A very unique city
Everyone who's been to Venice would agree it's one of the most unique cities in the world.
Where else could you find a cemetery on an island or houses having "garages" not for cars but for boats? Or delivery boats rather than delivery vans? Or an ambulance boat rather than an ambulance car? I tried looking for a fireman's boat, but wasn't lucky enough to see one. Perhaps next time.
Exploring the oh so many Campos - this one is Campo della Maddalena in Cannaregio. This raised square is unchanged since medieval times and has often been used as a film set. I loved the chimneys here - all different styles and sizes.
I am sorry I cannot recommend...
I am sorry I cannot recommend any restaurant as I am a vegetarian and I wasn't able to eat any type of meat whatsoever. I ate only soup in this very expensive restaurant, which I don't remember the name. Food in general in Venice is not very good unless you love seafood. My best memory of Venice is being cold, wet, sick, lost, and hungry. For some bloody reason, we could not find our way to where we were going :-P I do miss the uniqueness of the city; its architecture, its atmosphere, its environment and most of all, the idea of the whole city being in the water. It is amazing!!! One should not miss this city at all. I guarantee that you will love it there. :-)
Why is there entrance fee for churches?
It might be annoying in the beginning to have to pay entrance fee for most of Venezia’s churches, but there is a reason for this. If we all understand this, then there is no need for complaining; well, at least I hope (In the beginning of my Uzbekistan trip, I had a similar feeling, when I saw how much more I as foreigner had to pay compared to the locals, but then I understood).
Again, remember why do we all invade and overrun Venezia ? Because this unique city is built on artificial islands and has a lot of architectural and cultural gems practically around each corner. Well, but we also know that Venice has to pay the price for this since the very beginning centuries ago – acqua alta, flooding, is occurring all the time after rain or specific weather conditions. And it is even more frequent now, since we have started to invade the city with all the consequences (increased lagoon traffic, cruise ships and deeper navigation channels). What might be fun for some of us – wading through the flooded streets, is horror for the buildings and the artwork inside. So after each serious flooding, a lot of restoration has to be done. Just imagine how much square metres of these magnificent very old marble floors are laid out in churches and palazzi. Marble is calcium carbonate, and now think what will happen to your kitchen marble counter if vinegar (acid) is spilled – it would give bad damage, as calcium carbonate is being slowly diluted by strong acids. Of course there are no strong acids in the lagoons’ water, but enough diluted ones from acid rain and industrial waste to lead to slow damage of the floors (see photo 1, taken in chiesa SS Giovanni e Paolo).
Then there is the humidity, which slowly crawls into the hundred years old walls and results in mildew. This would be manageable, if there wouldn’t be the countless invaluable paintings my the masters, Bellini, Tiepolo, Tintoretto and the others.
It costs a fortune to keep them restored and in the beauty we expect to see them. Since some years, the restoration work in Venezia has very much improved. It is more of a long term conservation and restauration and no longer a quick limitation of damage. Restaurators are specially trained in the work for the city, and of course this all costs quite a lot.
And again: who are we to expect from the Venezianos that they fund this work out of their pockets alone ? If we come in herds to marvel at and in the churches, we have to participate with our donation to conservation.
Associatione Chorus describes this work quite transparent on their homepage:
American Gondola Builder in Venice
This is what I I had been waiting for! Carol and I had purposefully kept our vacation schedule loose. Aside from hotel reservations we really didn't have to be anywhere at any given time...that is, except for 10:30 AM Tuesday morning in Venice.
I love trip planning and research...what can I say, I've been called the Gray Geek more than once. In the lead up to our trip to Italy I came across a fantastic site (other than VT's of course) called the Venice Blog. Wonderful insights not easily found. It was here I discovered the American Gondola Builder in Venice. In 1996 Thom Price received a Watson Foundation grant to go to Venice and learn how to build gondolas. At the end of his grant he decided to stay in Venice and the rest, as they say, is history.
Turns out that it's not very easy to actually watch a gondola being built as the local boat builders are not quite as welcoming as the local glass blowers. Thom Price on the other hand was willing to open his squero or boat building workshop for occasional tours. Now, I have been a woodworker all my life building furniture, musical instruments and even a spiral staircase, but this was something else. The opportunity to see a gondola in its skeletal form, to observe firsthand techniques developed over centuries by master boat builders and to meet a young man who followed his dream as unlikely as it may have seemed...this was not be missed.