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Aqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth

Venice, a city with 1200 years of tenacity and grace under her belt, is not new to struggle. From her earliest beginnings, she has endeavored to wrestle an existence out of a Lagoon that both protects and punishes her. In recent years, the wakes of cruise ships have battered her fragile stones as tourism and economic realities have driven local Venetians out of the city. 


Then the aqua granda of 2019 flooded the calli and campi, nearly carrying Venetian fortitude away on its outgoing tides. A soggy, somber winter led way to a hopeful spring, when the pandemic lockdown appeared to strike the final blow.  


Or did it? In April, as an elegant double rainbow arched its way over the marbled city, Venetians put on their masks and got to work, dreaming up a new Venice. Read their stories, letters, poems, posters, and conversations that ring in the vision of Venice’s rebirth. 

This companion book to First Spritz Is Free: Confessions of Venice Addicts will take you deeper into our love for Venice.

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Protect and Preserve Venice

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Aqua Granda, Pandemic, Rebirth
L'arcobaleno a Venezia_28 aprile 2020_Fr

Photo by Fabiana Chiossi

November 2019: A flood of historic proportions, followed by weeks of acqua alta inundating the city, damaging homes and businesses. 

Spring 2020: The Covid-19 virus, a pandemic not known in generations. 

Now it's time to dream, plan, collaborate, and recreate Venice.

Venice lover Rosemary Wilmot shared her idea for this anthology with Kathleen Ann González and Venice Rising was born.

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Photo by Rosemary Wilmot

All proceeds from this book are donated to local organizations that protect Venice’s cultural and ecological future:

We are here Venice 

No Grandi Navi 

Venice Calls


Photo of Graziella Giusto by Agostino Gargiulo

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Photo by Manuel Carrión

List of Contributors


Elena Almansi, rowing instructor with Row Venice

Francesca Maria Barozzi, co-owner of Mavive

Piero Bellini, financial sector and author  of MATTAMATICA and British War Economy During the  Second World War

Mariangela Bognolo, critic and art historian

Manuela Brunello, artist

Vera Brunello, athletics instructor

Manuel Carrión, artist and owner of Carrión Gallery

Monica Cesarato, cooking instructor, tour guide, and food  blogger

Caterina Codato, artist

Jane Da Mosto, Eleonora Sovrani, and    Kasia Ruszkowska, environmentalists with We are here Venice

Romi Loch Davis, designer of couture and couture for  interiors

Sigrid de Montrond, galleriste, decorator, and costume  designer

Gregory Dowling, author of Ascension, The Four Horsemen,  and other books

Maria Gabriella Emiliana, owner of Antichità al Ghetto  antique store

Filippo Gaggia, owner of Views on Venice rental properties

Chiara Gatta, artist

Graziella Giusto, radio host, jewelry designer, and artist

Lorenzo Gregolin, waiter

Catherine Kovesi, history professor at University of  Melbourne

Iris Loredana, Environmental specialist in the financial sector  and founder of La Venessiana, a Venetian Food and Lifestyle  Blog

Luana Segato Luse, artist

Alessia Manente, lawyer

Fernando Masone, master printmaker

Marie Ohanesian Nardin, author of Beneath the Lion’s  Wings

Liesl Odenweller, soprano and cofounder of Venice Music  Project

Paolo Olbi, master bookbinder

Elena Grassi Orsoni, poet

Barbara Pastor, architect

Alessandro Santini, gondolier

Rachele Scarpa, agent at Views on Venice

Giuliano Tonolo, actor and writer

Rosemary Wilmot, Venetophile and photographer 

Climate Change, Reversed

Reviews for Venice Rising

"When Venice was at her most serenely beautiful, there was no one there to see her except the Venetians themselves. For ten terrifying, precious weeks, the Venetians got to know their city again.

In a city “naked without admirers,” a city resting from overtourism, there emerge new thoughts for a more mindful future. This timely and moving book is expertly curated by Kathleen Ann González, author of A Beautiful Woman in Venice."  

-- Michelle Lovric, author of The Book of Human Skin, The Remedy, and Carnevale


"Venice Rising is a compilation of eye witness reports from Venetians who have experienced unprecedented challenges. With honesty and wisdom they write of their fears, resilience, and hope. After sustaining devastating flood damage and loss of tourism, Venice has been returned to her residents. It is time that we listen to them. "

-- JoAnn Locktov, Bella Figura Publications 


"I loved Venice at first sight, but it wasn’t until I read Venice Rising that I truly appreciated — and fell in love with --Venetians.  They are, as historian William Thayer observed a century ago, “magnificent by nature.”

In the last year Venice has reeled under two disasters: a devastating once-in-a-century flood and the coronavirus crisis that triggered a months-long lockdown. In Venice Rising, a mosaic of citizens — artisans, rowers, teachers, performers, shop owners, scions of its oldest families — present a first-hand view of their city as they had  never seen it: deserted, silent, isolated, anxious yet at the same time never more beautiful or serene.

Venice Rising is a symphony of love, with many voices blending together to stir the soul just as deeply as their beloved hometown has for so many centuries." 

-- Dianne Hales, author of La Bella Lingua, La Passione, and Mona Lisa

"Whenever I start research for a book project, I always begin with primary sources—things written at the time. There’s nothing quite like hearing the voices and reading the words of people who’ve lived in a certain place and time, especially if they’ve endured a traumatic collective experience like war, natural disaster, or disease.


As a student of Venetian history, I’m gratified that Kathleen González has taken on the important task of capturing the firsthand stories of Venetians who’ve experienced the staggering challenges of 2019 and 2020 in their native city. In addition to giving hope to those of us who love Venice about the resilience of the city and of Venetians themselves, Venice Rising will also be an important source for those who want to understand our tumultuous times through the eyes of Venetians who experienced them."

-- Laura Morelli, art historian and historical novelist

Photo by Gregory Dowling

The Editor

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Kathleen Ann González has published with various periodicals and has stories in three anthologies and a textbook. She has independently-published five books: A Beautiful Woman in Venice, Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps, Free Gondola Ride, A Small Candle, and First Spritz Is Free. Supernova Edizioni publishes her books in Italy, including the translation into Italian of Casanova's Venice: A Walking Guide.

Kathleen also organized the symposium “Casanova in Place,” bringing together Casanova scholars in Venice in 2019. As a high school English teacher, Kathleen Ann González has won various awards and recognition for her work. Passionate about travel, Kathleen finds any excuse to hop on an airplane, particularly to Venice. 

Check out Kathleen's other books by clicking on each image.


Photo by Alessandro Santini

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