There was at least one more museum, that we stumbled upon our first day. It was a collection of old musical instruments, displayed in an old decommissioned (if that is the proper word) church. And that is all the museums I can recall at this moment, although I feel like I may have neglected to recall one or a couple.
This doesn’t count the Doge’s Palace, or the Basicila of San Marco, or any of the other churches we went into. There are an enormous number of churches, every couple of blocks I would say. I don’t know how many of them are still used, regularly or at all, for either services or other events, like concerts. WE did stop into several when we noticed the doors were open as we were walking by. One was the second church the Pope had visited, beside St. Mark’s, and where we had seen them making preparations before his visit, and then dismantling them afterwards. That was Santa Maria della Salute. Apparently, this church had been built as thanks for surviving the plague. There were Titians and Tintorettos there, but unfortunately I didn’t read the guidebook until afterwards! We were too busy looking at the beautiful marble mosaic floors and also watching them haul back into the church all the benches they had taken out for the Pope’s visit.
Our last night, we decided to take a boat ride around much of the city, and up the Grand Canal, courtesy of our boat passes. We certainly weren’t the only folks doing that. There were tourists of all ages and speaking quite a few different languages, but also as many locals who I assume were just on their way home or visiting. I can’t decide if the canal is more beautiful by day or by night. One interesting thing to observe at night, in our own neighborhood as well as on the Grand Canal, is how many buildings are unlit at night. We know that many places are owned by foreigners who are there sporadically and/or rent them out at times. We also heard that many buildings are abandoned because it is too expensive to renovate them or restore them. But who owns all of these places? Or do they revert to the city at some point?
There are so many things I still want to know about Venice. And despite the nine days and saturation of museums, monuments, etc. places we didn’t have a chance to see and/or would love to visit again.
Well, it is definitely time to wrap up this Venetian chronicle. I have lingered over it, knowing there is more I want to say. But we have been home over a week now. I am still reading the next to last of my Venice related reading, a book called Venetian Stories. I know I have mentioned it here before. Then, there is still one more Brunetti detective novel on the Kindle. I will certainly read it, not sure if directly after the current book or not. I think I may actually enjoyed the Brunetti as much as any of the other Venice novels. A funny anecdote: when we were waiting in St. Mark’s Square for the Pope, Loring was reading the Brunetti book, the only paper book either of us had with us on the trip. A photographer happened by, and took a pic of Loring reading the book, chuckling and saying he noticed the title: Murder at the Fenice( the famous Venice Opera House) So maybe there’s a photo out there of Loring reading and awaiting the Pope.
A few last impressions:
Gondola shape pasta in a food store. Now we just have to find the right occasion to cook it. It’s multicolored, red colored by tomatoes, green by spinach, and black, from squid ink.
The Pope riding around St. Marco’s in a golf cart after his speech , or something that looked like one. I keep meaning to look up whether whatever vehicle the Pope is in is the Popemobile, like Air Force One. If it is, then would the gondola he rode in also be the Popemobile? The Popedola?
The variety of boats – gondolas, of course. Water taxis. The vaporetti, or water busses. Ambulance boats, police boats, fire boats, supermarket delivery boats, private motorboats tied up in front of houses, including our own little canal. Boaters navigating past each other amazingly through narrow canals.
Streets so narrow that people passing each other have to turn sideways. Workers wheeling all kinds of materials down those passageways in two wheel carts.
Venetian blinds: I had wondered at various times in the past where the name derived from. (Well, obviously from Venice, but why?) While we were there, I looked online and found surprisingly little info. A Wikepedia entry, of course, with lots of info but nothing about the name. And a site by a “Venetian blind specialist” ie a blind company, which indicated that the origin wasn’t known. Then, in one of our last days there, we went to a Museum that had a beautiful 19th century gondola in its lobby (actually, piano nobile, the immense front to back first floor of palaces, which this had been). I had read in one of my novels references to how in past centuries the gondolas had a small enclosed area in the center, called a felze, for privacy and/or protection from the weather The gondola in the museum had, sure enough, a felze, with Venetian blinds around the sides. The Wike entry for gondolas, which I later looked up, does indicate that the name comes from the gondola’s felze.. Once I started looking, I did see blinds in numerous windows, in Venice and also in Murano.
And lastly, a continuation of my quest for Canaletto:
While in Venice, I read online that there had been a Canaletto exhibit in London, which closed in January. What I didn’t realize until we got home is that the exhibit is now in Washington DC, the only other place it is going. But only through this weekend! So, guess what we are now considering? Yes, a weekend trip to DC. Weather permitting, Loring will fly us down there on Saturday. And weather not permitting, we may go by commercial flight. A bit crazy. All the way to Italy, to come back home and then find Canaletto in the US.
I’ll sign off now. Not sure when I will write again. This blog began as a way to share my experience volunteering in Ukraine at the cemetery where my greatgrandparents are buried, a few years ago, with friends and family, rather than the emails I used to write. Then I backtracked to document some of my other volunteer experiences.
I would have written about our family + 2 trip to Jamaica last year, but we had no internet access. Perhaps I’ll go back and write about that. If we do go to Washington next week, I’ll take my handy dandy little netbook and write from there. (about Canaletto!!) Or maybe I’ll expand beyond travels, who knows. Stay tuned.