An Essential Read for the First Time Visitor to Venice.
Sussex based author Gillian Angrave writes about her travels to Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region.
VENICE: THE DIARY OF AN AWESTRUCK TRAVELLER
Slim, pocket size glossy travel companions.
Volume 1: From Swamp to La Serenissima
In Volume 1, follow Gillian on her first two visits to Venice as she sets out to explore and photograph this magical “water city”.
Joined briefly by her sister, Sheila, Gillian describes her initial impressions and experiences as she discovers ever more “hidden gems” in this “jewel in the crown”.
Her meanderings take her not only to the less popular areas of Venice as she retraces the footsteps of Julia Garnet (in “Miss Garnet’s Angel”) in Dorsoduro and Cannaregio, but also, as part of a walking tour, to the famous Basilica and Palazzo Ducale in the Piazza San Marco, as well as San Zanipolo and its surrounding quiet backwaters.
Glide with her, too, as she discovers the romance of a ride in a gondola. All along the way she amasses a host of fascinating snippets of information, and her visits are illustrated by her own beautiful photographs.
Volume 1: Contents
Chapter 1: My First Visit – 13-17 March 2015
Setting Off: Initial impressions: Getting to know Venice: “Gloves Off
in Venice”: Miss Garnet’s Angel: The Ghetto: Chiesa Madonna
dell’Orto: Palazzo Mastelli: Campanile di San Marco: Torre
dell’Orologio: Santa Maria della Salute: The Zattere: il Gesuati:
La Laguna and Murano, Burano and Torcello:
Chapter 2: My Second Visit – 28 September – 2 October 2015
Walking Tour of Venice: Marco Polo: San Zanipolo
(Bragadino and Colleoni): Ponte delle Tette: Le Scuole: La Basilica di
San Marco: Acqua Alta: The MOSE Project: Il Palazzo Ducale: Il
Ponte dei Sospiri: Il Museo Storico Navale: Watercraft of
Venice: Il Arsenale: The Armstrong Mitchell Hydraulic Crane
(VIPF): Venice’s Silent Zoo: Il Gobbo di Rialto: La Chiesa di San
Giacomo: The 2015 Biennale -Glass Stress: First Gondola Ride:
Ca’Rezzonico: The Frari: Scuola Grande di San Marco: Il Campo
Santa Margherita: Saying goodbye.
Volume 2: Betwixt and Between
Drawn to Venice like a magnet to steel, Gillian, once again armed with her trusty camera, describes her further meanderings and encounters on this, her third visit to this “living patchwork quilt of islands”.
She goes on a guided tour of The Ghetto and its Schole (synagogues); discovers the parish church of her favourite artist, Paulo Veronese; pays an early morning visit to the fish market; visits Lido in search of the Hotel des Bains, backdrop to Thomas Mann’s ‘Death in Venice; and delves into the history of some of La Laguna’s lesser known islands. Again, this book is a mine of information, illustrated by stunning photographs.
Volume 2: Contents
My Third Visit: 9-13 May 2016
Settling in: il Mercato di Rialto: Life goes on for Residents: Caffee Florian: il Fondaco dei Tedeschi and Benetton: The Emergency Services: the Frari: Chiesa di San Sebastiano and Veronese: La Commedia dell’Arte: the ex- Mulino Stucky and the Zattere: Venice and the cruising industry: La Giudecca: il Redentore: Campo dei Mori: Venice in Peril Fund (VIPF): House of Tintoretto: Stazione Ferroviaria Santa Lucia: Lido di Venezia: “Death in Venice”: La Fenice Opera House:
A Nutshell Full of Islands: La Laguna; Sant’Ariano; Poveglia;
San Servolo; La Grazia; Sant’Erasmo and Vignole; Sant’Angelo della Polvere; San Lazzaro degli Armeni; I Lazzaretti; La Certosa; San Giorgio in Alga; San Giorgio Maggiore; San Michele. The Ghetto: Tour of the Ghetto: the Schole (Synagogues): “The Last Train”: The Shoah Holocaust Memorial: Lido (again!): la Campanile di San Marco: La Gallerie dell’Accademia: San Giorgio Maggiore: a sad farewell.
Volume 3: Hidden Gems
In Volume 3, follow Gillian on her fourth and fifth visits to her favourite city – Venice.
These two visits are all about discovering those hidden gems tucked away in winding alleyways, as well as learning more about the crafts and culture of this most magical group of islands.
The first is a visit with a difference: five days staying aboard the French riverboat the mv MICHELANGELO. Gillian is in her element! She also takes in a mask making workshop; learns about the ancient and highly specialised craft of making a gondola; and sails on a cruise around La Laguna. Her final day on board is spent on a “passage to Chioggia”, followed by a tour of Padova.
On her fifth visit Gillian, armed as ever with her trusty camera, spends a fascinating six days just meandering around (as she does!), but also going on a tour of La Torre dell’Orologio and La Fenice Opera House. She travels to Lido and then on to Pellestrina by bus and ferry; is wowed by the amazing views from the top of La Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore; and discovers this most fascinating little gem – La Libreria Alta Acqua. As a big fan of Donna Leon’s detective novels, she also seeks out La Questura, Commissario Brunetti’s place of work. Volume 3 ends with a nostalgic visit to Torcello and Burano – in better weather this time!
Again, Volume 3 is illustrated by Gillian’s own beautiful photographs, and is as ever filled with lots of fascinating as well as informative pieces of information.
The set is now complete (or is it?) …
Volume 3: Contents
Chapter 1: My Fourth Visit – 17-21 March 2017
On board the Michelangelo: Gallerie dell’Accademia: La Societa Bocciofila San Sebastian: I Gesuiti: Mask-making Workshop: Il Squero di Tramontin i Figli: il Fondaco dei Tedeschi: Passage to Chioggia: Padova.
Chapter 2: My Fifth Visit – 22-28 September 2017
Hotel Bel Sito: Le Cafe: Il Museo della Musica: ex-Chiesa San Vidal: Donna Leon and Commissario Brunetti: La Questura: Chiesa Santa Maria Formosa: Libreria Alta Acqua: Zitelle, La Giudecca: La Chiesa and La Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore: St George’s Anglican Church: Damien Hirst: Passage to Pellestrina and Pellestrina: Palazzo Marin: La Torre dell’Orologio: Caffee Florian: La Fenice Opera House: Il Redentore: ex-Mulino Stucky: Biennale – Pavilion of Humanity (OBJECTION): La Scuola San Giovanni Evangelista: Torcello: Burano.
Born in Leicester in 1945, Gillian became an Assistant Purser with P & O in 1967 until 1974, and after a brief spell ashore, she joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Ambassador’s PA in 1976, a post she held (and greatly enjoyed) until her retirement in 2005. Her postings took her to the Philippines, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Mexico, and Hungary. She is now a Registrar of Marriages in West Sussex.
Throughout her life, Gillian has enjoyed photographing and writing about the exotic places in which she has lived, and where she has visited, mainly in short articles for societies and other groups. However, despite 40 years of travel, nowhere has captured her imagination as vividly nor had such a profound effect upon her as the ‘Water Wonderland’ that is Venice. This remarkable city fulfills everything that appeals to Gillian: atmosphere, beauty, history, stunning architecture, boats, ships, the sea….. the list is endless.
And so, finding herself in such a magical environment, it was only natural that Gillian should put pen to paper to share her experiences, photographs and ever-increasing knowledge with other like-minded travelers. This is the first time, though, that she has ventured into the wider literary world and decided to write a more substantial account of her travels.
In writing these three Volumes (the third has now arrived), Gillian, as a Member of the Venice in Peril Fund, has been conscious of just how much restoration is needed to maintain and protect the fabric and environment of Venice. To this end, part of the proceeds from the sale of her books will be donated to the Fund to assist with this vital work that they are carrying out. She is proud to help in this small way.
Images below illustrate some of the contents found in Volumes 1, 2 and 3.
Gill can’t stay away and is back in Venice again in 2016, scurrying from canal to canal, campo to campo, observing, noting and snapping, then writing up her diary in her lively manner. The result is another entertaining and well produced guide to often unfamiliar sights. There is a survey of the neighbouring islands, and sections on the Emergency Services, the Cruising Industry and boat building.
We see the small canals, the large canals, the colourful gondolas, the handsome gondoliers, the elegant palazzi,and the imposing churches all through both her writing and her photography. She hasn’t been content just to describe her first impressions. She has researched assiduously to find out all the historical details of her subjects, whether they are the Campanile di San Marco, the Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace) or the Ghetto. Her books on Venice are certain to increase the readers’ appetite to visit or revisit La Serenissima and to enjoy the experience for themselves. See the Review on Amazon
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