Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Venice Part V--Intimate Venice

Venice is a small city in terms of its physical size, covering about one square mile. Despite all the water it is a great walking city. Many of the small canals have sidewalks along the edge of the canal. There are also small squares with shops and restaurants as well as some small streets. Just taking off and walking with no preconceived idea of where you are going is great fun. If you get lost it really doesn't matter; there are many signs around pointing to San Marcos or the train station or the Grand Canal. On top of it all, it is one of the most beautiful, colorful, photogenic places I have ever seen.

The photo below is a wonderful example of what I'm talking about. This was taken from a bridge over a small canal. It is one of my all time favorite photographs. I was looking the other direction when my wife said "Turn around." I did and wow!

The three photos above are of different windows taken during my strolls. They are all away from the Grand Canal either on small canals, streets or squares. Below is a typical narrow street.

Above is the Rio dei Frari, a small canal near the Church of the Frari( see blog post of11/4/12 The Frari Church, Bellini and Jesus Christ Superstar).

Carnivale, the celebration that occurs at the beginning of Lent, is a big deal in Venice. There are many parties and masked balls. There are shops in Venice who sell and/or rent masks and costumes.
Below are masks from one such shop.

The photo below is of a different mask shop. The mannequin outside the shop is wearing the costume worn by a Venetian plague doctor. During plague outbreaks the doctors who took care of the victims dressed in outfits like this. During one outbreak Venice started with 18 doctors, which was soon reduced to eight, by a combination of death and fleeing the city. Some of the plague doctors weren't trained physicians. Unfortunately the state of medicine at the time meant that their most important duty was recording the deaths.

The beak was hollow with a breathing hole on the side. They would stuff the beak with good smelling things such as herbs, because bad smells were supposed to spread the plague. The eye holes were filled with glass for vision. A leather hood covered the head and neck. A cloak and hat completed the outfit.If you were ill how would you like to see this guy show up at your bedside? You can purchase a full blown mask like this for $200-$300. I bought a smaller plastic version for about $5.00 and brought it home. I wore it on Halloween complete with hat and cloak. The first bunch of kids who came down our street took one look at me sitting on the porch and kept right on walking. Our four year old grand daughter woudn't get within 10 feet of me. Great fun!

Above is another small canal. Below is a jewelry store. One can spend an awful lot of money in Venice if one has a mind to.

The three photos above show small canals, the bottom of which is barely wide enough for a gondola.  The restaurant below looks like a great spot.

Below are a couple of shops. The first one sells grappa, etc. I don't know what business the second one is in, but it has a great sign.

The first two canals shown below have gondola service points . The third one shows laundry hanging up.

For all you Agatha Christie fans, below is the sign for the track at the train station where the Orient Express loads passengers. They had red carpet, booze, etc. for their passengers. As well they should--as I remember the cost was between $3000 and $4000. That's one way, thank you. Per person.

Below are photos of three more small canals.

How about a little treat to tide you over before dinner?

Above are three more small canals. Below are lovers' locks locked on a bridge railing.

Above are more small canals. Below is a warm, inviting little square.

Just cause I like it--San Giorgio Maggiore, with a light fog lifting.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Venice Part III--Grand Canal Continued....

The photo above is of the Grand Canal approaching the Rialto area from San Marco's Square, headed towards the train station.

I love the street lamp in the middle of the canal

Gondolas approaching the Rialto area.

Buildings near the Rialto bridge.

The canal near the bridge is often congested. In the right foreground is a vaporetto at the Rialto stop. A gondolier is just ahead of it; his gondola isn't visible in the photo.

 A close-up of the Rialto Bridge.

This photo shows two freight carrying boats near the end of he bridge. These seem to take the place of the UPS trucks.

I think I'll have a little something on the balcony.

This photo shows one of the famous houses of Venice, the ca d'Oro. It is the white building immediaely to the right of the vaporetto stop, which is named the ca d'Oro stop. The ca d'Oro was once heavily decorated with gold, hence the name. It was built between 1428 and 1430.

 The three photos above show buildings along the canal.

Small canal joining the Grand Canal. I like the greenery on this building.

This building is a casino.

Note the dog relief sculptures on this building.

Side canal.

Church of San Simeon Piccolo.

Very congested here. Two vaporettos, gondolas, and other watercraft.

 Gondolas waiting for passengers. Near Rialto Bridge.

 Gondolas with passengers.

 A wider view of this same area.

Sunset on the Grand Canal.