Monday, May 24, 2004

More Venice

Sorry I didn't write more last week. Corrie and I must be on the same page with our limited entries--not enough time to write. I have been busy working on other projects, mostly occupied by all of the paperwork and waiting for this permit to stay. ugh. it's horrible, but one day maybe i can actually be a resident here. here's hoping.

Anyway, I did want to continue talking about our little Venice honeymoon. It was great. The weather was constantly wonderful, which is odd lately since it's been raining since mid April. We left on Saturday and stopped over in Bologna to search for a caving-related birthday gift for Antonello (his birthday was the 15th), but we couldn't find what we wanted. Still, it was great "wander-through-Bologna" weather, and we stumbled across a happy church, saw stars hanging in a hardware store (cute little star lanterns--I wanted to shop there but Antonello said, "It's a hardware store!" so?), found, through the jumble of bad Italian address listings, a foggy little sports-related bookstore, and dined on slices of pizza and cokes. Then we caught a train up to Venice to finish off the afternoon.

The best parts of our trip to Venice are hard to determine, since a lot of Venice is just enjoying the scenery, the walks by green canals, the colors of the buildings with the sun shining on them. We had both been to Venice, but always apart, and this was a great opportunity to enjoy it together. We had fun, and we laughed...a lot. Antonello bought me a rose in the Piazza San Marco which I dropped by the Grand Canal and someone stepped on immediately (I know the funnier thing is that I dropped it, which must have happened a good 15 times before someone had the nerve to step on it!), and as we wandered the piazza at night, there was an orchestra that kept playing renditions of music from Fiddler on the Roof. As we looked at paintings by a local vendor, I had to translate everything into Italian for Antonello since the artist kept speaking to him in English (the artist then said he had pegged him for an American living in Chicago!).

In a sunny piazza on Sunday, we stopped in to a Tabaccheria to buy stamps for a couple of postcards, and Antonello recognized the owner. It was a friend from his military days! We talked to him for a few moments, their faces both cheerful smiles as they remembered together old times. The friend's wife smiled over at us as well, and two kids gathered around her feet. As we left, Antonello's friend took us aside and said "Kids are great, but wait a while!" I thought it was cute--this exhausted Venetian with his two kids and wife warning us diligently against planning a family too soon.

We did spend some time visiting various Venice churches and the like. The first day we wandered in circles toward the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, or just the Frari, as Venetians call it. It was rich with artistic treasures, including two amazing paintings by Titian, and a wonderful Madonna and Child by Bellini.

We also visited the palace behind it--the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. This confraternity houses what is probably the richest collection of works by the artist Tintoretto--some 50 canvases of his lining wall and ceiling like frescoes. It was ornate to the extreme, with gold detail everywhere, and intricate wood carvings on the walls. I was happy to find this, since I didn't know it even existed in Venice. It's amazing what you find in this city, hidden in churches behind canals that you get lost finding. Venice hides her richest treasures in the most remote places.

We left with two completed rolls of film, various gifts crammed into small bags and purses, the sun in our eyes, and the beauty of Venice vanishing behind us on the train ride home.



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