Friday, January 18, 2019

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Papal Visit to Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, This Afternoon


At first glance I thought a cult had occupied the campo, this seated crowd dressed in matching black hoodies. Then I saw the signs: "VILLAFRANCA AMA IL PAPA," said one. Strange, there was no news of Pope Francis visiting Venice today, and what is Villafranca? Perhaps this was just one of those splinter sects within the Catholic Church with their own particularly fervent devotions. (There's a group centered in the church of Santa Maria Formosa, for example, whose young married couples fervently devote themselves to procreation, unto the point of financial ruin.)

But from a distance the color and form of the image on the hoodies looked almost Nepalese or Thailandese. Until I walked close enough to recognize the old-school beehive papal headgear and that face--clearly not the face of Pope Francis, but familiar nonetheless (as you can see in the image below).

It's a commonplace to describe Venice as a city of stage sets, and yet it's always a surprise to find it literally being used as such. In this case for a series I've never seen, The Young Pope, with Jude Law. I didn't wait to see if he appeared or what happened next, I had real life errands to run.




Sunday, January 13, 2019

Venice Through a Porthole, This Afternoon


Some say that Venice is best seen, indeed was intended to be seen, from a boat. But sometimes, it seems, just some semblance of a boat--like this porthole window in the restroom of a restaurant situated on dry land--will suffice.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Witch- and Watercraft on the Grand Canal, This Morning

One of the most interesting boats on the water today was this gondola constructed of fruit crates that any customer of the Rialto Market will recognize (and anyone who stays in Venice for any longer than a few hours really should be a customer of the Rialto's produce or fish stands)

The Reale Società Canottieri Bucintoro celebrated today's Feast of the Epiphany with the 41st edition of its Regata de le Befane, featuring, as usual, five of its members dressed in the gear of the holiday witch who delivers sweets to the stockings of good children and coal to the bad.

It's nowhere near as long a race as the Regata Storica, nowhere near as big a production, and nowhere near as fiercely competitive, but the good feelings it inevitably conjures up among the crowds observing it from the Rialto Bridge and the Riva del Vin each January 6 make it an event worth attending.

Images of last year's race are here: https://veneziablog.blogspot.com/2018/01/witches-on-grand-canal-today-regata.html

After holding off early challenges...

the regata's pink-shawled winner led from start to finish
 
The second, third and fourth place finishers acknowledge the cheers of viewers along the Riva del Vin...

followed by the winner of the regata with her/his bandiera rossa

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Stone Menagerie on the Grand Canal


Because there's so much to take in on the vast facade of Ca' Persaro, it's surprisingly easy to overlook the grotesque strand of monumental animal heads running along its base, but here they are to begin the new year, and perhaps it's nice to fantasize that they might serve (as grotesques were once intended to do on facades) to keep evil spirits and malevolent forces at bay over the coming month--not just at Ca' Pesaro, but in Venice and the lagoon as a whole.

In any case, it's no simple to task to discern exactly which animal is supposed to be represented by each face--but that would be a topic for another post, and require a lot more images.