#4 Italy (final), April 14, 1997

Dear Everybody,

In Venice, viewing the Canal from the Rialto Bridge and then walking to the Chiesa di San Maria Gloriosa dei Frari made my morning. The church had an especially wonderful carved choir stall and another Titian – ‘The Assumption’ on the altar. Titian is buried in this church.

For lunch I had Sande in Saor with polenta, which is a popular local dish of sardines with onions on polenta, made in the traditional way that preserved the sardines for seafarers.

I also picked out some wine glasses to buy—but how to get them home, they are so fragile. They are beautifully delicate, locally blown, and are all slightly different from each other.

The next morning I left early for a trip to the islands—first, the island of Burano with its colorful houses. In a lace museum a couple of women were making lace with just a needle. The island of Torcello offers a huge 11th century church with gorgeous gold mosaics. The population on this island is so small and the church is so big, that I think everybody could fit into it at once!

The third island, Murano, is the site of the glass blowing industry. Glass blowing was originally located within the city of Venice but it was moved a couple of centuries ago to this island to prevent any dangerous fires that would burn down the city. Their church of Santa Maria e San Donato has the most whimsical floor, which was completed in 1140.

Back in Venice, the next day I walked to the train station to buy a ticket to Bologna for Monday, when I’ll be flying home. I also wanted to check if it made sense to walk to the station on Monday with my wheeled suitcase and yes, it did, although there were seven bridges (including the Rialto) that I would be pulling it up and over.

That evening I went to a luscious concert in La Pieta church. The music was all by Vavaldi, who had worked there between 1703 and 1740.

An enthusiastic audience called for an encore for which they obligingly presented “Winter” from “The Four Seasons.” I could listen while gazing at the Tiepolo painting on the ceiling of the pretty little church.

On my last day in Venice, I visited the Ca Rezzonica, a palace stuffed with famous paintings,

then to San Panthelon to see the largest canvas in the world, which covers the whole ceiling!

The two rooms of the Music Library had lots of Veronese’s and Tintoretto’s and many old musical instruments and yet another museum, the Museo Correr, which is on the Piazza San Marco, had more wonderful 14th and 15th century art.

My final experience was to have coffee in the Florian Café on the Piazza. Since they opened in 1720, the Florian is full of atmosphere and history. A lovely little string orchestra was playing outside on the Piazza which really added to the ambience.

The next morning I walked to the train station at 5:00 AM, which started my journey home. Venice is one big museum! It is unique in the world. How quiet it is with no car or bus traffic. There are lots of tourists but plenty of room, except perhaps on the Piazza San Marco. Every scene is beautiful, every church is crammed-packed with treasures, every building is a palace, every museum has MORE Tintorettos, etc.—it’s wonderful!

Carol, from home!

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