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Rita Crane Photography: Italy / Venice / twilight / arcade / gondolas / historic cafe / Gran Caffe Chioggia, Venice

One of my favorite architectural shots .... and included in my Getty Images portfolio: Licensing available through Getty Images:


You could see the gondolas in the blue twilight of San Marco Basin beyond the warm glow of the Gran Caffe Chioggia’s arcade. This is one of the oldest historic cafes in Venice, along the San Marco plaza. Walking past here I had to stop, absolutely enchanted with this scene. There were a few people out in the cold winter evening air, and I waited each time for them to pass, making a few exposures in between. Soon it became evident I was going to need a tripod given the dim light. We spent the next afternoon walking all over Venice to find one, then returned to this exact same place armed with the new purchase, and ready to give it a second try. What a pleasure to be able to record it in this special glowing light.


Some history of these arcades and the newly discovered drink, caffe, served under the office buildings that surround the San Marco Square:


"The New and Old Procuratie, bordering the Square, were the offices of the 9 Procurators, the most important citizens of Venice after the Doge. They controlled the Square, the Basilica and the 6 sections of the city, called sestieri . In 1585 the Venetian ambassador to Instanbul told the Senate that the Turkish were drinking a hot black drink, made by a seed called Kahavè and that people had diffuculty in falling asleep after drinking this beverage. This seed was brought back to Venice and in 1638 it was roasted, ground and sold at an expensive price from a special caffè shop which was located directly under the Procuratie. In a short time the caffè shops opened all of the city and by the end of the next century there were 24 such caffè's in St.Mark's Square alone. These caffè's soon became the favorite place among intellectuals to meet and drink coffee. Gambling, another favorite past time of the Venetian nobility also went on in the caffè's."

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Taken on March 18, 2007