Arrivederci, Italy

Italy 2012, continued — final post

Arrivederci means “until we see each other again,” and that finality lingered around us when we woke up early that morning.  No high water siren last night, and we wanted one last walk in Venice before braving the airplane trip home later in the day.

Venice bridge foggy It was foggy this morning, too early for the boatloads of tourists.  We’ve learned that secret over the years, that the tourists don’t get up much before ten and disappear after dinner, so that you have the run of a town during the night and morning hours.

Bird with Umbrella Sign

I think I must have some thirty pictures of this serpent with the umbrella heads; it’s fascinating every time I see it.  At night, the umbrellas light up.

Foggy delivery

Rialto foggy

Rialto Bridge.

Rialto foggy 2

Rialto Bridge with vaparetto.  The vaparetto has a large number of people on it–I guess working Venice is up and around, just not the shop owners.

Venice bas relief wall

Venice Alitalia

Heading into San Marco square.  It’s amazing how quickly we could get there with no one out on the streets.  We have one tiny wrinkle in the day’s plans: we have to buy a separate ticket for our vaparetto to the airport, as it’s run by a different company.  This was discovered last night, too late to do anything about it, so we figure we’ll walk until 9:00 a.m., head over to the ticket agency, rush back to the hotel and hopefully make the right boat to the airport.

San Marco tourists foggy

Some tourists have arrived, standing on the high water walkways in San Marco square.  The fog makes this place seem other-worldly, mysterious.

San Marco in fog

San Marco flagpoles foggy

San Marco docks in fog

San Marco in fog sweeper

gondola in fog1

gondolas in fog 2

gondolas in fog 3

 I looked past the gondolas, to the vaparetto stop, and poked Dave–“Hey! I think I see the ticket agency.”  “It won’t be open.” “Let’s try it anyway.”  Lo and behold, an outlier: there was one ticket window and it was open and we were able to buy the tickets.  Big Relief.  Traveling is just so many moving parts.

San Marco arch

We walk back up through San Marco.

Venice canal foggy1

Venice street sweeper

Venice Louis Vuitton

Venice Lion bas relief

Hoping it is faster, we jump onto the vaparetto at Accademia, and enjoy one more ride up the canal. The fog is beginning to break, and we look for Dave’s favorite building.

Venice Traghetto

Venice grand canal foggy3

There are several cross-canal routes, done standing up on a traghetto.

Venice grand canal red building

We see the “red” building from last night, and a boat appears to be loading giant loud speakers, or some sort of musical equipment.

Venice grand canal red building sign

Now you know as much as I do.

Venice grand canal foggy1

Venice grand canal foggy2

Venice DAE Fav Building

A foggy shot of Dave’s favorite building, with the golden mosaics on the front.

DAE fav building

Our stop at Ca’D’Or comes up and we’re off.

Ca D'or building

It’s named for this building, which used to be ornate, apparently.

Ca D'or corner

Ca D'or window

From here, we walk to our hotel, eat one more of those perfect breakfasts, gather our things and head towards the Fond. Nuvo stop, where we caught the vaparetto to Burano yesterday.  This morning, though, we join a crowd waiting for the airport water bus.  Suitcases get thrown (and I mean, thrown) in the front and passengers go down three steps to sit in the belly of the waterbus.  We had the usual chaos at the Venice airport (the usual Italian bureaucracy has prevented the airport from expanding, and there are signs posted everywhere to let you know), then a flight to Frankfurt, then to Dulles, Washington, then LAX.  We arrive back to our home around 3 a.m., and even though we both were able to snag rows of seats on the Dulles to LAX leg, and sort of stretch out for some sleep, we are tired.

I could put the usual pithy quote about travel in Italy here, but  will spare you.  We do have the desire to go to Italy again, but next time, we’ll try to avoid All Saints Weekend, rainy weather, bad pillows (the only flaw in the Venice hotel), and remember to always bring the granola bars.

Arrivederci!

Burano, of Many Colors

 Italy 2012, continued

Murano and Burano Map

We leave from the Fondamente Nova vaparetto stop, which is on the backside of the main islands, and head straight out past Venice’s cemetery, on an island all its own.  First stop is Murano (glass making) with our final destination for the day Burano (lace making).

Cemetario wall

We join the throngs of other tourists, load up (we race to the back to get an outdoor seat) and head out past the cemetery, on its own island.

ESE DAE trip

We’d first been to Burano in 2009, when on a tour with our friends to Murano, then Burano.  But the tour guide was in cahoots with the glass-making people and we spent an inordinate amount of time captive in the glass maker’s shop, and only 20 minutes on Burano.  We wanted to reverse that today.

Ferrying supplies to Venice

Deliveries–everything’s by boat.

Murano fornace1

We approach Murano and its “furnaces,” or fornaio.  Each building is a different glass maker.  Murano also is a series of islands like Venice , albeit a smaller cluster.

Murano vaparetto

We are going on to Burano, a fishing village, or so the story goes.  They also make lace here, a dying art, as it’s time-intensive and the best kind is done by hand.  We land in Burano, and everyone gets off the boat.  Most head straight ahead, but at our first opportunity, we take a left, away from the crowds.  When we were here before, we were captivated by the colorful houses–technicolor, brilliantly painted houses.  The tour guide that time told us that it was a way for the fishermen to find their way back home in the fog, since there has been fishing there since the 6th century.  But now Wikipedia notes that “the colours of the houses follow a specific system originating from the golden age of its development; if someone wishes to paint their home, one must send a request to the government, who will respond by making notice of the certain colours permitted for that lot.”

Whatever the original reason, the houses are like being in another world.  This post is mostly just pictures of these houses, as there’s really nothing I know about them. I could tell you someone famous lives here or there (and they probably do), but if I’d known that would it have changed how we interacted with this amazing colorful island?  I think not.  So, scroll, quickly or slowly, and enjoy the houses of Burano.

Burano 1

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Now, doesn’t it make you want to head to Home Depot and repaint your house?  We were saved from that urge by the fact that we’d done it last year.  Around every corner was a new sight, a new color.  We saw the young man on his scooter, and Dave helped two lost Asian tourists who were trying to find their way to the vaparetto.  We wanted to get lost, so were relieved not to see crowds.

Burano Acqua Alta barriers

The acqua alta barriers (flooding of high water) on their doorways were really high, and we found the one below pretty interesting, marking the years the aqua alta was highest.

Burano acqua alta markings

The fact that we’d arrived during “siesta” probably accounted for the deserted streets, as we could hear the sounds of dishes and people talking inside their houses, but no one was around.

Burano canal 1

We turned right and here seemed to be a main canal.  The reflections of the houses on the water captivated us; please enjoy endure the following similar photos as I couldn’t choose just one.

Burano canal 2

Burano canal 3

Burano canal 4

Burano canal 5

 

Burano arch

Burano DAE ESE

A young couple walked by and we snagged them for our Christmas card photo.  Believe me, I was dying to digitally erase those white dots, but I restrained myself.  If I had really thought I would put this on our Christmas card, I might have put on some lipstick or something. Dave always looks good.

Burano lacemaker 1

We cross over the bridge and down the other side is a woman who is working on making lace by hand.  I’m sure this piece will sell for thousands in the shops.  We avoided the shops because, after reading Brunetti, we’ve learned that most of the lace goods come from Asia.  I would have loved to have taken a completed piece of real Burano lace home with me, but I’ll have to be content with this photo.

Burano lacemaker 2

Burano lacemaker 3

Burano washing lines

What I loved about this photo was the way the washing lines were propped up mid-square with two sticks.

Dave in Burano

The fabulous Dave.

Shrine 11

shrine 12

I think this shrine on Burano was one of my favorites: the blue wall, the tiled Saint Fatima, the white flowers in the green box.  Perfect.

shrine 13

I also liked this one–these colors were magnificent.  We were really glad it was a bright sunny day, for although we got shots of people’s laundry (including those black undies near the fuse box in the photos above), the sun lit up the houses like they were illuminated from within.

shrine 14

It was now late afternoon, and the Tourist Crankies were setting in because we hadn’t eaten since breakfast and regretfully forgotten our Emergency Granola Bars back in the hotel.  We were approaching the main town area and looked at several restaurants but then reconsidered because we wanted to beat the crush back to Venice so we could enjoy our last evening there.  We’d had such a lovely time by ourselves photographing the colorful houses, that we decided just to head for Venice.  There was a crush at the vaparetto stop, but we were early, so did get a seat on the way home.  I found one granola bar in the bottom of my backpack and we shared that, then we both dozed on the way home, awoken when a rogue wave splashed in through the vaparetto windows, drenching the couple next to me.  I didn’t get wet at all.

cemetario church 2

I was able to get a better photograph of the church part of the cemetery this time, the whole building glowing in the setting sun.

Cemetario church

Venice Cemetary brick wall

Cemetary walls 3

Rowers in Gondola

Gondola practice?

Sculpture Men in Boat

Then there was this curious sculpture placed out in the lagoon as we neared Venice. The only thing I could find about it (in English) was that it was a representation of a poor fisherman saving Venice through the appearance of celestial visitors.  Or something.

Church Cannaregio

Back on Venice, we stopped for a small snack in a local shop, then walked home, passing this (closed) church.  Near our hotel is this water spigot/fountain that we mostly see filled with pigeons.

Venice Pigeon's bath

Water balloons

But today there were two boys, filling water balloons.

waterballoons2

hotelallevitedorata

We refresh, but since we are still hungry, we head out, turning right onto the main drag up through Cannaregio, kind of like we are following their line of red dots (which is direction to Ca’ D’oro vaparetto stop, but in the same direction as we are headed).  Strada Nova is crowded, with shops still vending and people still shopping, a real party and lively atmosphere.  We stop to buy some chocolates to take back with us and some torrone (but it’s not as good as the one by San Zaccharia).

Venice Evening Day2

This was a view down one side canal toward the Grand Canal.  We keep going, cross a few more bridges, then wander off to the right, up over two small bridges and see a small restaurant on the canal.

TrattoriaMisercordiaVenice

Out front there’s a guy out front in a spiffy suit, hawking to tourists — hawking to people just like us, who are tired and hungry and ready to eat even though it’s not even six o’clock in the evening and a real Venetian wouldn’t be caught dead sitting down to dinner.  Of course there was the chalkboard with the requisite three courses, the menu with the six languages.  We shrug and say, why not.  It was a good choice.

TrattoriaMisercordiaVeniceDinner2

First up, they bring us an aperitivo.  No thank you, we said, we don’t drink.  Shock.  Amazement. Incredulity.

TrattoriaMisercordiaPolenta

Instead, a plate of some delicious polenta topped with bolognese sauce was brought to our table for a “starter.”

TrattoriaMisercordiaVenicespaghetticheesegrilledveg

Dave had pasta with cheese, which looked like to me it was leftover spaghetti pressed into a mold, then cut and lightly baked, then broiled (?).  I think this is a good idea, especially if grilled vegetables are added to the plate, then a drizzle of vinegar.

TrattoriaMisercordiaVenicespicy spaghetti

My pasta course was spicy spaghetti with vegetables.  I had never thought to ramp up the spiciness on spaghetti before, but it was delicious.

TrattoriaMisercordiaVenicesalmon

We both chose the salmon, again, with grilled vegetables.  And the Italian way — the salad at the end of the meal (below).

TrattoriaMisercordiaSalad

He tried to offer us an after-dinner drink again, but again, we declined.  No dessert? He asked?  No, I said.  I prefer to have some chocolate.

TrattoriaMisericordiaDessert

So they brought us each this delicious treat, on the house.

TrattoriaMisercordiaVeniceowner and ESE

We really enjoyed talking to the owner, as we were the only ones in the restaurant for most of the meal.  He grew up in Venice, but after marrying, moved to Maestre, but still runs the family business.  We talked about the aqua alta (he was in early that morning, sweeping out, vacuuming, washing down our tables and chairs), as this was his livelihood.  I’d go there again in a heartbeat, as the food was delicious (and the owner spoke English).  He said he moved out to Maestre because it was really hard to raise a family in Venice–not even a place to play soccer.  We say goodbye, but are not ready to say goodbye to Venice yet, so we hop onto a vaparetto and ride down the Grand Canal.

Red Building Grand Canal

This is when you know you are really on the Outside, Looking In.  It’s when you see a building on the Grand Canal all lit up in exotic red, with boats of the glitterati stepping up onto the private loading dock and entering this building.  It looked fabulous to all of us peons on the vaparetto.  Even the drivers were pointing at it.

Nighttime Rialto Bridge

Rialto Bridge

Nighttime Venice Fish Maket

The Fish Market, after dark.  The action happens here in the early morning.

Nighttime Santa Maria della Salute

Santa Maria della Salute

We get off at San Zaccharia, buy our last wedge of torrone to take home, then walk slowly back to our hotel through the streets, and the happy tourists, and the business-like Venetians, back through the chilled air, Dave and I together in Venice for one last night.

Coming up: one more post before we say good-bye to Italy.

Venice Churches and Sights

Italy 2012, continued

 

Acqua Alta Venice1

Water overlapping a doorway, across the canal from our hotel

Late in the night, we hear the aqua alta (high water) sirens go off.  A website tells us the following:

So, first a siren is used to alert everyone of the high tide alarm.Next, a signal indicates the expected level of high tide – this signal has between 1 and 4 notes.

1 long sound (8 seconds) on the same note = 110cm level of high tide
2 sounds in an upward scale (4 + 8 seconds) = 120cm ” ” ” ”
3 sounds in an upward scale (4+4+8 seconds) = 130cm ” ” ” ”
4 sounds in an upward scale (4+4+4+8 seconds) = 140cm and above

But we are sleepy and tucked in our bed in our perfect hotel, so can’t quite distinguish the sounds.  It is interesting, though, to think that all around you the sea is rising, covering sidewalks and plazas and streets.

Hotel Breakfast 1

Breakfast is a smaller array, fitting for a smaller hotel (only five rooms, with one on the canal–no, we didn’t get that one).

Hotel Breakfast 2

The breakfast room is cheery, and the woman who is running the breakfast brings us fresh-fresh-fresh croissants with chocolate, another warm roll and some hot cocoa.

Venice breakfast

Just outside is that waterlogged door at the top of this post.  We enjoyed the picturesque setting for our breakfast.  I always love the little “trashcans” that Europeans put on the breakfast tables to hold the trash you might generate (the silver tin).

VeniceHotCocoa

The cocoa is served in a double-walled glass mug.  It was the best of the trip, I’d say.

Acqua Alta puddle

Lingering effects of the aqua alta in the night

Over breakfast the reality of the high water does change our itinerary for the day, as we’d planned to jet right out to Burano, but read that when Venice has high water, Burano will have it worse.  Since we don’t want to borrow the boots from the hotel, we decide to see some churches in the morning.

Acqua Alta barrierA high water barrier in a doorway.  We saw many of these.

AcquaAlta walkwaysWalking the high water walkways–moveable platforms that criss-cross affected areas.

Canaregio Street

We step out of our hotel to see this: a cobbled street, still wet from the high water, and lovely vine growing across, bringing some greenery to the brick walled passageway.

Canaregio Market

Just down from us is this market.  When we’d passed by it late in the day, none of this was out, and then *poof* in the morning it all pops out.

Canaregio Sun

We are so happy to see the sun, and enjoy how it lights up the Venetian buildings.

CannaregioBalcony

CannaregioBalconycanal

DAE canal

Walking in Venice is always a series of ups, downs, take a right–no, left–through that plaza, up those stairs, down those steps, so even getting out and getting around is an adventure, a lovely adventure.

Shrine 7

And while we’re walking, I snapped a few photos of shrines.  I noticed that the coin slot for this one had been filled with cement.

Shrine 8

I’m a sucker for this rich cornflower blue, no matter how it is used.

Shrine 9

Shrine 9a

Venice Doorway

VenetianFlagThe flag of Venice, with its Lion.

Venice ESE

Behind me is what’s known as the jewelbox church, as the marble slabs on the outside of the building are in many colors.  It’s a perfect little church and when we first came to Italy, we could go in with no charge.  Now they will sell you a “church tour” ticket for about 15 euro each ($20 bucks) that lets you in there, plus four other churches that we’d never heard of.  We pass.  Here’s some photos of the outside.  It’s in tight quarters, so hard to get the whole vista.

Venice Jewelbox 3

Venice Jewelbox Church

Venice Jewelbox Church2

Venice Jewlbox4

Venice laundry

Must be laundry day.  I rather think we saw so much laundry hanging out because of 1) we were in less-touristy venues, and 2) the sun was out so the clothes could get dry.

Venice laundry2

Venice with DAE

What we do a lot here: study the map.

We spot the Civil Hospital–Yay! we’re almost there. We’re actually headed to the St. Peter and St. Paul church, which is right next door.  From Wikipedia: “The Basilica di San Giovanni e Paolo, known in the Venetian dialect as San Zanipolo, is a church in Venice, northern Italy. One of the largest churches in the city, it has the status of a minor basilica. After the 15th century the funeral services of all of Venice’s doges were held here, and twenty-five doges are buried in the church.”  Now you know.

Hospital from afar

Venice graffiti

You don’t see much graffiti here in Venice, but here’s some.

VeniceHospitalcourtyard

VenicePeterPaulChurchDoorway

The exterior doorway.  There was a modest fee, and then we were free to explore the church.  It’s cavernous, with many chapels, funerary monuments in the walls, and the sun was streaming in, lighting up the church.

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VenicePeterPaulChurch4

I love this shot of the ceiling that Dave took.  He does “landscape” or big picture shots really well.  Somewhere along the line, between here and Burano, his camera developed a problem with the sensors and so went out of commission.  I remember when we used to travel and had only one camera.  Travel is much nicer now that we both have our own, as our photographic interests compliment each other: I like the details and he likes the bigger picture.  After Burano, we shared my camera, but only had a day before we left.

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A side chapel.  The ceilings were wonderfully ornate, but I kept taking pictures of the floors, as they were interesting-to-me interlocking patterns. (I won’t bore you with photos.  Okay, maybe one.)

StPeterPaulChurchFloor

PeterPaulChurch2

Back to the ceilings.  Do you think they built scaffolds and did all the plasterwork and painting while laying on their back, or made it down on the ground and then affixed them to the ceiling?  I vote the latter.

PeterPaulChurch3

Beautiful, subtle colors of the aged glass.

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SSPeterPaul rosy floor

PeterpaulVeniceLayeredImage

What is this?  A layered image of a painting in a chapel and the chapel’s glass door reflecting the stained glass window on the opposite wall.  It’s also a sign that the tourist has Church Sights Fatigue and needs to get out and walk around the town.

Venice utility boats

From the sacred to the utilitarian.  This clutch of boats has all kinds: construction, delivery, personal water boats.  But we turn left out of the church and head to San Francisco della Vigna, a church I’d read about on a blog I love to read: Venezia Blog.  The writer of that blog is living my fantasy, of having a home in Venice.  But it’s only that. . . a fantasy, not real.  But I wouldn’t mind if for a month or so.

Venice Glowing Buildings

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More glowing buildings.

San Francesco della Vigna Approach

After walking for a few minutes, passing delivery people, a postman and residents, we come down this narrow calle and can see the front doors of the church.

San Francesco della Vigna Exterior

San Francesco della Vigna facade

San Francesco della Vigna Chapel

Because Dave’s camera is on the fritz, we didn’t get an overview of this quiet church, done in grays and blue-grays, but here’s one (below) from the web:

SanFrancisodellaVigna

This is the first church that Palladio built in Venice, and it reminded me of Santo Spirito in Florence (except for the garish touches of red in the above photo–I don’t remember those when we were there).  I made a beeline for the Virgin and Child Enthroned, by Fra Antonio da Negroponte, a painting described as the most beautiful painting in Venice that most tourists never see.  I’d agree.

San Francesco della VignaMadonna

I spent several coins keeping that light going, trying to get a photo of this.

San Francesco della VignaMadonna3

I love the putti swimming in the celestial waters above the Madonna’s head.

Virgin and Child Enthroned detail

BelliniVirgenChildSaints

But the one the priest wanted us to see was Bellini’s Virgin and Child with Saints.  I’m standing on the steps to this side chapel, as the priest was mopping the floor.  I thought of how our congregations back home clean our church, but I’d never seen it in a Catholic church.  This made me suppose that this was a poorer church, as it didn’t charge admission.  That’s one reason I was happy to donate my coins to the light box on the other painting.

San Francesco della Vignaceiling

Ceiling medallions in nave.

San Francesco della Vignacourtyard

San Francesco della Vigna courtyard2

SanFransiscodellaVigna wall plaque

SanFransiscodellaVigna gift shop

This was the “gift shop,” a side chapel filled with postcards, magazines and newspapers.  I bought three postcards of the glorious Madonna.  One adorned our refrigerator for several weeks after our trip.  The painting is huge, tall, so the postcard didn’t do it justice.  Such is life.  I find that often when I get home from a trip, with the sights and memories fresh in my mind, all my photographs are fairly disappointing.  They are so puny, so lifeless, compared to what I saw.  But after a while the two–my memories and my photos–seem to come to a point of balance, of stasis, and I now, several months later, I find they do an adequate representation of our trip.

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Just for reference, this church is in Castello (upper right), just over the border from Cannaregio (upper left).  Our hotel is in Cannaregio (sited at about where the “r” is in Cannaregio).  That notch in Cannaregio on the upper side of the island is approximately where we will catch the vaparetto for our trip to Burano. We’re getting antsy now, and really want to get to Burano, so we retrace our steps to pick up a few things at our hotel.  Some of the sights as we quickly walked back:

Venice streets7

Looking left out of the front door of the church.  Apparently this courtyard stood in for the Police Headquarters in the German television series based on the Guido Brunetti novels.

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This little girl made us homesick for our granddaughters.

Venice Shrine4

Venice Shrine3

Venice Shrine 6

Venice canal late in day

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Next post: Burano.