Posted by: jeanne | April 9, 2015

our last week in venice part 1

so it was down to the wire.  francis left on tuesday.  that gave us wednesday, thursday, friday, saturday, and sunday.  i can’t put it all on one blog post, so i’m going to split it.  bear with me; we’re almost home.

wednesday we tried to catch up.  that was the day we went back to scuola san giorgio of the carpaccios, and jim went inside to do the 5 euro tour, while connor and i waited outside, and only on salazzida san antonin.  except that we ducked into a few shops (t-shirts, a sigh at banco lotto no.10, a stop for ice cream), and then went back to wait at the doors of the scuola.  and this was just as jim was ducking into a nice watercolor and drawing gallery on the street.  and so he missed us, and walked all around – not getting lost, and returning to the right spot – until he finally found us.

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connor got to do some practice spiderman walking.  the passersby were amused until he started pretend falling, which alarmed them, so he had to stop.

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there was this great bronze door on the salizzada, all square panels of some kind of plant, except for the view hatch, which is shaped like an eye.  i just love this street.

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there was this charming carving on the street right next to the door, with slots above for apartment bells that had long been carved out.

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it was such a nice day that we didn’t think of stopping at the arsenale bar to have hot chocolate.  but connor still insisted on posing with the lion.  this particular lion has 10th century viking runes carved into it, from when it was in its original home before it was looted, and some teenager decided to leave some graffiti.

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even the plants growing on the walls of the arsenale were in bloom; in this case, purple flowers.

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and the laundry was out behind via garibaldi.  we nearly bumped into some loveable tourists taking pictures of it, after i got the better angle and a less dimly lit shot than they did.

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comfrey growing in viale garibaldi, finally blooming so i could positively identify it.  it’s got purple flowers coming off a spiral stalk here in the states, but in europe this is what it looks like.

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and best of all, the wisteria had begun to bloom on the paradiso bar in giardini, which is sometimes a little crowded near lunchtime. we’re going home just at beginning of the most touristful time of year, and sometimes it seems a shame.  for a minute.

thursday we made our last visit to the folks at the venice printmaking studio, because we are going to try to interest printmakers back in the states in them, and needed pictures of the studio in action.  we agreed to meet them at 10, but at 10:15 we were still ambling down the streets, stopping to take pictures.

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we went thru the ospedale again, and found a different path, with different beautiful things to take pictures of, like this peaceful courtyard that connor wanted to go screaming thru because it had wonderful accoustics.  no, connor, you can’t have any fun here, it’s a hospital.  what kid could understand that?

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a particularly enhanced well head in this courtyard.  still haven’t found out much about the history of the ospedale, except in italian.

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we finally bumped into the chapel, and it was amazingly ornate, with full relief carvings and great paintings.  even connor enjoyed messing with the guard, or attendant.

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then we were back out on the canal and i was taken by the stair step rooftops of the street behind the canal.

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and we passed a nice squero, or boatyard, where the two long boats to the left, and maybe the one to the right were probably made, and most likely stored.  you can tell it’s a boatyard because the courtyard slants down to the water.

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this is calle della testa – see the head on the wall to the left – where the headsmen used to live, back in the day when they’d execute you for crimes against the state.  i read about it in someone else’s blog.

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and this is the palazzo grifalconi loredan, right across the street from the campo.  the door was opened to let someone out, and the guy put his finger to his lips when he saw my wide eyed gawp of wonder, and saw me reach for my camera in reflexive motion, and i waltzed in and took half a dozen shots in about three seconds.  i want to live there.

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mind you, this was all on the way to see the folks at the venice printmaking studio, to take photos of the operations.  our new friend michael rich was there, making prints, so i got to photograph most of everything that goes on.  we missed the etching process, the cutting process, and the third overprint, but were there on a busy day, so got lots of good action.

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a bunch of artists don’t tend to get any work done if they’re talking about art.  that’s stefan on the left, and caroline, who are the main denizens of the studio, with jim and michael rich.  connor’s probably riding the scooter around the place.

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finally michael went to work, and i got him rolling his block with printer’s ink.

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then he laid it on the table, put a clean sheet of paper over it, slapped a few cloths down, and then let connor help him roll it flat.

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which produced the print you see in michael’s hand.

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we admired his preliminary sketches also, and he told us how he arrived at his images, and what he was trying to accomplish.  i got a hundred photos, and gave a copy of them to stefan.

after that, we wandered all the way to san marco, by the back roads, trying to take them to places we hadn’t seen before.  i was only partially successful, as we’ve been all over this part of venice already.  and it’s so strange to come upon a place you know where is, only to find it’s exactly next to some other place you’ve had to go out of your way to find.

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this time we were a little to the west of ss giovanni e paolo, cutting south toward the lagoon.  nice palazzi.

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what knockers (oh thank you doctor).

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it was a low tide.  notice how each step down (to the left) is different.  that’s because of the amount of time it usually spends under water.  the bottom ones are covered with mud and seaweed.

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i loved this great water door, opening onto a narrow street.  this is an extreme low tide.  i almost prefer it to acqua alta for the intersting things it exposes.

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we wandered, and then came upon a nice campo filled with people in the sun.

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this area is quite complex geographically, with several bridges and several great views.  some famous houses, as well.

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it has several bridges next to each other, so you can wander for the best view.  this great marble church is called the miracles.  it’s one of the only free standing churches in venice, and the marble was supposedly left over from building san marco.  it’s actually more spectacular inside, but i couldn’t get a photo for some reason, tho i remember ducking in to see.  i think connor was beginning to act up or something.  i know he found a beer bottle on the steps of the church, and i stopped him right before he threw it to the ground and broke it.

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there was this funny door around the side of the church; jim only noticed the handbills pasted to the door, and didn’t notice the top of it.

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more beautiful vistas down tiny little canals.

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if you look you can see an old nun tending the garden, which is raised about ten feet off the surface of the street.

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jim liked the arch at the top of the buildings.  the bar below was having a contest when we passed it a few days before – for the guinness book of records.  i only remember because it said guinness, but didn’t sell any.  they wanted a thousand visitors in one day, and had a sign out front.  there was also a band playing that same day, in the campo.  accordion and drums and some stringed instrument, and a bunch of vagabond-dressed street musicians.  connor loved it.

finally we arrived at san marco, where i left the boys to go on home by themselves, and went up the campanile to take that complete set of shots.

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the campanile.  pretty elaborate for an entrance porch.

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this one looks north.  you can just see the beginning of the causeway to the mainland at the top left of the photo.  it’s basically the way we’d come that day.

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looking down at the cafes on the piazza.  oh how orderly.  you couldn’t hear the crowds, or the competing orchestras, from the campanile, which was 60 meters high.  you could hear the wind, and the tourists there in the bell tower.  oh yeah, and the bells.

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this shot looks over the domes of san marco toward the northeast, almost to the arsenale.

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and this view looked out over the doge’s palace to the lagoon, with the vaporettos and the curve of castello, all the way down to where our house was, with the island of lido in the background.

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and this is the doge’s palace, one of the two (three) columns of san marco (the third is in the water just beyond the edge of the riva), the gondolas waiting for passengers, and antlike tourists.

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this’d be the beginning (or end) of the grand canal, going between the sestiere of san marco and dorsoduro.  that’s punta della dogana there at the point, and the salute church to the right, with the island of giudecca in the background.

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they looked like ants from the campanile.

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but from the bottom of the tour they look like tourists.

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and selfie stick dealers.

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and tourists dressed in their touristy best, doing what tourists do.

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which is generally to hang out in line, sit and eat, take up space, and not spend nearly enough money to make their presence worth it.

while i was there, i went over to the entrance to the doge’s palace.  i wasn’t going to go in, because tickets are 17 euro apiece, but the door was open, so i waltzed in and started taking pictures like i belonged there, not listening to the ‘signora’ calls from behind me.  i’m so bad.

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rich, elaborate, can we say rococco or baroque?  fabulous, really.  everywhere you looked.

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giant statues, modestly dressed.  too bad, too.

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even the damned stair risers were decorated.

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and i couldn’t actually get to this courtyard, but i could take a picture of the wellhead.

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below the marble were these wonderful little statues installed incongruously in the corner of the wall.  they’re maybe the most charming thing about the square, but of course this mom didn’t have time to even notice where they were sitting.

back outside on the piazzetta, i really liked these inset carved pieces, put in apparently at random because they looked good.

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the homeless woman (who was rather well dressed for homeless, so maybe not) got her rounds of the piazza trashcans done right before the trash guys came around to change all the trash bags inside the containers.  it’s a virtue.

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above her head were these wonderful capitals.  every column had a different themed decoration, and some of them were quite wonderful.  some were sad commentaries, some were scary lessons to ponder, some were portraits, some animals, some told stories as i walked around them.

but i was tired, and had about 30 shots left on my camera, so i went home, and will tell the rest of the story later on.

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