Exotic places; Islands and Lagoons of Venice, by Fulvio Roiter and Peter Lauritzen. New York: The Vendome Press. $50.
If anybody doubts whether Venice still deserves the name "la Serenissima" (the most serene city), which its proud citizens gave it at the zenith of its power, the lovely pictures in this book will lay them to rest. True, this volume concentrates on the islands in the lagoon, not the city itself: it is a sequel to Fulvio Roiter's earlier collection of photographs of the city, published in 1979. But as any appreciative visitor knows, it is the quiet of the islands in the lagoon and the reflections in its waters that best preserve the serenity of the past.
This is what is captured in this latest publication, with accompanying text by Peter Lauritzen. Here are Murano and its glass, Burano and its lace, the Byzantine mosaics of the cathedral on less visited Torcello, and the lonely eeriness of the necropolis on San Michele. But there is much more, there are people -- the people of these places, not the visitors.
For integrity's sake, if he was to cover the whole lagoon, Roite obviously hd to include the Lido. But somehow, the 20th-century modernity and luxury imposed on it, though tastefully photographed, still jar.