Venice in billboards

Gustav Aschenbach, the leading character in Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”, gives us a very clear idea of what is must have once meant to reach the wonderful City of the Doges:

So he again set eyes on the most astounding landing, that blinding composition of fantastic architecture, which the Republic has to offer the awestruck looks of the approaching seafarer: the light grandeur of the Palace and the Bridge of Sighs, the columns topped with the lion and the saint close to the shore, the flauntingly projecting flank of St Mark’s, the view of St Mark’s Clock, and thus contemplating he thought that arriving in Venice from the train station was like entering a palace through the servants’ entrance and that one should always, like himself, travel across the ocean to the most improbable of cities.

Here is the most improbable city of the world, in a selection of posters by 20th-century illustrators.


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