Friday, March 09, 2007

Ciao wow wow

St Mark's
lutes & mandolinsAfter a day and half of drizzle, today has been four seasons in a day. Unless of course, you're one of those costumed musicians consigned to a special hell of playing Venetian-born Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons for tourist audiences, twice a day, every day. The closest I've had to that was a free exhibition of violins, guitars, lutes and other stringed instruments from his era. Outside the venue, the modern legacy of these instruments was shown with a guitarist singing "Hotel California" in Italian.
Caffé del Doge (1)Caffé del Doge (2)

Our day was begun with some decent coffee at Caffé del Doge, followed by a minor exploration of the Castello quarter. Neither of was feeling particularly energetic, Bondi having ignored dinner, and I, having inspected about 20 near-identical menus over 3 city quarters, had basically made a food-as-fuel decision about 10pm which I should have ignored. I woke about 4am, after being consumed by mosquitoes that had for the third night running found their way into the room with no visible means of entrance.

The sun made a reappearance about 11am, so I dragged Bondi back towards the Piazza to check out the lines for the Campanile. At nearly 100m it’s the tallest structure in Venice.
Piazza from campanile

Amazingly there was not more than a dozen people ahead of me (one elevator-full), so I checked Bondi into the cloak-room and rode to the top. One of my guide-books said that from the Campanile viewing area, you can see almost every building in Venice but not a single canal. I beg to differ in that one running north from the Piazza, possibly the Canal dei Fabbri, seems to be part visible. Anyway, the views are gorgeous, as you may judge from the photos here.

Ducal Palace  Piazza from campanilePiazzaSan Marco

St Mark's (2) Piazza (2)
very nice lady at stationery store

A slow afternoon was spent in a small area west of San Marco between La Fenice and the now sun-bathed Campo Santo Stefano. In addition to the violin exhibition we looked over Legatoria Piazzesi, Italy's oldest paper-goods shop, which specializes in woodblock printing, and also had some gelati at Paolin: Bondi as usual scoring free gelato.

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