One of the things I think about when I find myself lying awake in bed unable to sleep are topics to think about the next time I find myself lying awake in bed unable to sleep. As a couple of these topics are Venetian specific, I'll share them here--in the hope they might prove diverting to any other Venice-loving insomniacs out there.
A fairly simple obsessional-compulsive topic (which, of course, is the only kind of topic for an insomniac) was inspired by a low-budget indie movie of some years back entitled All the Vermeers in New York. It takes the form of a challenge:
Mentally catalog all the places in the lagoon with at least one work by Giovanni Bellini (I say "in the lagoon" as there's at least one excellent altarpiece of his on another island than Venice). For each place list all of the works.
Another more involved topic revolves around how challenging Venice is for those with restricted mobility. I used to think that Venice would be almost impossible to see if one couldn't get around on foot, but I then realized I was being unnecessarily defeatist. I now think, in fact, that one can see a good amount of the city with the use of the vaporetto and a wheelchair, and when I really can't sleep I sometimes set myself the challenge of imagining in detail, for one vaporetto route after another, stop by stop, how far one can roll from the water before one encounters a bridge. So, for example, in terms of the number 1 line, I was happy to realize that there is nothing to prevent a person in a wheelchair from reaching I Frari from the San Tomà vaporetto stop. They can also reach the nearby Scuola of San Rocco, but then, unfortunately, the stairs at that site's entrance, as well as the stairs within, are major obstacles.
This morning, having awakened far earlier than planned or hoped, I thought of both of the above topics (along with many other pointless things besides), then simply decided to get up and get out--though rain was falling and the sun hadn't yet risen.
I spent a lot of time watching Campo Santa Maria Formosa slowly fill, first, with weak drizzly light, then with people, and then around 9 am ended up in one of my favorite churches in the city, San Giovanni in Bragora, where I took the two photos accompanying this post and thought of another obsessional-compulsive challenge for the next time I can't fall back asleep:
Catalog all the works (along with their locations) by Cima da Conegliano in Venice.
There are of course two beautiful ones in Giovanni in Bragora (one of which is visible in the photos). And this morning I felt infinitely lucky to be able to look at them in person, instead of calling them to mind while I lay uncomfortably in a sleepless bed.