Saturday, December 26, 2015

Another Kind of White Christmas (Fog)--and The Waiting Room of the Dead

"All is calm, all is bright..."

After a clear day, and sunny late afternoon, fog arrived last night and blanketed the city in its own way.

Though, in truth, the small white building at right in the image above puts me more in the mood of Halloween than Christmas, as it was formerly used as a place where unidentified corpses were kept in the hope that someone might recognize them before they were finally laid to rest.

This is something I remember reading in a book about Venice, but try as I might I haven't been able to remember, or locate, exactly which one. One of the most likely sources, Jan Morris's famous book on Venice, refers to the Ponte di Paglia as the place where unidentified bodies found, say, by fishermen were laid out. (A little fact that one can be almost certain never occurs to the multitudes of folks crowded on it to gaze at, and be photographed in front of, the Bridge of Sighs.)

The little white building above (located near near the church of Santa Maria Formosa) is now a bar, and one day I briefly considered inquiring of the people working inside if they knew anything about its former use. But considering how uncomfortable such knowledge might make certain people I didn't want to risk being the one to alert a barista or proprietor about something of which they were perhaps pleasantly unaware.

In other words, the fog in the image above also reflects the state of my own memory in regards to this place--but perhaps someone who reads this will have a clearer recollection of the matter.


  1. Beautiful picture.
    This is the kind of story I like to read, I mean, something else than the ones we find in every travel guide.
    There is always something new and interesting on your blog. Thank you for sharing all your stories and discoveries.
    Felice anno nuovo.

    1. Thanks very much, Line, the history of that building is just something I think of every time I pass by it--but I wish I could remember my source for that account of it. I'm afraid there's nothing new to be said about Venice, as everyone says, but I'm happy if you find things in the blog that interest you.

  2. Somewhere in the fogs of my mind, I have either read about this, or been told about it. But, I have no hard facts to put before you. That's so Venice, eh?

  3. Aha! It was from Fausto. His excellent blog (now in quiescence) is crammed with information about the real Venice

    1. Wait a minute, Yvonne, that both is and is not an answer! I know and like the blog, and believe it would be a good place to find it, but how? For 2010 alone Fausto put up 367 posts! More than one a day! I don't know how he managed it, that's really amazing. Perhaps I can do a search. But, originally, I do think I came across the info in a book: it's such a different experience reading from a page vs from a screen that I remember that, if nothing else. But thanks for the lead!