Posted by: jeanne | March 1, 2015

two, two, two days in one

because i hate having to catch up, i’m going to tell you about yesterday as well as today.

yesterday we took a trip thru the old jewish ghetto.  it’s actually the first ghetto, because way back in  1516, when countries were expelling the very people who made them rich, they decided (practical venetians) to simply segregate them instead.  so they took a small island that had a foundry on it (gheto means slag, the biproduct of iron production), and one bridge, and made all the jews move there.


it’s a small island, and it’s mainly campo, ringed by taller than usual houses.  in its heyday, there were 4800 people crammed into it, and the gates were locked every night, altho evidently you could pay the guard to let you thru off-hours.  the idea didn’t last all that long (???), but when ghettos were revisited in the 19th century, they used this as a model.

when we were there, it was full of jewish kids with skullcaps, playing as loudly as kids ever do, climbing up onto the well heads, throwing rocks at the pigeons, chasing each other.  connor was very happy to join in.

the walls are adorned with documentary brass reliefs of what happened in the concentration camp.  it reminds me of the sculptures i’ve seen in ireland commemorating the famine, but way more gruesome, and made to be something you would never forget, which is the entire purpose of them.


on previous trips thru cannaregio we had skirted around the ghetto, inadvertantly, so we made a point of going there yesterday, and after that we realized we were not far from the church of madonna del orto, where tintoretto has a lot of work, and also the campo dei mori, where he lived.  the campo was quiet, and there’s no sign of tintoretto save a wall plaque, but it has several cool statues of moors.


the church wouldn’t let us in without paying, even tho we have residents’ transport passes, and are supposed to be able to get in for free.  it’s not the first time we’ve been turned away, and it’s irritating.


i tried to find a grocery, but it was closed, so happened upon a bar and ordered several sandwiches.  after conducting my business in italian, the woman asked if i was on vacation, and i told her we were here for three months, and she approved of that, and then asked where we were from, and the moment i said atlanta, she broke into excellent english, said she’d lived for 8 years in london, was offered a job and a green card to go to the states, and declined it because she preferred europe.  i agreed with her, and we left on very friendly terms.

IMG_6043 airing the quilt out the window

SONY DSC the plaque to the right is of a camel

the boys ate the sandwiches, tho connor wanted jim’s and jim didn’t want connor’s, so there was a bit of a tussle there.

IMG_6125 connor likes to play near the water

fortunately neither of them wanted mine, so i got to eat it all.

SONY DSC connor’s new friend, even younger than he is.  they stayed like that for awhile

and then we caught the vaporetto for home.

IMG_6184 the staging ground for all the trash in venice is fascinating.  here – old washing machines

but i got off at piazzale roma and went into a much larger coop grocery to get things for the fridge, and the boys continued on the vaporetto.

IMG_6223 this is how the boys wear their hair here.  short back and sides doesn’t do it justice

when i got home with a stroller load of groceries (including charcoal, which we’d been trying to find, because we have a grill out back), they were just suiting up to go out to the swings, where connor had a ball with all the kids, because it was saturday, and they come from all over venice to play in our playground.

i sat out back with a guinness and talked to my sister on facetime until they got home and connor monopolized the conversation.

this morning i was so tired that i declared i wasn’t going to go back out, and decided to send jim out by himself, because it’s the first of the month, and the ca’ d’oro and palazzo grimani are free.  but they’ve extended the hiroshige exhibit, and i just love japanese prints, so we all went out, one more time.

SONY DSC one of the thousand views of mt fuji

SONY DSC one of the hundred views to hokkaido

we had to walk in from san zaccaria, which is no trouble, even when you’ve been that way before.


lovely old doors and bridges everywhere you look.  just saying.

SONY DSC many of the beggars are from eastern europe. this one is italian, so we gave him money

when we got to campo santa maria formosa, i realized i was around the corner from the place they’d mentioned when i asked the folks at the store where i could get lighter fluid (not in venice, they’d cried, and then told me to check the hardware store, which in fact i’d been in looking to get a spare key several weeks ago).

SONY DSC what they got up to while i was off shopping

i went there, they were open, and after much pantomiming and wrong answers, they finally produced a bag of charcoal from the storeroom.  but when i said, no the liquid, they directed me to exactly what i wanted, adn so now we have everything we need to use the grill out back.

IMG_6248 look at the way they used to swaddle babies – with winding cloths – how odd

SONY DSC one of the only pictures of me you’re going to see here

we found a bookstore, also a cheap rental agency (800 euros a month cheap), and so we went into the bookstore, because they’re hard to resist.  i need to go back to it when kay comes to visit, because she used to be an antiquarian book dealer herself.

it has all these boats and bathtubs filled with books, and a water door that obviously gets flooded from time to time, and also these cool courtyards with glued-together books outside, and many cats.


the proprietor and connor got along really well, too.

it’s got a collection of erotica, too.  just dig the fashion accessory.


and of course connor wanted to climb the bookstairs.  and i said no,


so he pitched a fit, because he’s been climbing as long as he’s been walking, and is an expert.



and so on to palazzo grimani, which has a large courtyard with nothing in it.


connor really wasn’t in the mood to visit another museum where he had to be quiet, but he did duck into all the chimney niches and pose for photos.


palazzo grimani isn’t as grand as ca’ d’oro, and it isn’t on the grand canal, but the interiors are sumptuous.  the stairs,


the walls,


the ceilings,


the floors.  the fireplaces.

SONY DSC note the carved spine, and the gaping maw of some animal above it

and it’s got a large courtyard.  but it doesn’t have much in they way of art, except for this wonderful statue, which evidently – so jim tells me – was found in pieces in an excavation involving michealangelo, who is responsible for its rehabilitation.


when we were finished there – mainly because connor had had enough and was acting up, telling us repeatedly that he had to pee and then not being able to when jim took him to the boys’ room – we went off in search of another coop grocery, and i got some sliced meat, some soft cheese, and some short bagettes, with some juice, and we wheeled a complaining connor to a sunny spot in a nearby campo and parked while i used my handy dandy leatherman knife to cut the bread adn cheese and make sandwiches.

after that, we made our way thru increasingly crowded streets to the strada nova, and then up to the ca’ d’oro and its eponymous vaporetto stop, and connor and i went home while jim went back to take more photos of the courtyard, for more paintings, adn to stand in front of the van eyck and the titian, which he tells me has apparently had a strip of canvas added and worked over.

SONY DSC jim and me in a tender moment hundreds of years ago

connor and i stopped at the coop grocery on via garibaldi for something to grill, and found some pork chops, so tomorrow we’ll probably try not to burn the house down when we fix our barbeque.

but today, after getting home, i rested, sitting outside with my guinness (it’s getting to be in the mid 50s here in the afternoons), while he ate his kinder egg and played with his new tiny toy bicycle.  and then we went back out to the swings, where there was a birthday party in progress, and two or three dozen kids, including some we’d seen on the vaporetto.

jim was there, having just walked up and felt certain we must be out there, and then saw us coming out the front door of the house.  so we sat and talked, and connor played like a wildman, especially once he’d found the kids he’d been interacting with on the vaporetto, adn when we were tired, we had to pick him up kicking and screaming and carry him all the way back and dump him in a bath.

then a very early dinner, and we’re just waiting for him to tire before going to bed ourselves.

the days seem very short, but already the sun is setting at 6 pm.  in three weeks it’s solstice – 12 hours of sun a day – and we’ll be even more tired, because even with the short seeming days, we’re exhausted every night.

on another note, does anybody know where i can get 100g of cloud storage for free?  i’ve done run out of space on my computer, because i have about 20,000 photos, most of them taken since the middle of january.  all comments appreciated.


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