Venice — one of the world’s most romantic cities. Situated on the north side of Italy, Venice is often referred to as the “City of Water.” With its quaint alleys, winding waterways, impressive bridges, and relaxed way of life, it’s hard to properly describe the charm and majesty of this fabulous floating city, surrounded by its hundreds of tiny canals.
If that isn’t enough to make it a Top 10 ‘bucket list’ vacation spot, the city also has plenty of happy, well fed cats that wander and grace these historic streets! Got your attention now? >^..^<
Now imagine how excited we were to find out about a photography project called ‘Cats in Venice’. It’s a photo journey through the streets of Venice capturing images of cats who roam freely, but unlike strays, they are loved and cared for by their owners. These cats all live in nearby homes, apartments or even in local shops.
We caught up with the ‘Cats in Venice’ creator, Marianna Zampieri. She’s a resident of Vicenza (about an hour’s drive west of Venice) who conceived this initiative and here’s what she shared with us:
Q: What is the Cats in Venice project all about?
My name is Marianna, I am Italian and very passionate about cats and photography. I started to take photos 5 years ago, shortly after my cat Arthur came into my life. In June of 2017, I began Cats in Venice. I live in Vicenza and beautiful Venice is not too far from here, so I thought I wanted to show the strong bond that exists between this eternal city and her cats, working on something special with these two subjects, but I had to think of a way to do it.
I spoke with local Venetians about the cats that live in Venice, and are free to roam the streets (called ‘Calli’ in Italian) and they gave me so many reports that I created a map and started walking through this magical city, looking for these cats.
The most important part was that they always told me every cat’s name and something about them, so I decided to create a photographic project enriched from texts that explain something more about every cats I meet (asking people or directly to the owner), and I think that this is the particular difference and beauty of this project.
Q: Are the cats in the photos of street cats and shop cats living in Venice?
Yes, they are all Venetian Cats, that live free to go in and out from the homes or shops they belong to (they all have owners or people who take care of them).
Q: Where was your collection displayed?
A part of the photos I took from the very beginning of the project have been displayed from November 2017 until January 2018 in a beautiful Pastry shop (named ‘Pasticceria Venezia’of course!) based in Vicenza, near the Basilica Palladiana. It has been a great experience, every single photo was accompanied by the story of the cat.
Q: How long did it take you to capture all the photos?
This project took a long time; I started in June 2017 and i’m still working on it. Every time I can (usually once a week) I go to Venice looking for cats to photograph. I even created a FB page to follow the project, and I’m happy to see that there is so much interest.
Q: Did you have a favorite photo?
It is impossible for me to choose one favorite photo. I fall in love with every cat I was lucky enough to photograph. I always try to portrait the cat but also to show something about Venice, so everybody who looks at the photo can understand where it has been taken.
Q: Are you planning to do a book or something similar with this photo gallery?
Yes, this is the very first time I’ve announced it and am really excited to do so! Before the end of March I plan to publish the book Cats in Venice (El Squero Editore). This is a dream come true because I’ve always wanted to collect all the photos and stories in a book but it’s been a challenge. I finally found an editor that believes in this project and here we are!
Q: Do you own a cat? If yes, what’s his/her name? Can we get a photo of you and your cat(s)?
Yes, I live with an awesome cat named Arthur. He is almost 6 years old and has really changed my life. I’ve always been a cat lover, and grew up with them, But when I met Arthur everything changed. I discovered a passion for photography and he inspires me every day, so this is all for him. He is a very special cat, with a great character. We have a strong bond, so strong that I arranged a private photo shooting for us the day before I got married, to have some self portraits with him.
Q: Any new and exciting projects ahead for Marianna?
I think that Cats in Venice is going to last a bit longer, so for now I continue to work on it. It is such a special project that I really don’t know what will follow. Meanwhile, I do private photo shoots and post-wedding photography with cats. These sessions are becoming very popular.
Enjoy a few more of Marianna’s wonderful captures of these most delightful felines … the following images were especially intriguing with the cats among all the surrounding books. Does that mean Venetian cats are smarter than most other cats?Cats in Venice - Meet These Delightful Street FelinesClick To Tweet
We want to thank Marianna for allowing us to share her stunning images and delightful story. As noted earlier, she also specializes in post-wedding shoots with newlyweds and their beloved kitties to capture their special bond in the comfort of their own homes. We sense another article coming…stay tuned! In the meantime, you can follow her paw-some IG feed @marianna_catographer for more feline eye candy!
For those wanting to learn more about Venice’s street cats, we found an interesting piece by theculturetrip.com called ‘What Happened to Venice’s Street Cats?‘ An informative read.