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Venice Is a Fish: A Sensual Guide

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  480 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
One of Italy's brightest literary lights reinvents travel writing with a seductive, intoxicating celebration of the magical saltwater city
"Venice is a fish," writes Tiziano Scarpa. "It's like a vast sole stretched out against the deep. How did this marvelous beast make its way up the Adriatic and fetch up here, of all places?" Paying homage to his native city in a lyrica
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ebook, 176 pages
Published August 14th 2008 by Gotham Books (first published 2000)
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Sophia
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think you have to be in the right frame of mind to read this book. If you try to skim its pages or cram its sentences between moments of your busy life, you will miss it. My favourite sentiment in this book is how the people of Venice are under constant assault by beauty, that the times when some of these great buildings or monuments are covered for restoration allows for a strange sense of relief, a tiny unburdening of the weight that so much splendour puts upon the residents.

The language th
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Christopher Intagliata
Oct 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: travellers to Venice and Italophiles
This is probably the best guide to Venice. You won't find hotels, restaurants, bars or museums on these pages - instead they are dedicated to examining the essence of all things perceived by the senses in Venice, unique among all cities. There is a chapter on the sounds of Venice, footsteps on stone alleys reverberating in the closed space. The smells of the fish market and the canals in the summer. The most beautiful and sensible guide to experiencing Venice.

The title, "Venice is a fish" derive
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Michael
An evocative ode to Venice by a native writer, which excludes naming restaurants and shops and instead focuses on the life of the place. He's too indulgent in word choice, but good at portraying the atmosphere that "keeps desire forever inflamed, but at a mild level, without sudden fluctuations." Not all is romantic, since Venice is also a giant sewer-home to rat legions, and chunks of old plaster fall on people's heads.

Another writer, Diogo Mainardi, concludes in the coda: "For me, Venice is th
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Stuart Hill
lyrical musings on the city by a venetian. This book attempts to describe the impact of venice on the senses. At best it is a witty and stimulating read, but it is let down by some weaker sections.

It is also rather short, and the central text is a mere 100 short pages (the edition I read was a small format), the remainder is made up of alternative versions of previous chapters which felt rather pointless , and a couple of pieces by other authors, one of which is less than 3 pages long! I did won
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Greg
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mostly, this book is amazingly fulfilling in its full-sensory engagement with La Serenissima, but then it simply ends, I suppose, just as my short upcoming visit will. Intensely felt, this geography lesson tells me how the place will lay claim to my heart. And I'm open to it.
Sara
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this short little book. It's very evocative and there are certain paragraphs that I want to photocopy and keep in my pocket to amuse me again later. Definitely take your time reading it to appreciate the wit.
Frank
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Questo librettino è fantastico per avere una guida alternativa alla città di Venezia. Il volume è strutturato in capitoli nei quali vengono presentati aspetti diversi sì, ma sempre con qualcosa in comune che li lega. Ad esempio nel capitolo "Naso" si racconta degli odori e dei luoghi caratteristici come il mercato del pesce. Certamente non una guida classica che parla dei monumenti, ma una scoperta di cose particolari per imparare e comprendere aspetti di vita quotidiana. Si può dire di conoscer ...more
Niki Costantini
Una piccola guida alternativa che è diventato un classico del suo genere. Comprata durante il mio ultimo soggiorno veneziano, si legge velocemente per ritrovare luoghi ed emozioni alla fine di una giornata di esplorazioni. Non è una guida turistica, non ci sono percorsi da seguire, solo racconti, accenni, episodi e sensazioni, con una bella bibliografia alla fine e una coda con una manciata di racconti brevi che chiudono un cerchio emotivo.
Unico appunto, che è anche il punto di forza di questo
...more
megan c
May 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A interesting guide through Venice focusing on the different senses. The book is unlike any other "travel guide" I've read because it focuses on the nooks and grannies and obscurities of a world famous city. The language is thick and convoluted which makes for a good read and a feeling similar to eating a very rich meal.
Astrid Virili
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: venezia
ieri a venezia ho cercato la colonna con il capitello descritto da scarpa nel libro, quello con le scene che formano una storia d'amore.
ho messo le foto su flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/12049446...
Alan
Short book to whet your appetite for Venice. Each chapter comments on how a body part, legs for example, interactes with Venice. Eyes, ears, nose, taste, feet, legs each have a chapter. Basically saying Venice is sensory overload and so everyone is most serene.
Brynn
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What started as initially beautiful became a very difficult to read little book. Ultimately I'm not sure this provided the background and info on Venice that I was looking for. I might just stick with the guidebook.
David Gray
Nov 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is as much poetry as prose about the wonderful and bizarre world that is Venice. Another title that probably doesn't mean much to those wo don't already know or love the city, but certainly provides a unique perspective to those who already feel that connection.
Laura
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My second book about Italy... I wanted to like it, but it wasn't what I was hoping. Too short on useful details for me.. except, once again, for the food.
Kinoida
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Представьте, что вы гуляете по городу с коренным жителем, искренне влюблённым в свою "малую родину". Скорее всего, в первую очередь вам запомнятся не историко-культурные экскурсы, а местные байки и анекдоты, отрывки детских воспоминаний, взгляд на красоту "изнутри". Тициано Скарпа приглашает читателя именно на такую экскурсию. В этой книге вы не найдёте ни списка мишленовских ресторанов, ни лучших отелей, ни даже самых популярных достопримечательностей. Просто - взгляд изнутри. Который невзначай ...more
Janet
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a darling book that is a must read for people going to visit Venice, or for those of you who have experienced the mystery of Venice. Unlike the usual travel guide, this is not about buildings, art, food, hotels. This is about the feel of Venice. What it smells like, noises heard, all of the sensual aspects of the city. Close your eyes, and feel the city! Yes, buildings are discussed, but Venice is more than what reaches the intellectually trained eye! All of the good, the bad, the smelly ...more
Irene Simonetto
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un'inedita guida di un veneziano doc che svela alcuni (ma non tutti) i segreti custoditi da questa meravigliosa città-museo.
Consiglio la lettura di questo libro solo dopo aver visto almeno una volta Venezia, per comprenderne appieno la bellezza, l'irrequieto animo e la cauta generosità.
Venezia, infatti, si dà quasi tutta, offre a turisti e non le sue grazie, vestendole con abiti appariscenti e succinti; ma, come ogni donna, lascia la parte più interna della sua anima solo a chi ama veramente, m
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Jeanne
An interesting perspective on Venice but not one I wish to keep on my shelves. The author spends too little time on each 'sense' for any of them to be particularly memorable, and the actual book ends a lot sooner than you expect it to. Still, it presented a perspective I hadn't considered before so I'll give it that.
Dasha Miskevich
Просто не читайте эту книгу - время можно провести значительно полезнее. Лучше просто съездить в Венецию:)
Радует одно: книга миниатюрна настолько, что не так много времени растворилось между пальцами, словно просочившаяся вода.
Lothar Pawliczak
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dies ist wirklich ein seltenes Exemplar unter den Venedig-Kenner-und-Liebhaber-Büchern (deutschsprachige Ausgabe, nach der hier zitiert wird, 2002 ISBN 978-3803124333) die sich so im Teich der deutschsprachigen Literatur tummeln. "Die anderen Bücher würden lächeln über das, was ich dir da erzähle." (S. 7) Der Autor ist nämlich ein echter Venezianer, wenngleich er auch nicht mehr in Venedig lebt. Die Frage, warum Deutsche ebenso wie Österreichische und Schweizer Verlage, gern Englische und Franzö ...more
Giant Steps
Sep 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: saggistica
E' scritto bene, ma lo si apprezza di più se si conosce Venezia e io, che ci sono stato due o tre volte e i ricordi si perdono confusi, resto non scettico, ma tiepido all'impresa di per sé vana di raffigurare attraverso le pagine scritte, una città che ha un figurativo ampio e particolare. Vista l'ignoranza, un libro illustrato sarebbe stato più utile. Apprezzo ugualmente la bravura di Scarpa, la sua è una sfida. La scrittura ha dei limiti. Per piantare un chiodo si può usare un cacciavite ma è ...more
Kimbofo
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Written by a native Venetian, this book has real Italian flair: the writing is fresh and original, and much of the anecdotes contained within are humorous and (sometimes) surreal. It is strangely bewitching and, hands down, the most innovative book about Venice I’ve ever read.

Scarpa’s main thesis is that Venice is so beautiful — her paintings, her architecture, her canals — that the visitor can be inflicted with a disease known as “aesthetic radioactivity”, an idea that is pushed so much it soon
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Christiane
Those of us who can’t get enough of Venice always hope to be told about some hidden gem, curious fact or intriguing anecdote that nobody has told us before, even though we may have read a dozen books on the Serenissima and visited the city many times. So it was with this „cultural guide“ by Tiziano Scarpa.

The book starts off beautifully, comparing Venice to a huge, tired fish loaded down with the pearls, sand, seashells and seaweed of distant lands, come to rest in the lagoon and tied down by th
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míol mór
Anti-guida che invita a vivere la citt�� e non a visitarla, fin dall'iniziale inno al vagabondaggio (scontato per chi conosce Venezia ed abbia il tempo sufficiente ad evitare gli itinerari turistici a tappe forzate).
L'assunto �� semplice e pienamente condivisibile: Venezia �� un'esperienza sensoriale, chimico-fisica prima che estetica. Quindi perch�� non organizzarne l'esplorazione secondo le parti del corpo coinvolte, anzich�� per zone arbitrarie o percorsi prestabiliti?

Scarpa ha letto i test
...more
Louise
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, venice
This is an unusual book. To my knowledge, it's a whole new art form. It has the elements of a Hallmark gift book and at the same time those of an underground travelogue. The beauty of Venice is given in prose that rivals that of Maupassant (pp 117-124) whether it is about the vistas, the architecture or scatological issues unique to the city (pp.69-77).

The writer clearly loves his topic and the translator the art of translation. (Not having read the original, I presume Shaun Whiteside has coined
...more
No Books
Anti-guida che invita a vivere la città e non a visitarla, fin dall'iniziale inno al vagabondaggio (scontato per chi conosce Venezia ed abbia il tempo sufficiente ad evitare gli itinerari turistici a tappe forzate).
L'assunto è semplice e pienamente condivisibile: Venezia è un'esperienza sensoriale, chimico-fisica prima che estetica. Quindi perché non organizzarne l'esplorazione secondo le parti del corpo coinvolte, anziché per zone arbitrarie o percorsi prestabiliti?

Scarpa ha letto i testi ed
...more
Anna Scrive
Decisamente interessanti i primi 10 capitoli, nei quali Scarpa descrive Venezia mescolando notizie storiche, turistiche, artistiche con esperienze personali, emozioni, sensazioni e ricordi. Ho trovato noioso e fuori luogo il capitolo 'Libri': una lista di titoli, con brevi descrizioni, di testi che parlano di Venezia, una specie di bibliografia che avrei collocato appunto in una sezione bibliografica a fine libro. Carina l'idea di inserire nelle ultime parti del libro alcuni brevi brani di altri ...more
Trounin
Литературе пока только предстоит подвергнуться массированному натиску писателей, считающих нужным рассказать читателю о тех замечательных городах, в которых они живут. Кто-то пишет подробный путеводитель, кто-то повествует в стиле городского фэнтези, а иные предпочитают с юмором отметить ряд особенностей, характеризующих город с худшей из сторон. Собственно, Тициано Скарпа создал подобие памфлета, развеяв романтическое представление, добавив в повествование отталкивающие моменты. В самом деле, т ...more
Anna Zorzi
Decisamente interessanti i primi 10 capitoli, nei quali Scarpa descrive Venezia mescolando notizie storiche, turistiche, artistiche con esperienze personali, emozioni, sensazioni e ricordi. Ho trovato noioso e fuori luogo il capitolo 'Libri': una lista di titoli, con brevi descrizioni, di testi che parlano di Venezia, una specie di bibliografia che avrei collocato appunto in una sezione bibliografica a fine libro. Carina l'idea di inserire nelle ultime parti del libro alcuni brevi brani di altri ...more
Maura
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poche ma intense pagine in un libro maneggevole, fatto apposta per essere letto per strada, nella continuità naturale tra lo stile della città e quello dell’autore. La stessa raffinata ironia che Venezia sprigiona dai suoi elementi urbanistici unici si ritrova nella scrittura vivace, scorrevole, mai noiosa, fatta di sali e scendi e giri vorticosi. Attraverso fondamenta, canali, ponti, sotoporthegi, campi e campielli Scarpa ci accompagna in questa “passeggiata fisico-emotiva” vestendo i panni di ...more
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