A string quartet glides down Venice’s Grand Canal—inside a 30-foot-long replica of a violin

Posted on: September 21, 2021

Musicians play Vivaldi on artist Livio De Marchi’s floating violin in the Grand Canal in Venice. Photo: Susan Wright/New York Times

“In its 1,600-odd years, any number of phantasmagorical vessels have floated down Venice’s Grand Canal,” writes Elisabeth Povoledo in Sunday’s (9/19) New York Times. “On Saturday morning, … a decidedly unusual head-turner took a spin: a gigantic violin, carrying a string quartet playing Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons.’ The craft, called ‘Noah’s Violin,’ set sail accompanied by an escort of gondolas, and in no time a small flotilla of motorboats, water taxis and traditional flat-bottomed Venetian sandoli joined the violin as it glided from city hall … to the ancient Customs House across from Piazza San Marco…. The vessel is a faithful, large-scale replica of a real violin…. The Consorzio Venezia Sviluppo … financed the boat and built it along with Livio De Marchi, a Venetian artist, who conceived the idea during last year’s lockdown…. De Marchi named the work ‘Noah’s Violin,’ because like the ark, it was meant to bring a message of hope after a storm…. The journey down the Grand Canal was plotted to end beside the church of La Salute, Italian for health, in the Dorsoduro district, which was built as a votive offering to the Virgin Mary for deliverance from a plague that decimated the city in 1630.”