Sunday, May 15, 2016

Living in Another Century

Saturday morning was bright and sunny and our moods matched.  Gene and I set off to meet G and M to visit the Scuola San Rocco, a treasure house of Tintorettos virtually around the corner from the apartment.  The Scuola is one of the religious confraternities established to honor a particular religious figure, e.g. the Virgin, one saint or another.  These organizations are centuries old and are meant to do good works and honor their patron.  Scuola San Rocco has always been a particularly rich scuola and hired Tintoretto, a member of the scuola, to paint the ceilings and walls.  

The lower level is quite impressive, but the upper hall is breathtaking.  Virtually every inch is painted and painted beautifully, and whatever is not painted is carved or gilded.  Particularly striking is the consistency of vision.  It's rare to find a place like this done by the hand of the same master.  I wish my photos could do it justice.

Later in the day a different vision of the heyday of Venice was opened up by a visit to Ca' Rezzonico, the museum of 17th century Venice.  Built by one of the enormously rich and powerful Venetian families, it was allowed to deteriorate as so many of the palazzi were when the fortunes of the city and her ruling class declined at the beginning of the 18th century.  Restored and opened to the public, it offers a glimpse of what it must have been like to be Venetian aristocracy.  It was a little bit like too much rich cake covered with whipped cream.  I couldn't manage to get to the third floor to see the painting museum.

And the day spent in the past was not yet over.  We joined the organization called Musica a Palazzo which puts on considerably edited operas in multiple rooms of a faded palazzo with an excellent small orchestra and three very very good singers. We followed Violetta, Alfredo and Giorgio from salon to salon to bedroom as they put on La Traviata.  We were as close to them as if we were attending the same party and what a swell party it was.

Happily the palazzo is very close to the Gritti Palace hotel, so obviously we had to all go have a very expensive but well worth it drink on the terrace as the sun set.  We'll never be able to stay there but the budget will run to a glass of Prosecco and a fantasy.

Exhausted yet? So were we but it was then that the skies opened and the lightning and thunder started.  We dashed to the vaporetto station (thank god they cover them!) and got the next boat.  The continuing dash through the twisting streets to the apartment left us breathless and soaking, but so what. It was Venice, both good and less so.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Beautiful photos as always! Venice is beautiful even in the rain, but I'm glad you finally have better weather!