Photograph of Venice by Alex Nichol

Venice

After the first wave of lockdown came to an end, we took the gamble and booked a week in the beautiful city of Venice to satisfy our itchy feet.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

We were painfully aware that it could our last chance in a while to travel abroad and soak up some sunshine, but after being locked-down for half a year, the city itself was empty and heaving a huge sigh of relief.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

Venice, like any Italian tourist city is usually a bustling hive of activity. But we found the place all but deserted, leaving us free to explore as we pleased, without having to book anything in advance.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

I'd been told that the canals and waterways of Venice stunk to high heaven in the summer months, but that wasn't our experience at all, despite the soaring temperatures.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

It seemed the period of lock-down and the Europe-wide ban on international travel had given the city and its eco-system a much needed breath of fresh air and an opportunity to recover.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

There is an almost karmic symmetry about the regenerative effect the pandemic has had on our living environment, whilst giving us a big nasty gulp of our own destructive medicine.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

We figured we'd never get another chance to see Venice at its best and its quietest like this, so we tenatively booked our flights. The only negative aspect of our trip was having to wear face-masks on the enclosed (and non-air-conditioned) water taxis, which became quite claustrophobic after a while.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

Highlights included a visit to the impressive Doge's Palace (perfectly timed to coincide with a deluge from the heavens) and the equally interesting prison next door. The two buildings are connected by the iconic Bridge of Sighs (as pictured in my first photograph).

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

We also chartered the obligatory Gondola ride, of course, which turned out to be far more than we bargained for. Our Gondolier spoke English better than we did, and told us stories about all the buildings we passed, their inhabitants, and the city's incredible history.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM
Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

Before heading home, we took a boat trip out to the nearby islands of Murano, where we watched a skilled glass-maker demonstrate his craft and then Burano, famous for its wildly colourful houses and the unnervingly wonky leaning tower of San Martino.

Venice, Italy by Alex Nichol
Canon EOS 5D Mark IV + Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM

These photographs were taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and the extraordinary Canon 35 mm f/1.4 L II USM .

Alex Nichol

About the photographer

Alex Nichol is an amateur photographer based in the UK dabbling with landscape, travel and documentary. Alex has shot with pretty much everything, from classic 35mm and medium format film cameras from Zenit, Leica, Hasselblad and Rolleiflex, to digital SLR and mirrorless systems from Leica, Sony, Canon, Panasonic and Olympus. He is currently shooting with the Fujifilm X System.


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