Venice has always had celebrity pulling power and these wonderfully nostalgic black and white photographs, dating from the 1940s through to the 1970s, show some of the world’s most beautiful people enjoying arguably the world’s most beautiful city.
Venice played host to the very first international film festival and long attracted the rich and famous to sample its renowned waterways, from Hollywood actors to acclaimed artists. As you will see below, some of the greats, like Salvador Dali or Mick and Bianca Jagger, enjoyed a relaxing gondola ride, while American actress Gene Tierney tried having a punt herself.
Thanks to the Mail Online for digging up these gorgeous shots.
British actress Claire Bloom and her husband American actor Rod Steiger hiding under an umbrella. They were in Venice for the film festival in September 1963
The sandy beaches of the French Riviera might be the obvious choice for celebrity spotting today but these vintage photographs show that the waterways of Venice were once the go-to spot for holidaying stars.
While George and Amal Clooney are names still drawn to the romantic city, these images, dating from the 1940s to the 1970s, reveal that everyone from Gary Cooper to Salvador Dali has fallen in love with the dreamy destination at some point.
Actors including Sue Lyon and Anthony Quinn are pictured enjoying a relaxing ride on a gondola while action man Sean Connery tries his hand at driving his own boat.
For Spartacus legend Kirk Douglas, it was all about enjoying the beach and socialising with stylish locals, while others, such as Elizabeth Taylor and her then husband Eddie Fisher, preferred to retreat to Burano island and are captured enjoying a candid moment by the lagoon.
It comes as no surprise then, that the Italian city was the host of the world’s first film festival in 1932 and it was the place to be seen.
Even today, more than 80 years since the first Venice Film Festival, the coastal city remains dazzling and popular.
Rock star appeal: British singer Mick Jagger sits next to Bianca Jagger in a gondola, with the gondolier behind them in Venice in 1971
Legendary American actor Paul Newman, wearing a tuxedo and a bow tie during a trip on a water taxi with St. Mark Square in the background, Venice 1963
Spanish artist Salvador Dali pulls a dramatic pose on a gondola while the gondolier rows on behind him
Glamorous riviera: American actor Kirk Douglas, wearing just a swimming suit, signing the thigh of the painter Novella Parigini while another woman looks on at Lido Beach in 1953
Taken around 1960, Elizabeth Taylor and her then husband, singer Eddie Fisher, on holiday on Burano Island in the lagoon at Venice
French actress Brigitte Bardot with her partner, the french jazz guitarist Sasha Distel, in 1958. The extravagant star is surrounded by men in tuxedos
American actor Sue Lyon, known for playing Lolita, is pictured wearing a strapless, striped bikini and reclining on a gondola in 1962
American actor Gary Cooper, pictured in 1955, wears a blazer and a tie as he enjoys his gondola ride in St Mark’s Basin
Taken in 1951, American actor Gene Tierney, wearing a striped short-sleeved nautical-style shirt, lounges on a gondola boat
Later, donning a hat, Gene Tierney tries her hand at rowing a gondola. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance as Ellen Berent Harland in Leave Her to Heaven
Shaken not stirred: A dishevelled Sean Connery rides a water taxi with the wind is his hair, overlooking the Venetian lagoon in the 1970s
American actor Warren Beatty pictured outside the Excelsior Hotel in 1965. The hotel was also where the first film festival was hosted
French actor Cathrine Deneuve on the set of the movie ‘Mayerling’, wearing a coat and and a beret. She holds a paintbrush in her mouth while photographers snaps away in March 1968
Mexican actor Anthony Quinn wearing a plaid blazer, with the actress Barbara Steele, sitting in a water taxi on the Canal Grande in 1958