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).