Posted by: jeanne | February 9, 2015

another try at the pigment store

it being monday, both jim and i awoke with thoughts of the pigment store on calle della botteghe, which was closed for maintenance last week.  so we got up, got dressed, got breakfast, and got on the boat with connor and the stroller.  the street we’re looking for is very close to the accademia stop, but that would mean taking the stroller up the big-assed wooden bridge over the grand canal.  being in a little elbow of the river, it’s also close to every other stop between san marco and rialto, so we got off at san marco and decided to brave the crowds in hopes of a few photo opportunities with masked and costumed poseurs (people who pose, not fake humans).


today there was no acqua alta, so we wore actual shoes, rather than water boots.  there’s not forecasted to be any high water for the next while, as the moon wanes and the skies remain clear and not windy.  which is kind of a relief, because now we don’t have to worry about what routes to take thru the city.


in san marco were thousands of tourists, but since it was bright and sunny and the festivities were paused during the week, we didn’t feel pressured to leave the square immediately, and instead strolled around looking at the people.  connor stayed in the stroller, quite happy to look.  he’s our only real concern, since if he decided to wander off, only the note in his coat with my phone number on it would save him from sure capture by pirates.

we ran into a few costumed people, posing with tourists, rather than for them, and so while jim manned the stroller, i ran around with the camera and took pictures of people taking pictures of the costumed human mannequins.  we’re not actually looking for posed figures of the 18th century, because they’re readily available on the internet (search for 2015 carnevale venice).  we are more interested in the candid shots of costumed figures that we can paint.  and i’m more interested in costumed figures doing incongruous and undecorous things, like consulting a cellphone or walking among the uncostumed, or taking pictures of their own.


i needed to consult the map app today, if only because i had jim and connor to shepherd.  so navigated them thru the shopping street created by chopping off the fronts of a bunch of buildings and widening the street (calle larga 22 marzo), which was then colonized by the hoity toitiest shops you can imagine.  we wandered thru a bunch of campos, past a bunch of churches, and down a bunch of picturesque alleyways, and finally we came to campo san stefano, and the little street with the pigment shop.

which was still closed, and this time the notice was re-marked with a date still 2 days ahead of us.  at this point our errand was at an end, and i asked jim if he wanted to return home.  to which he replied, ‘absolutely not. i’m having fun,’ and marched off to get a photo of an old crumbling building.


so we wandered roughly north in the direction of rialto.  down one alley we found this really charming little courtyard, with an old guy using a chisel and mallet to knock off chips from a stone he had sitting in the sun in his doorway.  we never figured out if he was a sculptor or just was trying to make the stone fit in some wall.


there was a very strong smell of baked goods there, which was probably a bakery hidden away in the alleys, from which people with plastic trays balanced on their heads would emerge, heading to the various pastry shops nearby.  i had already passed one of these on an earlier wander, so that’s what i figured this was, because the smell was so overpowering.  hungry now, and with connor beginning to whine about how cold he was, we decided to get hot chocolate at rialto, and moved on.

right past this way cool ancient palazzo, the face to the little canal we had just crossed all dirty and dingy with age.


when we got around to the other side – the thing took up a whole block – we discovered that it was palazzo fortuny, the home of the fortuny museum (fortuny was a famous clothing designer back in the 20th).


a photographer noticing our interest stopped and told us to go down the alley to the grand canal, where the rialto bridge was in full sunlight.


we didn’t go fast enough, because there was a shadow on the bridge by the time we got thru photographing the palazzo, but we were happy to be at the end of the traghetto dock (where i made connor sit down so as not to fall in while i was looking thru the lens), and equally happy to leave and get out of the wind again.

IMG_4773 we stopped taking pictures when he decided to lie down…

while we were wending our way thru the streets, an old lady came by and smiled indulgently at connor (they all do that, but then they do that to all small children here), but this one stopped and talked to him in an italian i couldn’t follow at all (possibly veneto dialect) and he squirmed out of the carriage and ran after her.  they played a game for several turns of the street, she stopping and turning around to make a pose at him, and he stopping in the street in his superhero pose – legs spread in a fighting stance, arms akimbo, yelling – and they went on this way until she turned one way and we turned another way.

it was about this time that we found a supermercato and went in to see what was available.  brown rice and fresh blueberries, as it turned out, which went into the bottom of the stroller.  and then another building attracted our attention, and another bridge required connor get out and cross by himself, and we were off again, wandering.

eventually we hit the tourist traffic, which is always pretty brutal, and he had to get back into the stroller.  and get right back out when we came to campo san bartolomeo and the beginning of the climb up rialto bridge and down to the market.  i stopped and got oranges and bananas from a vendor (there aren’t all that many vendors on monday, and no fish sellers at all).


then i showed jim the courtyard behind the market, which is way cool, and we found a nice little pastry shop only three stores from the peanut butter shop (they are now out of peanut butter; someone bought the last jar).  we stopped at the pastry shop, ordered two hot chocolates for jim and connor, and a caffe latte for me, and then three fritelle con crema, which we ate – standing up – for exactly half of what it cost us the day before.


while we were there, a bunch of locals – vendors in teh market was my guess – stopped in for their coffees, and several of them came up to connor, who was drinking chocolate out of the saucer (it cools faster that way), and the only thing i could understand that one of the guys said was that he had good grandparents (nonni).  we smiled and nodded thanks, but he really wasn’t interested in us, but was focused entirely on connor, who is always charming.  he said ciao in his southern accent, adn they loved that.


after that, there was nothing to do but go home, and while waiting for the vaporetto at rialto mercato he made a friend, a little chinese girl shepherded by her grandmother (who was less well behaved than connor, miracle of miracles).   i got my last chance to photograph incongruous costumed figures when these two got on, headed for san marco.  half the vaporetto passengers asked if they could take photos.


after that, it was lunch at home, and a nap for me, tho jim painted and connor played his game (thanks nanna, it’s a real life saver, that game)


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