Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The sounds of Venice

After being in this wonderful city for the last fortnight, we're getting to know the sounds of Venice.  Yes, we've been here several times but for this is the first time we've spent a whole 30 days in La Serenissima.

Firstly, the main sound you'll hear is the sound of luggage wheels going across the pavers.  Big bags, small bags, early morning until late at night.  Click Click Click as they go from their landing spot (Piazzale Roma or the Ferrovia vaporetto stop outside of Santa Lucia train station or boat/water taxi) to their accommodation. And back again. Some might be like us - renting an apartment through one of the agents based here.  Others might be enroute to a hotel or a pensione.  Either way, tourists are coming and going. Constantly.

The second sound -- and one of my personal favourites -- is the sound of church bells ringing out across the city. Again, they ring at all times of the day. And with 100+ churches in Venezia, there are bells ringing close to where you are staying. On this trip I've heard church bells ringing so often my partner jokes that I must have tinnitus! But I know I'm hearing them. They are beautiful.

With all the water around us, there's the sloshing noises as we all weave around/ jump across/walk through the puddles. Sometimes there is a little and sometimes there's a lot of sloshing to do! Particularly in St Mark's after high tide.

Wide-angle across St Mark's

Speaking of high tide - there's the sirens. We've never noticed them when we've visited the city before, but it's November. That equals Acqua Alte. The siren blares out across the city at various times (early morning, evening, night) and then you listen for the rising tones that indicate the height of the water. We heard one a little while ago - two tones x 5. If we look out our front door in another hour or so, we'll be glad we had the flood barrier left up!

Then you have the noises of the raised walkways that are placed strategically around the city. Around Rialto, St Marks, anywhere that has localised flooding. Tourists and locals go bang bang across them. Lots of feet over raised boards. They aren't usually quiet things to walk across..

Of course in a city dominated by waterways, there's also the waves lapping against the sidewalks. Or against the vaporetto stops. There's the noises of the vaporettos heaving to a stop. And all that accompanies the ferries up and down the major canal routes.

Of course, this is Italy. And Italy = food and wine. So another sound of the city must be associated with the restaurants - whether an Osteria, Pizzeria, Trattoria or Ristorante - there are glasses clinking, cutlery and plates being taken out to diners. The sounds of a kitchen. Of waiters. Of movement.

Speaking of movement, what's Venice without gondoliers?  There's nearly always a gondolier close by asking whether you want a "gondola" trip.  "Gondola?"  they ask.  "Gondola, Gondola?" Sometimes you hear them singing. Sometimes you hear music. Lately we've been hearing accordians more often. In fact there was a group of gondoliers going down our relatively quiet canal the other night making quite the song and dance. It was entertaining. If only I could capture the moment better for you.

Speaking of capturing moments. Cameras clicking. Now THAT's a sound of Venice. Click Click. There's ones that are old fashioned, others that are more electronic. Cameras whirring this way and that. There's the noises as they are turned on and off. And of course the camera shutter opening and closing, opening and closing. That's a noise that is all around you.

And then there's the lovers. Kissing. Afterall this is a city of love. Sometimes they are a little noisy (too noisy!) and sometimes they are sweet. Sweet nothings whispered into ears. A nuzzle here and there. You can hear it. Love is definitely all around here.....!

Kissing couples

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