Venice Revealed by Paolo Barbaro
An Intimate Portrait

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THE CITY OF VENICE is a kind of miracle - surrounded by the sea, cut by as many canals as streets, built on fill reinforced with pilings made of huge tree trunks, it defies nature and belief. No city has been more often painted or written about; for centuries it has drawn visitors for its food and cafés, its masked balls and street life, its public squares and buildings, the beauty of its sunsets, the softness of the air, the clarity of its light.

But Venice is dying - literally sinking into the sea - and its beauty has drawn so many tourists that ordinary citizens can no longer afford to live there. Paolo Barbaro grew up in Venice and after a full working life as a civil engineer in cities scattered across the world he went home. There he fell in love all over again with a city that seemed to be slipping away. He describes the illumination of that rediscovery in this extraordinary book - a brilliant evocation and description of a city which has lost none of its power to charm, dazzle, and take one's breath away.

But the passion in Barbaro's plea for the salvation of his native city has a deeper source than nostalgia. If humankind cannot stir itself to save Venice, he asks, what hope is there for other endangered cities, places, and animals?

“Not since Rilke have we read pages about Venice with the power of these.” -- Vittorio Branca

About Paolo Barbaro

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PAOLO BARBARO left Venice in his twenties and worked as a civil engineer around the world before returning to Venice, where he now lives on the Rio di Santa Margherita in the section known as Dorsoduro. He is the award-winning author of more than thirty books, both fiction and nonfiction.
Published October 10, 2001 by Steerforth Italia. 272 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Travel, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Still more inscrutably, of Venice’s insularity from tourists, he says: “On the inside, where she’s still most herself, Venice can no longer be seen.” Such temporal and sensual confusions reduce people to their essences, he concludes, and thus a search for the true Venice is a search for self.

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Publishers Weekly

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Perhaps no other city in the world has inspired writers, artists and architects like Venice, the Jewel of the Adriatic, la Serenissima.

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