Italy 2012, continued
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.
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).
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.
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).
The cocoa is served in a double-walled glass mug. It was the best of the trip, I’d say.
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.
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.
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.
We are so happy to see the sun, and enjoy how it lights up the Venetian buildings.
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.
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.
I’m a sucker for this rich cornflower blue, no matter how it is used.
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.
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.
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.
You don’t see much graffiti here in Venice, but here’s some.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Beautiful, subtle colors of the aged glass.
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.
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.
More glowing buildings.
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.
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:
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.
I spent several coins keeping that light going, trying to get a photo of this.
I love the putti swimming in the celestial waters above the Madonna’s head.
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.
Ceiling medallions in nave.
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.
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:
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.
This little girl made us homesick for our granddaughters.
Next post: Burano.