Venice in My Heart

Il Redentore, Palladio, Venice, Lisa Katsiaris
Above: Il Redentore, the 16th century church designed by Andrea Palladio, covered in mist. Photograph by Lisa Katsiaris.

Two years ago today, I flew to Venice on my own for the first time. A city where I had never been before, except in my dreams — to meet someone I had never met before, except through my computer. My friends questioned my judgement. My husband was less concerned — not because he didn’t care but because as a fellow architect he understood the compelling draw of a city so strong in one’s heart. You see, I always knew that the first time I went to Venice, I wanted to do it with someone who knew the city well and loved it with all their heart.  And here was my chance.

Earlier that year, I had interviewed San Francisco based-publicist JoAnn Locktov — she was one of my first interviewees for this site. Having fallen hard for Venice over 20 years ago, she had been returning regularly ever since for 4-6 weeks — always in the late autumn. In 2014, her concern for the city’s precarious future compelled her to action and she published Dream of Venice, an ode to the city through Charles Christopher’s mesmerising and mysterious photographs. When JoAnn and Charles decided to do a book together they didn’t have a publisher. After 40 rejections, JoAnn decided in fine Fabster form that she would publish the book herself and founded Bella Figura Publications. Happily Dream of Venice sold out immediately and has been reprinted several times.

In 2016, JoAnn published her second book in the series Dream of Venice Architecture. Filmmaker and photographer Riccardo De Cal’s images were accompanied by musings of Venice from international architects and architectural historians.

Elderly woman walking looks across the water in Venice. Roman Henze
Above: Venetian elegance of another era. Photograph by Roman Henze.

And now in 2018, she gives us Dream of Venice In Black and White.  Introduced with beautifully, written and heartbreaking words by the Venetian novelist, poet and playwright  Tiziano Scarpa, “Dream of Venice in Black and White” paints the magical but beleaguered city’s narrative in chiaroscuro, with contributions from over 50 photographers around the world.

And while all 3 are wonderful in their own right, it’s this last one that speaks to me the most because the elegant realism of the light and shadow call to the romantic in me — the woman who flew to Venice on her own to meet someone she had never met before just so that she could see it with someone who loved it well and knew it with all her heart.

Couple kissing in Venice. Alsessandro Sarno.
Above: A foggy kiss in Venice. Photograph by Alessandro Sarno.

The books make wonderful gifts and a percentage of the sales proceeds are donated to Save Venice Inc., Fondazione Querini Stampalia and the Ikona Gallery.

4 responses to “Venice in My Heart”

  1. I LOVE your spirit, and yes, I’ve done the same. I was invited to my art mentors 70th birthday. We’d only ever worked together in cyberspace. He has two forms of deadly cancer and was not supposed to make it to 70. I couldn’t say no. I arrived at his party in Chicago and much to my astonishment, i was the only person there who wasn’t very close family, nor friends for a lifetime. They all knew we’d never met in person. It was rather awkward at first, then not at all. My husband sounds like a kindred soul to yours. He encouraged the trip…

  2. I love this story and I so identify. I’ve done it twice! I flew to Martha’s Vineyard for Thanksgiving weekend, 20 years ago, suffering from the breakup of my first marriage to stay with a friend I only knew through letters. It worked spectacularly well, I’m so happy to say…my delightful second husband (THAT worked out well!) and her husband are best friends too now…we are all spending Christmas together this year! And 18 years ago I went to Australia for 5 days (yes! not the best idea…) for my beloved sister’s wedding. She didn’t know I was going. Neither did my parents. I’d never been to Australia before and, extremely stupidly, I left her address behind so I had to try and remember it! I arrived on the morning of the wedding and it was absolutely perfect. Worth everything for the joy on her face. And mine! Being brave reaps rewards, as you found Christine. Venice. Ahhh x

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