Unconventional Venice: 3 itineraries inspired by films and comics
Corto Maltese and his “Corti Sconte”
The secret Venice of Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt is certainly not a traditional tourist guide. It is a collection of itineraries that celebrate Venice’s most hidden, mysterious and somewhat nostalgic spots; introduced to the reader through anecdotes, legends and references to local taverns. More than 500 drawings complete Pratt’s work.
It is no coincidence that the Italian title (Corto Sconto. La guida di Corto Maltese alla Venezia nascosta.) puns on the Venetian expression corte sconta, which indicates a hidden square, sheltered from prying eyes.
This is not the only work by Pratt where he uses this expression from the Venetian dialect. Venice is dear to the cartoonist and is also celebrated in Fable of Venice, an intricate thriller set in the 1920s, at the origins of Fascism, involving occultists and freemasons. The story begins in a charming and secluded courtyard, Corte Botera, which is indeed nicknamed corte sconta by Pratt.
If you are looking for other places close to the author’s heart, Pratt used to say that there are three magical and hidden places in Venice: one in Calle dell’Amor degli Amici, a second one near the Ponte delle Meraviglie and a third one in Calle dei Marrani at San Geremia in the ghetto.
The Tourist is probably one of the most popular films set in Venice. It tells the adventures of the two protagonists, played by Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp, entangled in a compelling and mysterious plot that winds through some of the most iconic locations in town.
Although the cinematographic transposition of some places does not always reflect reality from a logistical and geographical point of view, some scenes of the film have become truly iconic. Just think of Frank’s escape in the Rialto Market area or the dinner with Elisa on the terrace of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum.
The location of the Interpol in the Arsenale is pretty curious while the setting of the Fontego dei Turchi is absolutely effective: Elisa arrives here in a splendid evening dress. It will be fun to explore the city through a The Tourist-themed itinerary.
The Merchant of Venice
The Merchant of Venice is one of the most famous plays written by William Shakespeare. In 2004 a film adaptation of the play was released and one of the protagonists, the Jewish Venetian usurer Shylock, is interpreted by the great Al Pacino. Most of the film shooting took place among Venice canals.
We like mentioning this film because not only it enhances the most classic and well-known views of the city, but it also shines the spotlight on one of Venice’s smaller islands: San Giorgio Maggiore. The former Benedictine monastery on the island, dating back to the 10th century and rebuilt in Renaissance style by Palladio, is now the headquarters of the Giorgio Cini Foundation and one of the most prominent locations in the film.
In particular, Portia’s palace is set here: in a scene she welcomes her lover Bassanio from the monumental seventeenth-century staircase, designed by the famous architect Baldassarre Longhena.