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Restoration and scaffolding

I wrote a report after my 2007 trip about the scaffolding and restoration work sites and and such, so I thought I'd update the on-going restoration of Venice.

The Basilica in December 2007. Check out the number of pigeons.


And in December 2008. A much better view of the most beautiful cathedral in the world. There's still a bit of scaffolding on the left side of the church (and there's a huge work site around the base of the campanile) but overall, this is an improvement. The biggest change in Piazza San Marco is the GREATLY reduced pigeon population since the city banned selling birdfood last year. There are still a few pigeons strutting around but not that many.


Santa Maria della Salute in 2007 with the strange metal beehive scaffolding around the dome.


And in 2008. Still a lot of work going on but the main dome has had most of its braces removed, and now they're working on the back of the church. In addition to the work on the church itself, the whole Punta della Dogana was covered over in December. But I just read that the Punta della Dogana is unveiled now, and the new museum is due to open in June.


Scala del Bovolo in 2007. This restoration project took several years.


And in 2008. Scaffolding gone but it wasn't open. On my second trip in 2003, I paid a euro to climb to the top and the views were wonderful, but I haven't found it open again since then. I wonder if it closes in the winter. It's a nice climb if you find it open.


The next three photos are all from December 2008 and show various billboards on the work sites. The first time I went to Venice, over half of the Doge Palace was covered with a tasteful image of the palace (no ads). Today it's a car ad (I think).


You can (barely) see the Bridge of Sighs peeking through the billboards.


A view of a flooded Piazzetta and a horribly ugly Swatch ad on Sansovino's library. The guy in the ad is a bad guy from a James Bond movie, I think.


While some of these ads are definitely an eyesore, they're a necessary evil, I guess. Someone's got to pay for the upkeep on this old city. And the good news is that they are temporary (although some of them sure do stick around for a long while).

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Comments (6)


Annie, it's especially fine to see Salute unveiled again, although its braces gave it a certain flair, too.

The only time I recall being in a large Italian city without all the cranes was Rome, immediately following the Jubilee year when everything was spiffed up.

But it's great to know these sites can be kept up--may that continue!


Wonderful photos, Annie -- especially the "after" shots! San Marco looks magnificent.

I also love the Scala del Bovolo (I don't think I had seen it before) And I agree, the giant James Bond billboard is an eyesore!

Oh no, all this is causing me to long for a visit to Venice. I'm beginning to imagine a day trip from Ferrara when I'm there in June (bad idea -- Venice deserves so much more time and attention than that.)

I love your second photo of the Basilica.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, interesting post and I love your photos too. It's so nice to see the Maria Salute without the scaffolding, which they had when I was there. The San Marco Basilica is magnificent looking in your second photo without the scaffolding. I had not heard of the Scala del Bovolo. It looks really cool and how lucky that you were able to climb it. I wouldn't mind getting up there for the view too!

I remember when I went to visit San G. in 2005 and they had these big cranes that was really causing me problems when trying to photograph those beautiful towers. But as you said I guess it's necessary and considering how old some these great places are, it is definitely important to maintain them properly. But it won't stop me from hoping that they aren't up when I'm visiting. :)

Thanks for this great post Annie!

Annie, I was very disappointed to see the Salute with scaffolding. It was my first visit and I wanted to see it in all its glory.

I had never heard of the Scala del Bovolo until Anne told me about her visit there. It’s on the list for next time.

Great pictures. I particularly like the 2007 pix of S. Maria della Salute with the spectacular sky colors.

I was very lucky to be in Venice in 2006 before the scaffolding covered the Santa Maria della Salute. Glad to see at least part of the work was done. There seems to be more scaffolding or ads covering the Doge Palace than I remember also. Perhaps 2006 and for some places 2007 were transition years before more restoration work begun.

My very first stay in Venice in 1999 was in a tiny hotel next to the Scala del Bovolo. I even climbed to the top.

Great photos! I enjoyed seeing the changes.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 17, 2009 1:47 PM.

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