Venice is a city afloat and as the title of Joseph Brodsky’s classic essay alludes, it is this watery foundation that is the heart of the city and leaves its mark on your soul. Around every corner your eyes are met with a rich palette of colors, and wandering through the maze of narrow stone passageways and arched bridges the sound of water lapping against stone is a constant reminder that the sea which brought life to this Renaissance town is slowly reclaiming it.
Founded in the 5th century as a defense from invaders, Venice was dredged out of a marshy lagoon and compasses 188 islands in the north Adriatic Sea. Its unique location which at first offered protection soon provided an even more valuable asset in access to the open sea, and by the 13th century Venice became a major maritime power.
During the Renaissance its wealth and power reigned supreme and it flourished as a center of art and culture that remains today. From Piazza San Marco to the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal, Venice is a vibrant blend of classic architecture and old-world artistry that appeals to the senses like no other city in the world.
It’s hard to believe another year is coming to a close, but looking back on 2019 I’m filled with gratitude and amazement for the visual opportunities that I’ve been fortunate to witness.
Over a decade ago Jim Goldstein began this popular project, which has evolved over the years to include numerous friends and colleagues whose work continues to be a source of inspiration.
Here I’ve selected a few of my favorite images released in the past year. These are not necessarily my best or most popular, but each represents a special moment in time in which the beauty of this amazing world (both natural and man-made) passed before my lens.
Please share and enjoy! And feel free to let me know your thoughts. You can click on any image for a large high quality view, to learn more about it or share individually. I look forward to your selects in the weeks ahead, and wish everyone a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year!
Hanging cliff-side along the Italian Riviera, the sleepy hamlets of Cinque Terre are a traveler’s paradise. Set aside as Italy’s first national park in 1999, these five quaint fishing villages (Italian for “Five Lands”) dot a magical strip of coastline accessible only by boat, train or foot.
Riomaggiore, Manarola, Vernazza and Monterosso are all right on the water, while Corniglia sits atop a promontory surrounded by vineyards high above the Ligurian Sea. The only way to reach the latter is via the Lardarina, an intimidating 377-step brick stairway, or the park service shuttle bus from the train station. Cars were banned in all of the villages years ago, which has helped retain the old world feel that has existed here for centuries.
Walking is very popular in the region especially on the main coastal paths where centuries-old terraces cling to the rugged cliffs above the sea. The Sentiero Azzurro (or Blue Path) is the primary trail that connects the five villages and offers sweeping views of the coastline. Harbors filled with colorful fishing boats and trattorias serving local seafood specialties and Liguria’s famous pesto are the reward at the end of the journey.
Frequent trains link all five villages, and you can purchase an all day pass that also includes a hiking pass at the tourist information offices located in each town. A more expensive, but equally scenic option are the boats that travel along the coast several times throughout the day.
The towns of Cinque Terre date from the early medieval period, and the area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. Though no longer the undiscovered find it once was, Cinque Terre’s charm and classic Italian hospitality still retain the feel of old Italy and make this a prime stop on any European adventure.