Grand Canal Sea Monster

Well, not exactly. But something is rising from the Grand Canal!

Maybe you already saw these hands that are now propping up the Ca’ Sagredo next to Venice’s Traghetto Santa Sofia. Here’s an article and an image:

Supporting Hands


Artist Lorenzo Quinn wanted to address the idea of climate change and rising waters and the support we all need to lend to keep buildings from toppling–or something like that. I’ve read a handful of articles that say things along these lines. My goal here isn’t to report on the art, but to share a little of the local reaction.

The Ca’ Sagredo forms one side of Campo Santa Sofia, where the traghetto station sits. I’ve spent many hours hanging out there with some of the gondoliers. So I sent a message to Stefano to ask him what he thought of the hands. He’s a bit of a cynic, so I expected something crusty and deprecating. Instead, he was full of enthusiasm. “Great–very nice!” he wrote back. “Great party, and Lorenzo is a very nice person,” he said. The local gondoliers apparently joined in at the opening celebration for the hands’ installation.

I asked Stefano what the art party was like. “Prosecco, bellini, snacks,” Stefano ticked off, “and very nice music with good sound.” I wish I could have been there for that party!

Here’s a trip in the way back machine showing me hanging out at Traghetto Santa Sofia in the 90s:

These new hands immediately made me think of the Mano that was installed on the Riva degli Schiavoni back in the late 90s, when I first went to Venice. It was there for a while, until people complained that it was too modern. I guess hands are back in style now.


(Thanks to these sites for the photos:  and

About seductivevenice

Teacher, writer, traveler, dancer, reader, photographer, gardener.
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One Response to Grand Canal Sea Monster

  1. Interesting. I’d seen a few images of it previously (and liked it.) I like the little touches – that the hands are modeled on his own son’s so it’s like an invitation (plea?) to the youth to do better than we have.
    Good also to know that the local community felt involved and that he was a nice guy.
    Hopefully someone will accept the invitation to change and push back against what our generation has allowed to become the norm of ignoring and worsening climate change.
    I liked, on one of the recent science marches, someone had a placard saying” Every disaster movie ever starts with someone ignoring a scientist.”

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