For most of the year, the Prealps and the high peaks of the Dolomites are not visible from the Venetian coastline due to the mist and humidity that obscure the horizon. However, you can witness a small miracle on rare occasions when the distance between the lagoon and the nearest peaks, located 100 miles or more away, seems to disappear. This occurs most frequently in the winter and autumn when special weather conditions combine: the cold, clear Bora winds blow in from the northeast, driving away the clouds and mist and clearing the sky resulting in cold temperatures and clear, dry air. The presence of these factors is often the origin of the phenomenon known locally as “stravedamento”.
Though it is difficult to translate this word’s full meaning, which incorporates a sense of wonder, the term comes from the local dialect of Chioggia town and was used by local fishermen to define a clear and visible horizon. The stravedamento makes possible stunning views such as those captured by our colleague Giacomo which are posted below. The grandeur of the mountains rising behind Venice is so pronounced it seems almost improbable to the human eye, and it is not uncommon for shots like these to be considered as photoshopped images. In reality, it is simply the work of the camera’s telephoto lens which compresses the planes and reduces the distance between the photographed subjects, making them appear to be very close.
And so, magically, a typical gondola rowing boat appears to glide through the waters of a mountain lake crowned with snow-capped peaks rather than a lagoon located just a handful of miles from the Adriatic Sea. Or, from night to morning, the “hippopotamus” of the Cesen Mountain seems to leave the Venetian Prealps to stroll above the homes of Murano or between the “paròn de casa” (St. Mark’s Square bell tower) and the bell tower of San Giorgio, depending on where you are watching – from either the Lido di Venezia or the Certosa Islands. The enchantment continues among the islands of native Venice in the northern lagoon where, while strolling through the colorful Burano, you can see the mountains peeking out from behind the majestic Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta on the island of Torcello.
The mild light of the winter dawn and the warmer, more enveloping light of the sunset contrast harmoniously with the snowy whiteness, offering the attentive observer an unparalleled spectacle. A breathtaking panorama encompasses the natural beauty of the Dolomites and the result of human ingenuity, the city of Venice, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2009 and 1987 respectively.
During your next stay at the Hyatt Centric Murano Venice, you may be lucky enough to experience the stravedamento phenomenon in person. The Alps can be the backdrop to your scenic transfer from the airport to Murano in the hotel’s private taxi or frame the view that you’ll enjoy as you travel to Venice by vaporetto. And of course, if photography is your passion, we’ll be happy to share our favourite viewpoints with you!
Hyatt Centric Murano Venice
Riva Longa, 49
30141 Murano – Venezia