Signs, Banners and

To say that Venice is a modern city may seem preposterous considering that it can be toured using a map created five hundred years ago. But come to think of it, one realizes that except for an enduring architecture and a general lack of cars and noise pollution, all the other elements essential, and otherwise, of a modern city are present in Venice: A city that pioneered the adoption of mechanical public transportation (the vaporetto dates from 1881; in most cities at that time public transportation was horse-drawn). A city wired for the 20th century and wireless for the 21st. A city where public housing goes back centuries, way before the rising of the projects ubiquitous in  today's metropolises. One can make a list of all the things that make Venice a modern city and that list would go on and on and at some point it would include "a city with graffiti." As old as civilization itself, this form of expression – the graffito – took on a new dimension some fifty years ago with the widespread use of spray paint and has become the watermark that identifies all modern cities.  We won't find in Venice the elaborate displays of the taggers of London or New York, but we will see the blunt social message, the sloppy outcry or the poetic lament inscribed on bridges and walls, new and old, by locals and visitors alike.

I have gathered here a few of the graffiti that over the years have caught my attention. They come in all flavors and, being Venice a city of tourists, in an assortment of languages. In addition, I have included the graffito's less-spontaneous but better-civilized cousins: the signs and banners. There is a collection of photos of mostly polite but sometimes crude signs, from the Giudecca to the most remote corners of Castello, asking the fellow citizens of Venice, "questa povera città," to take proper care of their garbage, not to be dumped, ditched or discharged on somebody else's front door, and to clean after their beloved canine companions.

"The servant that doesn't rebel is worse than the master that commands him."

"Freedom does not exist beyond capitalism. No special surveillance."

"The departure is nothing but the beginning of the journey back home"

(Meaning almost lost in translation. How can one accurately translate the word "partenza"...?
"Departure" barely cuts it.)

"Good morning princess"

"I miss you to death"
In 2013 only "Buongiorno principessa" was written on these walls. By 2016 "Mi manchi da morire" had been added (you can see that the ink of "Mi manchi..." is much darker). What happened in the meantime? Did she move away? Did she break it up? If she did, she may have lost her one and true prince.

"Mi angel in this hell, my devil in a cold spell, my love,
true, rare, without end."

From Spain: "Only you were missing. Pipe and Guille." 

Does it say Katoomba? Katoomba, Australia? This picture was taken in 2011.

This was taken five years later

"Finally I am out of the tunnel!" This can apply to so many dark, narrow and long alleys! 

Correcting Italian into Venetian

Beware of the male cat

Beware of the female cat

"Viva San Marco. Viva La Repubblica." Graffito on Piazza San Marco dating to the Austrian occupation.

Ducal Corno. One of the emblems of the Republic. Very old graffito.

"Enough!!! The garbage goes out in front of your own door from Monday to Saturday before 8.  Respect this poor city!!! Thanks."

"Please leave your garbage next to your door and not to your neighbor's. Thanks."

"Anyone who has the intention of leaving the garbage in this corner... is politely asked to change the location. Thanks."

"This place is not a dump. For mutual respect and good neighborly relations everyone is asked to keep their own garbage next to their own door especially when it is smelly or bulky and not picked up by the normal collection. Thanks."

"If you see dog poop it means that a dog with a shitty master walked by. Collect your dog's droppings.
 Thanks for the cooperation."

"These black locust trees have been adopted by some neighbors
with the intent to restore decorum and dignity
to the place and the people.
We just ask you to respect these plants. Thanks!"

Colorful walls...

"Do not touch Rialto"

No translation needed

Poster asking people to circulate on the right. Essential these days with so many guided tours clogging the historic center.

"Art and Resistance" in Campo San Giacomo da l'Orio. Typical "filete porteño." The "filete" or "fileteado" is a form of artistic drawing characteristic of the city of Buenos Aires. The main elements of the filete are the use of thin lines in bright colors, preference for highly stylized letters, use of shading and highlights to give a 3-D feel, use of flowers as ornamental elements, and framing the composition. More often than not, the colors of the Argentinian flag (a white stripe between two blue ones) are incorporated into the design.  This "filete" is a small piece of evidence that shows that Venice still attracts artists and artisans from around the world.

Removing graffiti from the walls of the church of San Cassan