Vicenza in Italy really is a gem of a city.
Architecture, history and some very hardworking people have come together to create a place where the eyes meet beauty as long as they are willing to see it.
Ponte dei Angeli (or the Bridge of the Angels in English) is an iconic spot in Vicenza. Straddling the river Bacchiglione, its location dates back to Roman times, although the bridge itself has been re-built and modernised on several occasions since then.
The bridge marks the end or the beginning (depending on your point of view) of Vicenza’s historical centre and it opens onto a small piazza which is more of a crazy junction where six streets meet.
Cars, buses and bicycles trundle all day long round the tiny islet in the middle of the piazza. Its central point is a tall column on top of which there is a small winged figure. The column was placed there to commemorate the Capture of Rome or, in other words, the final event of the long process of the unification of Italy which occurred on the 20th September 1870. Not surprisingly, the piazza itself is called ‘XX Settembre’.
It is a place I often pass through on my way into and out of the historical centre.
Approaching the piazza from one of the curving streets which flock to it, it always takes my breath away. It is noisy, it is messy and the buildings around it carry the signs of decades of heavy traffic. Yet, if you stop and look at it all for a while, you can’t fail to notice the splendid architectural details, the whimsical tall houses and, my personal favourite, the Palazzo Angaran – a captivating yet rather faded 15th century mansion encircled by a continuous arcade on both sides.
Right in front of the piazza runs the river Bacchiglione and further back in the adjacent streets there are small artisanal shops, grocers, bars, cafes and yet more palazzi and historical buildings.
I have been trying to capture the beauty of this small piazza for years now.
Every time that I pass through I have my camera at the ready, yet so far I have found it extremely hard to contain in one image if not all, then most of its many angles.
It is just that it is always so busy, so overrun with traffic, so full of corners, buildings and Italian life, that my camera struggled to find the right point of view to compress it all in.
Until one very early morning a few months back, when I was quickly walking down to Vicenza’s train station, rushing to catch a train to take me on a spontaneous day trip. It was then that I found the piazza deserted of cars and almost devoid of people.
The sky was beautiful, too. Dramatic even. With the sun just breaking through the clouds. It was my moment and I captured it. Standing on Ponte dei Angeli with my back to the river and facing straight on to the commemorative column, I took a moment to steady the camera in my hands and pressed the shutter.
I hope you like this shot as much as I do. If you ever come to Vicenza, don’t miss Ponte dei Angeli and Piazza XX Septembre. If, on the other hand, you live here, do let me know if this place speaks to you as loud as it does to me.
With this post I signal the start of my new series of blog posts. Called ‘Photo of the Day’ I will use it to share with you (fingers crossed, daily) a photo which reveals the beauty and the reality of living in Italy and travelling in Europe. These will be short posts (sometimes more of a caption, really), so that you can enjoy them on the go and use them to bring a ray of colour into each of your days.
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