Monthly Archives: February 2019

The Correr and More-er.

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Well, maybe it doesn’t quite rhyme, but there’s more in the Correr Museum than you could possibly enjoy, so we hit the highlights. The building also houses the Archaeological Museum and the Biblioteca. We strolled through those, too.

Am I the person who stops to read everything and has “aha” moments? Rarely. I just see what makes me happy and snap a photo. And I LOVE these Murano glass chandeliers!!

We also got a kick out of watching a field trip of kids whose teacher had set up a scavenger hunt.

A few pieces that caught my eye. . .

Another chandelier. . .

And many fine works by Canova, the sculptor. . .

Museum-looking can make you work up an appetite, and off we went to Schiavi.

We really WERE hungry, and ended up eating 13 for lunch! The final few we ate outside.

This one”’s for you, Savannah. . .

And this one’s for you, Telma. . .

So all that eating can make a person tired. In true Italian fashion, we returned home “fare un pisolino”–to make a nap, because, after all, tonight we were going on a food tour so we had to rest up!!

Up on the Roof!

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Starting out early to avoid as many tourists as possible, we headed to San Marco. We paid our 5 euros each and went up to the museum and out onto the roof.

We had a good view of the spaceship which has landed in the piazza!

Inside, the museum is fabulous and the up-close and personal look at the mosaics was surprising. We were met by a sign which everyone, including us, ignored:

Really, it is a most magnificent edifice . .

These horses, which used to be outside, are estimated to have been cast between 100-200 AD. Imagine!

And the view across the piazza to the astrological clock. . . .just so beautiful! We were there to hear the. 10 am bells and joked that the guy had good tango posture!!

Other artifacts in the museum included mosaics of John the Baptist. . .

And St. Vincent (took this photo for our friend Vinnie)

Always I love and marvel at these ancient manuscripts. These were beautiful, although I still think the ones in the Sienna duomo are the most impressive Ive seen.

So finishing up at St. Mark’s, we headed across the piazza to the Correr Museum, but not before snapping a few photos of a few beauties. . .

Tuesday Tribulation

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Today is the day of the milonga! We brought Tango shoes and nice outfits. Ive told Don about this for the past year. This year I brought my own partner and we will dance. Last year, as a beginner, I got only one dance and watched. This year will be different!

So Tuesday morning we first browsed the Rialto fish market, now in danger of extinction. Historically this parcel of land was always owned by the fishmongers, and there were 30-35 market stalls selling fish. Now there are 5 remaining, as others have died off, gone out of business due to rising costs, etc. The City of Venice is doing nothing to support or help the remaining marketeers because they know that once these final ‘mongers are gone, they can claim this valuable piece of real estate which has not been available for over 1,000 years. So, get here while you can because it could be high rise condos in a few years!

Truly, there was such beauty in the frutti di mare, and I honestly wished that I had simply grown up here and knew what to do with these creatures and how to cook them in the most succulent and palate-pleasing manner. But, ahimè (alas), all I could do was ogle.

We sought out All’Arco, another cicchetti spot which opens daily at 7\30am and caters to the fishmongers. Phil, of “Somebody Feed Phil,” came here and raved about it, and we were close by, an outside table was available, so perché no. . .why not!

Why now? I’ll tell you why not. . .The cichetti are beautiful, on toasted bread, they have a few tramezzini but in NO WAY do they compare with the cicchetti at Schiavi. Lesson learned.

So now it was time to scout out Livio Sanudo, the gym where the tango dance would be held Tuesday night. Off we went, confidence in hand, walked toward CAmpo San Polo. With an address of 2360 San Polo in hand, we couldn’t go wrong.

Errrrr. . . This IS Venice. Venice, the one of labyrinths, addresses that don’t match, the streets that go no where or lead you right into water. We walked and asked for an hour. Honestly, I WAS HERE LAST YEAR, and surely I would recognize something. Street signs have been repainted. I can do this!!

As I became more grumpy and Don became more silent, we finally admitted defeat and decided to return to our apartment. I considered a short dive off the Accademia Bridge but hey, I have too many tango shoes and need to dance in them before I die!!We would do reconnaissance; we would look at the map, use Google maps, use Apple maps, write out each twist and turn, we would do screen shots of maps, and would return, shoe bags in hand for the milonga. We can do this. We are smart people.

A nap, a pizza, and an attitude adjustment later, we set out, shoe bags in hand, disembarking the vaporetto at San Silvestro. We diligently followed each twist and turn. We asked directions at the Birraria from a young man who grew up in the area. “Oh, it’s a difficult place to find. Someone else asked one time and I never saw him again.” He directed us, sort of, and what he described matched my recollection. We can do this!!

One and a half hours later, and four direction-seeking questions asked of locals, waiters, and young teens, watching and hoping for anyone else carrying a shoe bag, and at times, imagining we heard tango music which we did not, we returned to the Birraria.

With aching feet and hips, and knowing that even if we found the location we were too exhausted to dance, we hung our heads and found our way back to the vaporetto.

Abbiamo sconfitto a Venezia.

We were defeated by Venice.

We love your charm, we discovered some lovely and quiet back areas and trattorias, and you completely got us this time.

A domani!!

A Bowl of Cherries

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Well, maybe a bowl of Murano cherries!! Today was our food tour with Venice Bites. . .a return event for me and a first for Don. I was glad to see that he had a smile on his face nearly the entire 4.5 hours we spent with Adam and Maya!

We made the rounds of all family-owned, historically significant eateries, as well as artisans crafting masks and Murano glass, while being briefed on how and where to eat, pee, drink, and buy in Venice!

Caffe corretto–first stop of the day which is conveniently located 5 minutes from our apartment, right across the Accademia Bridge. Did you know that most coffee is broken and must be corrected with a good shot of grappa in the morning?! The pastry is frittelle, a Carnevale specialty similar to a doughnut and this morning these were warm.

Our next 2 stops featured 1) cicchetti-to-die-for at Schiavi (ate there every lunch last year and. . .news flash. . .Don and I returned there tonight {Monday} for more cicchetti and wine, and 2) tramezzini and more wine at Toletta. A note on the white bread used in the tramezzini. .It is specially made and steamed so there is no crust. One loaf makes 10 triangle sandwiches. It is against the Venetian law to sell day-old food, so as the day wears on, the trays become more sparse. At closing time, food not eaten is packaged for those folks who are house bound.

Next up. The fruit and vegetable barge where we sampled delectable clementines. Law dictates that the business must be owned by Venetians, and two brothers saved it from extinction some years back. A block party ensued!!

A visit to Giorgio, the glassmaker of Murano, and two more of his glasses are coming home with me to join the two I bought last year.

It’s never too early for gelato, and of course, only the artisanally made for this tour. All ingredients are fresh, authentic, and Adam gave us a course in Gelato 101. Then, the cone (made there) or dish of our choice.

Now LUNCH!!?? OMG. . .

Light-as-a-feather gnocchi with duck, risotto with asparagus, and Venetian pasta (cant remember the name) with vegetables. And wine.

And NOW dessert!! This pasticceria is known for one particular confection, Casanova’s balls. Nice to look at, but I that’s as far as I got! Instead, I chose a frittelle with zabaglione.

Through a maze of calle, sotoportegi (narrow, dark passageways), along the way learning about the yellow signs which ring Venice. . .

Or the graffiti signs which are more accurate. . .

Taking in the views of the “bonds” on buildings which signified the connection between two families through marriage, business, or friendship. . .

This might be the only one in Venice with 4 bonds, and a 5th is visible from another, non-camera-friendly angle.

And finally, 4 1/2 hours later, we arrived at our final spot to finish the day with a Select spritz. In the words of Wallace and Gromit, it was a “fine day out.” And for dinner, a few hours later, we found ourselves back at Schiavi!

A Moveable Feast. . .

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. . .so named by Pierre, our tango teacher, when we shared a most incredible happening. Because last night we experienced one of the most unexpected, totally magical events of any trip we’ve ever taken.

Sitting in our apartment, wiped out from miles and miles of walking, we were grateful to just relax and put our feet up. All of a sudden, I heard tango music outside our window. It took me a moment or two or three to figure out that something was happening in the campo. What the heck??

Looking out, I saw a woman pushing a cart and on it, a computer, and from that computer, tango music which we’ve practiced to and danced to.

Now it was my turn to yell, “Don, come here, they’re going to tango right in front of us.” (Keep in mind that we were totally exhausted and wiped out.). “Get your shoes on, we’re going to get out there, too.”

And in 30 seconds, tango shoes in hand, we were down the steps and into the campo where the entire group had thrown all their backpacks, coats, and belongings around the fountain and were dancing! I had a dejavu moment of being back in Buenos Aires where everyone piles their belongings in the middle while dancing.

I never whipped off socks, boots, coat, and donned tango sandals so fast in all my life. I was vaguely aware that my soles were suede, meant for indoor use, but couldn’t have cared less!

We were giddy with excitement, and quickly realized there was no “line of dance” like we are used to, which created a few traffic problems, but hey, how many tourists does this group encounter?! A guy in a dress tromped on Don’s ankle, but apologized profusely and no harm done.

I approached a friendly-looking lady and it turned out that she spoke English, and was happy to take a video of us dancing, just so we could show Pierre and have a record that this actually happened! It’s too long to put on the blog, so I took a few still shots from the video.

The video tanguera told me that this group was a Venetian tango school which goes from campo to campo practicing. They were headed to San Marco next, and urged us to come. But honestly, we were truly exhausted, and in the back of my mind I was wondering what damage the cobblestones might be inflicting on my shoes. (Turns out, no damage.)

The group was fun, the experience ethereal!

In 15 minutes they were finished and moving on. As quickly as they arrived, they vanished. The fountain had no more backpacks, shoe bags, coats.

So did this really happen. . . Or was this a Brigadoon experience, happening only when people fall in love. . .with tango?!

Basilica di Frari

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A visit to Venice is incomplete without a visit to. . .Frari Church, actually a basilica (the ‘highest’ church , that is, more important than a cathedral) is one of the most enchanting complexes in Venice, and one of Italy’s most important Franciscan sites. The church has been looked after by Franciscan friars since 1250. The current basilica was constructed around 1330. Over the centuries the Basilica has been endowed with unique and priceless masterpieces.

Our visit on Sunday afternoon (3 Euro admission each) filled our souls with beauty and amazement.

Tiziano’s “The Assumption”

Half of the magnificent choir.

Madonna di Ca’Pesaro, considered to be a masterpiece due to its brilliant use of perspective,

The splendid ness of colors, the perfection of the design, and the expressive power of the portraits. 15

1519-1526

The Pesaro family had this erected as the burial place of the one family member who was elected

Doge of Venice. Quite an imposing piece of sculpture!

Not to be missed in Venice!

Il Volo d’Angeli

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The Flight of the Angel. . .a moment in time and space, and we’re here to witness it. Each year Carnevale has a theme, and this year it’s outer space. The huge stage in San Marco resembles a space ship.

This is the artist’s rendition, and I can tell you that in real life, it’s honestly not all that great, secondo me (in my opinion). Turns out I don’t even have a photo of it. Maybe today. . .

So Sunday morning we set off to behold the angel (chosen from last year’s Marias). Here’s a bit of history of the flight. https://www.italyscapes.com/events/veneto/venice/annual-festivals/flight-of-the-angel-2019/. By 9:15 we found ourselves front and center and shortly after 10 am the procession of Venetian big wigs ensued.

Continually nudged out by the person beside me, I held my ground and got some good photos!!

Il Doge, this year’s Marias, and the noblemen led the parade, followed by a long stream of costumed groups.

Hey, Savannah, remember these guys from last year? This year both the black and the white were on the stage, front and center, throughout the flight. Good and evil??

Amazingly, right on time at 11 am, the angel started her descent. It took 3 minutes and for her to descend from the bell tower of San Marco to Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.” She was dressed as a space invader.

I did not like it. At all. First, Bolero brings back bad memories from oboe playing in high school. Second, it was simply not beautiful. Last year the Angel descended dressed in a beautiful gown to Ave Maria. Oh well, we came, we saw. . .

With beautiful weather and curiosity, we set off to 1) find food (which we did in San Marco area–pasta and an excruciatingly delicious and unexpectedly expensive half bottle of wine), 2) marvel at costumes, and 3) explore mask shops (oh, I am sorely tempted. . . )

Le maschere. . .

The day was still young and our feet and backs still had some steps in them, so off we went to Frari Basilica. But that’s the next blog. Go make a cuppa tea, coffee, or an Aperol spritz as we move onward. . .