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Two sides of life in Venice

Today’s sounds highlight two distinct sides of the sonic life of Venice – the better-known world of heavy tourism, and the daily life of Venetian citizens far away from Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge.

Visiting Venice on a normal weekday in September 2020, there were far fewer tourists to be seen than ever before due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and in places you could almost imagine the city as a place for residents going about their normal lives.

First, we’re off the beaten track in Cannareggio and in this field recording, you can hear school classes being taught as we walk past the windows of classrooms, teenagers leaving class and chatting by the side of the canal, and machine/work boats passing back and forth.

City version:

This recording from Fondamenta Savorgnan rwas eimagined by John Savarese, who writes:

“The field recording is a soundwalk through Venice, starting (I gather) around the Ponte della Crea and moving southeast along the Cannareggio, past a school.

“I wanted to keep the soundwalk intact, and scored it by following some of the main sounds: boat noise, voices, waves, a howling dog.”

Memory version:

However, even in the midst of a global pandemic, tourism continues to some extent. In the tourist centre of the Piazza San Marco, tourists were congregating as usual, and the crowds were as intense as ever, jostling for a selfie in front of the Bridge of Sighs.

In this recording we’re in amongst the tourists as they compete for the best spot, then we walk around underneath the bridge to capture some of the boat traffic beneath.

City version:

This recording was reimagined by Ryan Campos, who simply describes his piece as “a modular composition accompanied by a world we once knew.”

Memory version: