Each season in Venice offers surprises. Some you can encounter whilst wandering through the “calli” (Venetian alleys) and discovering unusual places, others are, so to speak, under the surface of the city and, sometimes, rather peculiar.
When it comes to sounds, this city is definitely unusual. In the absence of road traffic, there remains just the sound of boat engines cutting through the canals and of the means of transport that make their own characteristic noises. It’s hard to understand that “something” is missing, until you realize that what’s absent is the noise of road traffic; of buses, cars, scooters whirring and the hooting of horns.
Traffic in Venice is less agitated; it has a more fluid and rhythmic sound, diluting into the canal waters and gradually fading in the evening, when the boats transporting goods and those for other activities are no longer operating.
Mixed with these sounds is the swishing of the oars of the gondolas, which appear from small canals into the main street of the city, the Grand Canal, accompanied by the chattering of the gondoliers as they row and the typical shout as they approach a crossroad of canals.
In winter the city has moments of incomparable charm, with the sun, but also with the fog, which envelopes everything with a muffled blanket and absorbs the sounds that seem to come from all directions, whilst the colors of day dissolve in a game of hide and seek, making houses, palazzi and churches spontaneously disappear and reappear.
But also on those rare sunny winter days, particularly clear after a storm, the city appears adorned with the colors of Tintoretto’s paintings, with skies of every tone of blue. And if you observe it from Piazzale S. Maria Elisabetta del Lido, you will see the city surrounded by a ribbon of snowy mountains, with the sun reflecting off their peaks.
Winter sunsets offer spectacular scenes, with the burning sun tinging the sky and the lagoon with every shade of red, as it disappears behind the Salute church. The sky turns from red to blue before giving way to the color of the approaching night.
And so the silhouette of the city stands out on this night sky, illuminated by the street lamps, and the lights of shop and house windows.
And in this enchanted setting, only a few faint and faraway sounds can be heard, almost as if to softly lull us to sleep.