The Extraordinary Street Perfomers of Venice

Street performers in Venice have a never-ending audience of tourists flooding the city. If you’re an artist and you’re good at your craft––or if you’re particularly adept at being novel, you might be able to make a decent wage.

It’s pretty easy to find a musical maestro

Consider the photo above. I know people have heard plenty of glass music, but this fella is something to behold. How a person can coax music with such dimension out of the glasses is beyond my comprehension. He continues to hold the top spot in my estimation of street performers in Venice. I’ve seen him countless times and he never fails to deliver a masterful performance. I’m heartened that so many people reward his talent and hard work with generous donations. I hope he makes a fair living at this. A person can also buy a DVD from him. I’m glad to know his craft is available for “take-away!”

Venetian Street Performers

Passionate Cellist – © Jed Smith 2018

Classical street performers are plentiful.

In many ways, I prefer to have an impromptu classical concert like the one above, instead of the gazillion Vivaldi concerts being hawked all over town by people clad in period costume. I’m not saying these formalized concerts are bad, just a bit formulaic and pricey. And, if you could witness the passion this guy puts into his performance and hear the quality of his work, you just might opt to camp out with a bottle of wine and be serenaded. I’m happy to donate generously. Yes, more like him, please!

Venice Street Performers

Bubble Improv © Jed Smith 2018

And then there are the folks who turn something simple into art and acrobatics.

This man wins the prize for the agilest of all street performers I’ve seen. He turns blowing bubbles into something mesmerizing. I tip him for entertainment and resourcefulness. And I love that the lack of a Julliard-worthy education is no impediment towards being an artist.

On a side note, I envied this guy for what he could do with his body (and his knees). For me, that ship sailed a LONG time ago.

Just scratching the surface.

I’ve featured just three street performers in Venice. There are loads more, including people who pale in comparison to the three fellows above. Maybe these other people are banking on people with less refined tastes and fat purses!

Hit Venice spring through fall and you’ll be generously rewarded with art on the streets!


By |2019-01-19T21:13:00+01:00February 6th, 2018|A Romance with Venice|16 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Ali February 23, 2020 at 5:26 pm - Reply

    So great. What is the name of that passionate cellist? I would like to hear more of his play. 😊

    • Jed February 26, 2020 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      I wish I knew! If I see him again I’ll be sure to get a name.

  2. Marion February 11, 2018 at 2:38 am - Reply

    Reminds me of New Orleans, except it was jazz. I saw three kids (maybe one was more than 13 years old) playing different wind instruments on a street corner with a cardboard collection box. They were not making much, but kept playing. a fourth joined them and, after a while, one by one packed up and left. About 9 P.M. or so, it was down to one boy and he did not last long. I kept thinking how good this impromptu group of kids sounded and remembered Joni Mitchell:
    It is so good to have people who notice these things and reminds us to stop and take a listen or look at what people have created.

    • Jed February 14, 2018 at 11:23 am - Reply

      Thanks for sharing this, Marion. You also help remind me that some of the most astounding art shows up in impromptu and organic ways. Momma Liz always marveled at that!

  3. Deborah Haywoo9d February 7, 2018 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for this wonderful insight to very talented performers. Looking forward to seeing them in May !

    • Jed February 11, 2018 at 12:20 am - Reply

      I’m looking forward to showing you and Bob around! Maybe we’ll discover some new performers together!

  4. elizabeth wholey February 6, 2018 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Love this one, Jed!

    • Jed February 7, 2018 at 2:45 am - Reply

      Thanks, Elisabetta!

  5. mark wholey February 6, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    While living in Piombino we came across a little “cantina” with music pouring out of the tiny space. Along with a bunch of boat repair stuff were travel posters and life size cut outs plus 4 musicians playing and gesturing to come in. Lead guy, on mandolin was a man of all instruments and used to sail the world on cruise ships making music. Shared a little of his wine and listened and listened as we strolled to the shore until the sound of the crashing sea slowly overcame their music. Another time, heard opera being sung from a chair lift. WE were all literally floating hundreds of feet above the ground. And soaring!

    • Jed February 7, 2018 at 2:44 am - Reply

      Wow, what an experience! Sounds like one-of-a-kind––the kind you pinch yourself as you’re experiencing it!

  6. Mark Hanson February 6, 2018 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Loved this

    • Jed February 7, 2018 at 2:43 am - Reply

      Thank you, Mark!!! Come visit and we’ll work on chapter two of this story together!

  7. Chip Meeks February 6, 2018 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    Of all things that I notice during my visits there Jed, thanks for reminding me of the street performers. For some reason I always think of the fussweg in Barcelona for that craft, but I do believe that variety is more prevalent in Venice. Barcelona has the “human statue” out the wazoo!

    • Jed February 7, 2018 at 2:41 am - Reply

      Hi, Chip, I’d like to think people are upping their street performance “game” in Venice in order to compete successfully for the change in the pockets of happy (and sometimes inebriated) tourists. The human statues get my admiration for sheer patience. Always good hearing from you!

  8. Tom February 6, 2018 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Very cool

    • Jed February 7, 2018 at 2:35 am - Reply

      Thanks, Tom!

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