Riccordo di Venezia – the book is about the size of a large postcard

Italy, Venice – Then & Now – Part 1

Some years ago we were fossicking through a small bookshop in the suburb that we live in. The owner specialises in old books and we spent quite a few hours there. We were about to leave with a handful of old travel guides when the owner suggested that we have a look at another box that he had out the back. In this box, we found several small old books called “Ricordo di Venezia” & “Ricordo di  Napoli” (on another visit we also purchased “Riccordo di Roma” and “Riccordo di Genova”).

Well, we really wouldn’t call them books, they’re more like ornate versions of a concertina postcard book (without being postcards!!). Strangely there are no details whatsoever mentioning a date or publisher of these books, however, with some research, we believe the Venice book is pre 1910 (mind you, we are not sure how old some of the actual photos are). Each image has text in 4 languages (Italian, French, English & German), so they were obviously produced as a souvenir item for travellers. Funny enough, all of the locals we met in both Venice & Naples had never seen them and were fascinated by these books which led to quite a few doors being opened for us in our quest.

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Having been to Venice & Naples several times, these books really got our creative juices flowing. As a result, we thought we would do a series of “then & now” style images. How hard could that be? Simple right! Just go to Venice and take the photo from the same spot, a bit of editing and “bobs your uncle”- easy. Well, how naive we were. Many of the shots were now just impossible to do, not because of the crowds but simply because access to the spots was no longer allowed and was at times so frustratingly close yet inaccessible.

We have tried to get the images as close to the original as possible however this has not always been possible but it gives you a pretty good idea of the “then & now” concept. We have used Photoshop to blend some of the original images into the new photo to enhance the concept. See if you can identify some of the original images in the modern version.

Rio di S. Barnaba from the Ricordo di Venezia book

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Rio di S. Barnaba in modern times. See if you can pick out the original parts of the photo.

The text at the back of this image in the book is as follows –

“This Canal is most characteristic and of notable beauty. The <campanile> which is seen – one, of the most stately of Middle Ages – is annexed to the Church of S. Barnaba, and was built by the architect Boschetti in 1749. This church boasts of pictures by Titian.”

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For more check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

If you have any questions or comments we would love to hear from you.

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