Dream of Venice in Black and White (Hardcover)

By Tiziano Scarpa (Introduction by), JoAnn Locktov (Editor)

Bella Figura Publications, 9780990772521, 96pp.

Publication Date: September 5, 2018

List Price: 26.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Dream of Venice in Black and White reveals Venice as a narrative in chiaroscuro. Over 50 photographers from 10 countries have documented the city to create a visual legacy of elegant realism in light and shadow. The acclaimed Italian author Tiziano Scarpa contributes a poignant reflection of his life as a Venetian, experiencing “perpetual change.” His eloquent and candid Introduction exposes the complex issues that threaten the survival of Venice. Venice has had the audacity to exist as a living city for over 1,500 years. But for how much longer?

Dream of Venice in Black and White is dedicated to Gianni Berengo Gardin. His photographs, both captivating and controversial, have become intrinsic to Italy’s collective conscious.

A portion of the proceeds from each book will be donated to the Ikona Photo Gallery, located in Venice’s Ghetto Nuovo.

About the Author

Tiziano Scarpa was born in Venice, Italy in 1963. He is a novelist, poet, playwright, and journalist. In 1997 he won the Italia Prize for his writing. Scarpa’s lyrical novel, Stabat Mater (Serpent’s Tail, 2011) was awarded the Strega Prize, Italy’s most prestigious literary honor. His acclaimed Venice is a Fish: a Sensual Guide (Gotham Books, 2008) is known throughout the world as an idiosyncratic celebration of Venice. Corpo (Einaudi, 2005) is a collection of aphorisms and short stories about fifty parts of the human body. His books have been translated into many languages including Japanese, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, and Arabic. Scarpa has collaborated with musicians (jazz, rock, classical, pop) including Enrico Rava, Marlene Kuntz, Michele Tadini, and Debora Petrina. His essays about modern and contemporary art have featured Anish Kapoor, Tino Seghal, Mimmo Rotella, and Giorgio De Chirico. He currently lives in Venice. JoAnn Locktov is the founder of Bella Figura Publications, an imprint dedicated to publishing books on Venice. She previously edited the first two books in the "Dream of Venice" series. Beyond publishing, JoAnn is a dynamic resource on the subject of Venice. Her views on Venice, both political and cultural, have been featured in podcasts, interviews, and articles. Prior to publishing the "Dream of Venice" series, JoAnn wrote two books on contemporary mosaics for Rockport Publishers, Inc.

Praise For Dream of Venice in Black and White

"An enchanted Venice, in black and white, like a dream. But this is really the authentic Venice, a dream-reality that we must love and defend.”  —Salvatore Settis, author, If Venice Dies

“This remarkable anthology, thanks to the wintery season, the tones of black and white and the virtual absence of tourists, offers us the romantic melancholy, the poetry of reflections and the beauty of light that are the magic of Venice."  —Philip Rylands, Director Emeritus, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice

“This vision of Venice comes from a Venetian returning to his homeland. Acclaimed writer Tiziano Scarpa sees his city afresh, with wistfulness but also with the love of someone who’s crossed more than a lagoon to come back. In striving to be fair, he swims between conflicting currents of opinion about the fate facing the city. Expect a very Venetian fluidity, drifting between different visions of black and white. Like the light washing over the lagoon, maybe the future is silvery-grey.” —Lisa Gerard-Sharp, author and travel journalist

"Is this book a decorous black-edged invitation to a funeral? Yet there’s proof of life in the provocative introduction by Tiziano Scarpa, delivering a vigorous lesson in how to see. By virtue of numbers, Venice seems to have chosen tourists as her true inhabitants. That’s how she survives. Yet tourism is also what bullies her with continuous interruption, subtraction, dilution, pollution, overlay. As Scarpa suggests, leaf through this book to walk lightly on the stones of Venice. She almost cannot bear anything else."  —Michelle Lovric, author, The Book of Human Skin

"The beauty of Venice could not exist without the unwavering love of those who live and work here. This book captures with magnificent images and passionate words the spirit of a dream that the world should not take for granted.”  —Shaul Bassi, Ca’Foscari University of Venice

“What deeply mysterious and evocative images. Let them transport you across all the borders of memory. They reveal the heart of Venice’s power: timelessness.” —Frances Mayes, author, Women in Sunlight

"We are as / in autumn / on trees / the leaves", recites one of the most famous compositions of an Italian soldier-poet, Giuseppe Ungaretti, who wrote this very brief and poignant poem inside his trench, in 1918, towards the end of World War I. A sort of precious western haiku that perfectly renders the sense of temporariness and the transient feeling that prevails in the Venice of the third millennium, so masterly described in this book by Tiziano Scarpa. Images counteract words and fully reflect the scenic complexity of a city that was a photograph before the invention of the darkroom and cinema before the cinema; a city that is painting, music and writing at the same time. Dream of Venice in Black and White returns the beauty of the gesture, the landscape, the water and the stone, the delight and cross of a city that paradoxically risks dying."  —Alberto Toso Fei, author, Mysteries of Venice

"This is a remarkable collection of images, a panorama of what is extraordinary about Venice together with the reality of ordinary day-to-day existence. The black and white format adds clarity to why we are all working so hard to defend and protect the life of the city and the lagoon."  —Jane da Mosto, co-founder & executive director of We Are Here Venice

"With her third book on her favorite Italian landscape, JoAnn Locktov focuses on a number of missions. First, she’s out to save Venice from the tourism and cruise ships that threaten the city and its culture. “Venice is a city in deep, deep trouble,” she says. “There are mass tourism and sea monsters taking over the lagoon.” The city is losing about 1,000 residents a year, with its permanent population dropping to just 53,000. Homes are being rented to a rotating base of tourists, and support services—bakeries, butcher shops, and hardware stores—can no longer survive. “I’m not sure it’s going to make it,” she says. “The current administration is hell-bent on turning it into a theme park.” To articulate her point of view in Dreaming of Venice in Black and White, she recruited award-winning author, Venetian native and longtime resident Tiziano Scarpa to write its introduction. “We are dying out,” he writes. “Soon we will disappear. The city prefers to be inhabited by someone else: not so much by other categories of human beings but by another way of being in the world.” Editor Locktov had other goals, too, in mind when she developed this elegant little tome. There are also the talented visionaries who contributed its rich imagery. “I wanted to amplify their work—especially in North America. That’s a big piece of it—the creatives I chose to work with deserve attention and respect.” Then there’s the Ikona Photo Gallery, founded by Ziva Kraus and located in Venice’s Ghetto Nuovo. A portion of the new book’s profits will go to her. “She’s been in Venice for 40 years and she’s dedicated to Venice,” she says. “I want people to go there and be aware of her gallery.” But it’s the political future of the city on the lagoon that’s her chief concern. “The agenda of the administration is not what the small population wants,” she says. “It wants a very different situation.” Thus her newest book—and the push toward public consciousness-raising. —Mike Welton, architectsandartisans.com/

"Venice is one of the world’s most written about cities, with its own thesaurus of clichés, and if it’s hard for authors to find a new angle on the place it is equally difficult for photographers. 'The Dream of Venice' series however captures the city in fresh and even surprising detail; with images of intricately water-stained buildings, of children paddling in a flooded San Marco, of light and shadow playing under a tiny bridge that will speak to anyone who’s spent time wandering away from the tourist tracks of Venice. But there’s also a quietly polemic subtext to this series, as editor JoAnn Locktov aims to remind her readers that Venice is a real place—where people work, play, and raise families; and that it is now fighting for its survival against the threats of civic corruption, climate change and the unchecked numbers of visitors who are driving out the local population. The third volume, published this Autumn, contains an essay by the Venetian writer Tiziano Scarpa who sounds a stricken note of warning as he points out that 'Venice has had the audacity to exist as a living city for over 1,500 years' and asks 'how much longer' it will be allowed to continue." —Judith Mackrell, www.waterstones.com/