A while ago a gondolier friend told me about this great TV program on the BBC. He said the camerawork was amazing.
I jotted it down on a scrap of paper: "Francesco's Venice".
Time went by and I finally came across that piece of paper and looked it up and watched the program.
Aerial views that draw you in.
And the guy: Franceso da Mosto is engaging and gives a great tour through Venice's geography, and history.
He's also got some pretty good access to places we might never get to see in person.
When you get the chance, sit down and watch "Francesco's Venice".
Here are some links to get you there, along with my favorite quotes:
"We were one of the first families to come to the lagoon. My ancestors have been everything: from merchants, to prostitutes, to explorers. The city is in my blood"
"All of Venice is built on a bed of huge wooden nails"
"Venice pioneered the production of window glass, when other cities had only canvas or rags to keep out the wind and the rain."
"This is the Arsenale: a temple to the military and trading power"
"Because a bridge is something against nature, and you have to put yourself in the angel's hands"
"When this was built, it shocked and astonished the Venetians."
WARNING: some nudity.
"One saucy young painter took Venetian painting to a new level of beauty, sensuality, and ungodly eroticismo".
WARNING: some graphic language - skip 1:40-2:40 if you want to avoid it.
"The island is now home to no one, but a pack of stray dogs; wild - like the souls of the dead."