the last visible dog (intertext) wrote,
the last visible dog

Two Days as a Flaneuse


I've been more or less exploring Venice by the sestiere - going to the major sites in one district and poking around the streets. This isn't quite as systematic as it sounds; for one thing, I think trying to impose some kind of order on the exploration of Venice rather goes against the grain. And for another, I personally prefer to let my instincts and interests lead me around rather than a fixed schedule or itinerary.

view from CaDoro

However, on Wednesday I decided to go to Cannaregio, and I began with the C'a D'Oro, a palace that has been filled with art and functions as a museum. I have to say that I enjoyed my visit here much more than to the Accademia. First, it is smaller, so you don't feel as overwhelmed by masterpieces. Second, it is off the beaten tourist track; I almost had the place to myself, which was a treat. The most famous piece is Mantegna's depiction of the martyrdom of St Stephen, shot full of arrows, but there are many other wonderful things here, including a painting of the Virgin breastfeeding, which I don't think I've ever seen before. There was also a temporary exhibit called "Water," which explored the theme of water in all its manifestations as bringer of life and death (there was a curiously disturbing pair of works showing a modern-day Ophelia as a young girl with a pierced navel and wearing a bikini, but with a porkine head, lying in a bathtub). My favourite was a set of gondolas installed on the ground floor, which remains as the original entrance courtyard and garden; the gondola's had in the center some kind of electronic screen showing flowing water - it was very effective.

A little to the north of the C'a D'oro is Srada Nuovo, which is the closest to a kind of "high street" that I've discovered here. A whole lot of fairly conventional shops, including a Lush store that you could smell from 100 meters away (I am ashamed that some of my countrymen were responsible for giving the world Lush). I had some marvellous gelato at the Gelateria D'oro: tiramisu and "creme di doges" which turned out to be kind of like chocolate-chip cookie dough flavour. Mmmm. And very friendly service, too.

narrow passage b&w passageway

I then went in search of the Jewish ghetto and got thoroughly lost, mostly through map-fail. If I had started at the right place I would have found it easily, but error breaks in when you try to cut through backstreets... About two hours later I found it, but unfortunately was too tired and hot to do much more than sit in the square and drink in some atmosphere before heading home.

That evening, I had the privilege to meet owlfish's parents, Tom and Amy, who very kindly invited me to their lovely apartment and fed me gorgonzola cheese and very good pizza. It was a delightful evening in good company, culminating when Tom rowed me home through dark canal "streets." This was a huge OMGV experience, and I could picture myself as Villanelle in The Passion (or really, more properly, Henri).


I was a little tired, and a thoughtless over-indulgence in gorgonzola cheese the night before had triggered a bit of a headache, so I decided to take it fairly easy, but actually had a delightful day. In the morning, I went shopping, returning to Cannaregio to find a SF bookshop that had been closed the day before, and to San Polo for some interesting shops and thence through the Rialto where I procured some dinner supplies.

In the afternoon I took the vaporetto over to San Giorgio, the magnificent Palladian (and this is REAL Palladio, not the influenced-by versions you see everywhere else) church you can see from St Mark's. I rode on the lift up the campagnella, where there were magnificent views.

view from San Giorgio to NE

I had wanted to see Peter Greenaway's bienalle entry, which is showing there, but tickets are sold out all through the rest of my stay.

Thence homewards, the day's gelato (myrtillo and limone - the lemon was delicious but the myrtillo tasted a bit fake, and the server was not just snooty but downright surly), a light supper, and so to bed.

PS: A belated Happy Birthday for yesterday to lady_schrapnell! Hope you had a great day!!
Tags: 2009_holiday, venice

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