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It's cold outside....again!

We got out this morning and began our wanderings. A cold front has moved in and the weather is a bit less pleasant that it was yesterday. It was so cold today that I actually wore a scarf! It's quite humid here and the cold just kind of sticks to you like fog.

While not technically foggy today, it was kinda hazy. As we walked through the city, you could see pockets of mist hanging in the alleyways. When you would walk through these areas it was that kind of cold you can't seem to shake easily. We press on regardless.

We were headed to a canal crossing where a traghetto would take us across. I had read a "off the beaten path" Venice website that had talked about what is basically a spiral stair tower in a little courtyard, built in 1499. I planned on trying to find it later and surprise Laurie. We were headed in the right direction for the traghetto and took a wrong turn...right into this spiral tower. Tah dah!

I'll be honest, I doubt I'd have ever found it if we hadn't made a wrong turn and fell across it. It was basically so far off the beaten path we couldn't even see the path. We turned up a little alley which was headed in the direction of our traghetto but it was a dead end....and the tower was in the dead end.

It cost 7 euros to climb the tower, but it turns out all of the money was used for it's upkeep and repairs. We sprung for it and climbed the tower, and the view was pretty good. We could see over the rooftops of Venice and see many of the landmarks. The tower fee included a single room of artwork that Laurie liked very much. It included paintings and sculpture from the 1500's.

After this, we made a brief stop in a free music museum in what used to be a church. There are churches on every corner here and I guess repurposing one as a music museum was a good use of it. We've noticed that there are a large number of churches here that seem to be shut up and not used. You can't exactly just tear it down here, for a multitude of reasons.

We finally got the the traghetto dock to find out that it wasn't running today.....so we walked a few hundred yards and crossed a bridge. This put us in the Dorsoduro section of Venice. Laurie had planned a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim collection, an art collection at the late heiress' home on the Grand Canal. We arrived to a line out the door and into the courtyard.

Laurie said maybe she would try later. She continued to list reasons why she wouldn't go in and fight the line. Just between us, as much as I had heard her talk about going there and how excited she had been about it, I had no plans on letting her pass it up.

We grabbed a great piece of pizza while walking, then went to the edge of the island and walked the perimeter to a point where a fairly famous church is. Turns out the church didn't open until 3 pm so we wandered back towards the museum. When we arrived, the line was gone and Laurie went right in.

I went wandering about the area and checking things out. While there are things to see and do, there are also a lot of people who actually live there. I saw a lot of small bars, restaurants, and stores. Some were art galleries, catering to the tourists. Some were regular stores like groceries and such catering to the locals. It is much quieter than the tourist areas of central Venice and a nice change.

I ran across a construction site and watched the guys work. They loaded out debris in large canvas bags and dumped them into a boat to carry it away. The large canvas bags are lifted and moved by a small tower crane, run from a small radio control console on a strap around a guy's neck. The crane operator did all the picks and sets for the entire job.

After watching a while I cut through another alley and wound up on the waterfront, right at a HUGE yacht. I looked the name up and it belonged to an Italian billionaire named...Dello something. I did an internet search on my phone and he owns a chain of high end leather goods stores in Europe. These stores were the offshoot of his grandfather's business.

His grandfather was a simple shoemaker. The yacht owner guy, in addition to owning the chain of leather stores, is on the board of Ferrari, Mazerati, a bunch of other companies, and is the majority share holder in Saks 5th Avenue. Pretty impressive for a shoemaker's grandson. It's the American dream....but in Italy.

I met Laurie at the museum. She spent an hour and a half in there...and thoroughly enjoyed it. While out and about, we had noticed the temporary walkways stacked up everywhere. We inquired about the possibility of Alta Acqua, literally "high water". In the spring and fall, unusually high tides seep up through the foundations and fill and flood areas of the island. We have been assured that they weren't coming today.

We wander the area, and stop at a chichetti bar for a glass of wine and a few appetizers. After that we have an.....okay dinner. Not fantastic, just okay. Everything we've read said there are restaurants catering to tourists and the food is pretty mediocre for Italy. This one wasn't really in a tourist area. I guess they can have mediocre restaurants too.

We wander a bit more for our after dinner exercise. We wind up in the only place on the island where there are cars, buses, and trucks. It is an area that is at the end of the causeway coming from the main land. If you're coming here, it's where you'll park if you drive instead of take the train.

The area is also used to transfer freight from trucks coming in to boats. Once in the boats it is distributed throughout the city. Buses drop people off here as well, to work, or those who live here. In the background is a massive parking building. The building has thousands of spaces and is built on an artificial island. The charge to park is 21 euros. Not cheap.

We go to the train station and check out where the baggage storage place is for our last day. We'll need to store our bags until our train leaves on Friday night. After that we grab a snack and head back to our apartment.

Tomorrow we head to a couple of the out islands. Laurie wants to make a few comments below about her museum visit and then it's off to bed for us. Goodnight everyone! ========================================================

The Peggy Guggenheim collection is an amazing collection of art that was her personal home which was once a palace. She was a generous patron of the arts and collected works from famous and not so famous artists.

As you walk into the building, there is a Calder mobile and large Picasso painting in the foyer. Every room is filled with art and sometimes it was difficult to step back far enough to really see some of the larger pieces because of the crowd. However, I have certainly been in museums that were more crowded. The collection is somewhat eclectic and moves from Picasso, Pollack, Kandinsky, Ernst and others of that era to Dali and Dadaism. I am glad I got to go because it was a collection that I would not have seen anywhere else.

She also sponsored an artist named Tancredi Parmeggiani. He was a troubled soul though and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. His work showed a marked evolution as he began to lose control over his mind, becoming darker and more brooding. He ended up committing suicide at the age of 37. A brief but bright star.

I wanted to go into the church dedicated to Mary, called the Church of her good health or something like that. Its is huge, has beautiful carvings outside but was closed. Maybe tomorrow. Venice is like being in an art history book. And what's really cool is it is all original. WWII did not bring any damage to this city, unlike many other major European cities.

Tomorrow we go to Murano and Burano - hopefully. Looking forward to it.

Up in the stair tower!

Up in the stair tower!


A view across the city

A view across the city


The tower from the outside

The tower from the outside


Tiny passageway

Tiny passageway


Venice ambulance

Venice ambulance


Does this building look crooked?

Does this building look crooked?


Looking across to another island

Looking across to another island


Musician

Musician


Jobsite

Jobsite


Little remote controlled tower crane

Little remote controlled tower crane


Shoemaker's grandson's yacht.

Shoemaker's grandson's yacht.


Elevated walkways

Elevated walkways


Parking

Parking


Lotsa art!

Lotsa art!


A quiet part of town

A quiet part of town

Posted by Bill Hall 17:00 Archived in Italy

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