Venice remains my favorite city in Italy. I never tire of her beauty and charms. I’m also fascinated by her dark side and her complicated past, which seems to be reflected in the many dark faces of Venice that adorn countless walls and doors.

Don’t get too comfortable.

That’s my interpretation of these dark and foreboding faces of Venice. On their own, they can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, but throw in their location in the maze of dark and confusing alleyways, and you have an excellent setting for a thriller or horror movie. Who can forget the final scene in Don’t Look Now? (The creepy knife-wielding dwarf elevates the spooky factor).

Venice, ItalyWise

Are You Sure You Want to Pass? – © 2018 Jed Smith

You don’t have to search hard to find the shadowy faces of Venice.

Consider the three photos in this post and the fact that I captured them in the span of five minutes and within 50 meters of each other. In other words, they’re pretty much everywhere.

Now, to dig deeper in order to understand the reasons and the psychology behind these anything-but-welcoming adornments. Maybe the clue is in the dark passages in Venice’s history, which are numerous. Just recently I watched a fascinating documentary about the history of Venice. It’s called Francesco’s Venice(You can find it on but be forewarned it comes in region format 2, so be sure your DVD plays multiple regions before purchasing). In the documentary, I came to much greater familiarity with Venice’s population being decimated by 30% during the plague. I also had no idea that, at one point in time, a full 20% of Venice’s population had syphilis. Yikes! And, Venice held a reputation for holding trade and physical indulgences first while the church and Christianity held second place. In other words, Venic stubbornly and persistently refused to give up its vices.

Venice, ItalyWise

Guarding The Door – © 2018 Jed Smith

Warding Off Evil?

Probably. I know I’d been employing whatever voodoo I thought would help if my city’s population was being quickly wiped out. I’d make sure strangers would think twice before knocking on my door.

Ghost stories and mysteries set in Venice are easy to find. The stage is set. Let the fog from the lagoon roll in, and the storyline is off and running. I know my fertile imagine doesn’t need much in this regard. And, for that reason, I’ll be revisiting this theme in future posts. Consider this a mere appetizer!