Tuesday, December 15, 2015

In and Around Ospedale SS Giovanni e Paolo, This Morning

Once a year if you are a member of a gym--or before you're allowed to join one--Italian law requires that you take an electrocardiogram test to prove you're fit to continue to exercise (or start). It's a chance for your primary care physician to pocket an easy 30 euro, for that's what they charge to sign off on a letter stating that your electrocardiogram shows you to be suitable for "non-agonistica" (non-competitive) exertion.

But even this kind of errand, with its inevitable period(s) spent in biding or killing or wasting (depending on your mood) time in one waiting room or another, isn't so bad here. Seeing the sun coming up from the vaporetto stop for the Ospedale (top image) is rather nice--though, in truth, it's probably among the less picturesque vantage points in this excessively picturesque city.

And though the over-payment I made into the bancomat-style machine you must use here to pay for hospital services rendered meant that I had to go to another part of the hospital (and another waiting room), this extra jaunt took me past the monument below, left over from a time when the old cluster of buildings beside the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo concerned itself (at least ostensibly) with the health of the spirit rather than the body.

And, finally, I stopped in at the Scuola di San Marco on my way out of the hospital complex, which has continued to improve its displays since it reopened to the public two years ago: (http://veneziablog.blogspot.com/2013/11/la-scuola-grande-di-san-marco-re-opens.html). The ceilings, which Jan Morris singled out for praise a half century ago, remain glorious; the display of medical instruments and classic medical texts are fascinating; and I was particularly struck by something new (though actually very old) since the last time I visited: a detail of a 13th century mosaic originally in the one of the domes of the basilica of San Marco (bottom image).

While the ospedale itself is generally off-limits to casual visits, the Scuola di San Marco is open to all for a small fee, and worth a look: it's a great Venetian interior space.        


  1. Loved this post as I shall be living in an apartment looking out onto SS Giovanni e Paulo in Feb and March 16. So excited, and enjoying your blog so much. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Freda, I'm glad you like it, and you've picked a nice area to stay in (as you already know). I almost took a picture of the pair of transparent protective planes of whatever it is (plexiglas?) to protect some of the low reliefs on the front of the old Scuola di San Marco from the football playing that goes on in front of the entrance to the church pretty much every day after school. It's quite a scene in the campo after school, as you will learn, if you don't know already. I also like how the young kids all play around the base of Verrocchio's famous statue, WITHIN the surrounding iron barrier designed to keep them out, as if they, in fact, are within the confines of a playpen, while their parents chat nearby.

  2. It's a shame they couldn't be a bit more subtle with their fire safety equipment.
    Do you know what that doorway leads to?
    I was once escorted from the library by the dragon who guarded it in the days before it was generally open and photography was not allowed.

    1. Oddly enough, Bert, I kind of liked that fire safety equipment, perhaps precisely because it seemed to suggest that this was one place where the chief consideration was not tourism, but sheer utility in terms of the local population. This is rare. I liked the juxtaposition between past uses and present needs. But I don't know where that door goes. It's heading in the direction of SS Gio & Paolo, I wonder if it could possibly be a connection to it, but I'd have to look again and see how close it actually is to the church and whether the structure in which it features actually abuts the church or stops short. I know that just outside the door to the right is a couryard (giardino), one side of which consists of the church itself.