno butta la penitenza vana,
l’ala del tempo batte troppo in fretta, la guardi, è già lontana, la guardi, è già lontana…

O giorni, o mesi che andate sempre via, sempre simile a voi è questa vita mia.
Diverso tutti gli anni, ma tutti gli anni uguale,
la mano di tarocchi che non sai mai giocare, che non sai mai giocare.

Con giorni lunghi al sonno dedicati il dolce Aprile viene,
quali segreti scoprì in te il poeta che ti chiamò crudele, che ti chiamò crudele…
Ma nei tuoi giorni è bello addormentarsi dopo fatto l’amore,
come la terra dorme nella notte dopo un giorno di sole, dopo un giorno di sole…

Ben venga Maggio e il gonfalone amico, ben venga primavera,
il nuovo amore getti via l’antico nell’ ombra della sera, nell’ ombra della sera…
Ben venga Maggio, ben venga la rosa che è dei poeti il fiore,
mentre la canto con la mia chitarra brindo a Cenne e a Folgore, brindo a Cenne e a Folgore…

Giugno, che sei maturità dell’anno, di te ringrazio Dio:
in un tuo giorno, sotto al sole caldo, ci sono nato io, ci sono nato io…
E con le messi che hai fra le tue mani ci porti il tuo tesoro,
con le tue spighe doni all’ uomo il pane, alle femmine l’ oro, alle femmine l’ oro…

O giorni, o mesi che andate sempre via, sempre simile a voi è questa vita mia.
Diverso tutti gli anni, ma tutti gli anni uguale,
la mano di tarocchi che non sai mai giocare, che non sai mai giocare…

Con giorni lunghi di colori chiari ecco Luglio, il leone,
riposa, bevi e il mondo attorno appare come in una visione, come in una visione…
Non si lavora Agosto, nelle stanche tue lunghe oziose ore
mai come adesso è bello inebriarsi di vino e di calore, di vino e di calore…

Settembre è il mese del ripensamento sugli anni e sull’ età,
dopo l’ estate porta il dono usato della perplessità, della perplessità…
Ti siedi e pensi e ricominci il gioco della tua identità,
come scintille brucian nel tuo fuoco le possibilità, le possibilità…

Non so se tutti hanno capito Ottobre la tua grande bellezza:
nei tini grassi come pance piene prepari mosto e ebbrezza, prepari mosto e ebbrezza…
Lungo i miei monti, come uccelli tristi fuggono nubi pazze,
lungo i miei monti colorati in rame fumano nubi basse, fumano nubi basse…

O giorni, o mesi che andate sempre via, sempre simile a voi è questa vita mia.
Diverso tutti gli anni, e tutti gli anni uguale,
la mano di tarocchi che non sai mai giocare, che non sai mai giocare…

Cala Novembre e le inquietanti nebbie gravi coprono gli orti,
lungo i giardini consacrati al pianto si festeggiano i morti, si festeggiano i morti…
Cade la pioggia ed il tuo viso bagna di gocce di rugiada
te pure, un giorno, cambierà la sorte in fango della strada, in fango della strada…

E mi addormento come in un letargo, Dicembre, alle tue porte,
lungo i tuoi giorni con la mente spargo tristi semi di morte, tristi semi di morte…
Uomini e cose lasciano per terra esili ombre pigre,
ma nei tuoi giorni dai profeti detti nasce Cristo la tigre, nasce Cristo la tigre…

O giorni, o mesi che andate sempre via, sempre simile a voi è questa vita mia.
Diverso tutti gli anni, ma tutti gli anni uguale,
la mano di tarocchi che non sai mai giocare, che non sai mai giocare
che non sai mai giocare, che non sai mai giocare
che non sai mai giocare, che non sai mai giocare…


Silent and light January comes, asleeping river
between whose banks lie like snow my sick body, my sick body…
White rows of fields are laid along the plain ,
they are as lovers after the adventure tired black trees, tired black trees…

February comes, and the world is head low, but in the convitti and in the public square leave the pains and wear Harlequin’s dress, the carnival is spreading, the carnival is spreading…
(….. to be continued)

Oh days, oh months that always go away, always similar to you is this life of mine.
Different every year, but every year the same,
the hand of tarot cards  

that you never know how to play, that you never know how to play.

don’t shoot the pianist

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

After a countless series of postponements, it appears that there are definitive dates for the installation of the Calatrava Bridge, the fourth bridge to cross the Grand Canal and link the railway station with Piazzale Roma (Venice’s terminus for vehicles)


You may wonder why we need a forth bridge over the grand canal. because the big palazzo near the train station of Santa Lucia (formerly owned but the Ferrovie dello Stato, the formerly national railwail transport company) was sold to the Benetton group. and they make a shopping center right there.

a test

Monday, January 8th, 2007

As announced months ago, something new was about to happen at — but things in venice are slower than reasonable. so while still waiting for projects to be approved and authorizations to come for our new office in venice, i decided to work at the announced blog. at first they will be things written for myself.

Building up a blog takes less time than the - announced too - website restyling (this is another story. we took bad habits :) and now i’m basically testing the platform. this occasional diary is then aimed to continue our dialogue with the readers of the newsletter Buongiorno Venezia.

i’m not yet that techy yet with blogs. as soon as i learn how to do it, i promise i’ll have every post change top and bottom photo. english is not my mother language: i’ll appreciate you to correct  major mistakes if you feel so. i hope that my meaning can be easily  understood all the same!


hope you’ll enjoy the stuff :-)