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A short stop can be made in Malamocco, a historic village that, before the foundation of Venice, was chosen as capital of the Venetian State. It has long since lost its former glory but on the church square, don't miss the fifteenth-century Gothic buildings that include the praetorian palace and the church of Santa Maria Assunta.
Written Feb 19, 2006
The name of Lido island comes from "Litus" (meaning both shore and entrance, harbor). it always belonged to venice and most times protected the historical city from the fury of sea an the menacing enemies' ships. This is why the island was often used for military purposes, for instance during the Turks invasions. Among the historical events with Lido as protagonist, there are the 4th Crusade in 1202 (all 30,000 French crusaders were hosted at Lido before their departure9 and the bloody War of Chioggia (1378-79), when Genoa menaced Venice, and Venetians built fortresses and castles in Lido.
Written Oct 19, 2005
Besides being so close to Venice, the island of Lido has always acted as a link with the long chain of islands dividing the Adriatic Sea from the Lagoon: it is a narrow strip of land squeezed between two different water systems, making the island an excellent, healthful place to stay.
During his sojourns in Venice in the 1820, Lord Byron would come to the Lido as often as possible—just as many other poets and writers have done so over the centuries (T. Mann's 1912 novel, "A death in Venice", was set in a famous island hotel). The island is a wonderful break from the crowds in Venice - a bit of serenity to return to after a day of slogging through the sensory overload of Venetian streets. Lido offers open space, fresh air and a relaxing change of scenery.
Updated Oct 19, 2005
At the opposite end of the isle to Malamocco is San Nicol?, a spot which always thrills both visitors and locals on their arrival. It is a place which used to elicit excitement also in the past - though perhaps for different reasons, according to the period in question - as is testified by the ancient chronicles of events, letters of renowned poets of more recent times (not only Byron but also Goethe, Shelley and De Mussets to name a few) and by all the twentieth century writings of those who have personally come here.
The reason for this feeling - which certainly goes hand in hand with the pleasure of strolling along the front to reach San Nicol? from Santa Maria Elisabetta, with its breathtaking scenes of Venice mirrored in the lagoon - can be traced back to the fascinating 16th century map of the island, at whose centre is a monastery with a fort and a cemetery (left and right, respectively) on each side. These latter elements created a very special atmosphere which one can savour still today when, although still physically present, the circumstances which led to their construction have substantially changed.
Today the monastery mentioned above - which is shown here in the detail of a colour map dating back to the same period - can be found just beyond the highly original Istrian Stone bridge (with its mammoth 8.5 m span), which is not featured in these maps as it was built just over a century afterwards, possibly as a commission for the famous military architect Francesco Malacreda.
Although its structure is no longer wholly original - both the Romanic basilica and the monastery which had been planned and built for the Benedictine monks between 1043 and 1053 have been greatly changed over the centuries - the structure as a whole holds much interest, under both architectural and religious viewpoints: the Renaissance cloister stands out like a jewel and the Basilica contains the relics of S. Nicol? di Myra, "the universal rescuer over land and sea".
Updated Oct 19, 2005
The Jewish cemetery at the Lido di Venezia has the reserve of a fenced wood and, at the same time, the enduring quality typical of an archaeological site. It is a characteristic common to other Jewish cemeteries in Italy and in Europe, where the alternation of care and abandonment over the span of many centuries, reflects the historical record -- bad and good -- of their communities. The gravestones emerge from a sea of overgrown grass, inclined or flat, or leaning against the brick wall, in the shadow of trees that have grown wild: some have grown so as to embrace the edge of a stone or to have split it. We find not only the funereal cypresses, but plants of many species, casually or intentionally left as a sign of life (Bet ha-Khaiim, “house of the living” is, in Hebrew, the euphemism which designates the cemetery). The light of the lagoon filters through the leaves. Traces of an order -- a garden, efforts of an earlier age -- are now confused by the wild vegetation, and the half-submerged tombs recall a return to the earth, leaving on the surface a residue of white stone -- a silent disorder -- or, on the contrary, a re-emergence of memory.
The photographs of Claire Turyn convey this sense of a memory alternating between the enduring and the impermanent. Up close, the blotches of shadow and light obscure the carved inscriptions and decorations; the erosions of water and sea air, and the lichen stains, intertwine with the inscriptions like another inscription superimposed on the original. From a distance, the monuments of chalk-white Istrian stones appear like apparitions in the middle of the forest, vivid signposts in the indifferent vegetation.
Written Oct 17, 2005
The picturesque village of Malamocco is situated a few kilometres from the bathing centres, along the coast of the LIDO. The name derives from MEDOACO (the antique name of the Brenta River). In the Roman period Malamocco was the port of Padova and the Padovans who, expelled by order from ATTILA, sought refuge there in 432. In 540, here was the Biship's seat and in 743, Teodato Orso transfers the Duchy of ERACLEA to MALAMOCCO. Only in 813, did the "Dodgi" , whith Angelo Partecipazio, establish their residence at RIVO ALTO, in emerging Venice. These seventy years were filled with internal disagreements and the long wars against the Dalmatian, the Greek and the Franks. In 806, Pepino, the Frankisk King, son of Charlemagne, seized Grado, Eraclea, Equilio;then occupied Brondolo, Chioggia; Pellestrina, Albiola, and headed towards Rivo Alto, but, near Malamocco, his fleet was attacked by Venitian ships and was completely destroyed. In 1107, a terrible hurricane accompained by a seaquake and a very high tide swept away almost all of Medoaco. The Bishop's Seat was transferred to CHIOGGIA and the centre was rebuilt and the village assumed the name of MALAMOCCO NUOVA. To understand the depht of the Venetian history, a visit to Malamocco will be fundamental. It was the home of the first settlers of Venice and is today the most ancient part of this fantastic city. Stories and legends about Malamocco date back to the Roman Empire, the barbarian invasions, the intrusions of the Byzantians and the Franks; the carnage in its canals, all these contrasting with the peaceful life of hunt and fishing, of horticulture and the transport of salt, only looking at these places take us back to pre-historic Venice. The magic of Malamocco has been there for centuries. The mixture of silence, of tha past, and present, of housing belonging to the orient and the spiritual arts render this place metaphysical. Only a stroll along its narrow paths, its streets and canals can give you the real metaphysical atmosphere that Malamocco provide.
Written Feb 2, 2005