Wednesday, May 11, 2016

On and On

No matter how much you see in Venice there's always more.  Yesterday's destination was the Fondazioni Querini-Stampalia Museum and Library in the Castello sestiere or district, pretty much across town from our apartment.  It's a palazzo that belonged to the Querini family for centuries and is now refurbished to give you an idea of what such a house might have been like when it was liven in.  Enormous, elegant, full of art, including an important and lovely Bellini, a portion of it, including the garden, has been redesigned and built by the modern architect Carlo Scarpa.  This too is wonderful.  For some reason I'm not able to upload yesterday's photos but I'll keep trying.

But there's always more, as I said.  On the way to the Q-S we stopped for a coffee and found ourselves in front of the church of Santa Maria Formosa, another place we'd never been before.  We stepped inside for a peek and wound up buying the Chorus Pass which allows free entrance to over a dozen of the more interesting churches in Venice for a year.  With this in hand we headed later to the church called I Gesuiti, the most Baroque church in Venice, but on the way we passed Santa Maria dei Miracoli, a tiny perfect little church of the 15th century in pink and white and pale green marble with a horde of little children released from school shouting and running in front of it.  No respectful silence here!  The Chorus Pass got us in to gaze at the portraits of Biblical and religious figures in the 50 individual coffered sections of the ceiling, along with some charming statues of St. Francis and Santa Chiara, to whom the church is dedicated.

Okay, that makes two stops we hadn't planned but were excited to have stumbled upon.  I Gesuiti is even farther away, just off the Fondamenta Nove, where you get the boats to the islands.  After missing the turning a few times we arrived at a huge church with gigantic statues on the roof which were difficult to see because of the close quarters in Venice.  No matter.  The interior is where the real show is.  Unlike most of the churches we've seen here, this one could be in Rome, with its tortured columns and marble draperies and faux marble painting all over the walls.  Baroque to the nth degree.

And then the eternal question.  How do we get home?  The easier (not actually easy, just easier) way is to walk to the nearest vaporetto stop.  The more adventurous (not to say cheaper) way is to walk all the way back.  Hearty adventurers that we are, we set out, fortified by a coffee and a tramezzino, the ubiquitous triangular white bread sandwich sold in every cafe.  Through the throngs in the center of town, over the Rialto bridge, where a stop for a Prosecco at Naranzaria keeps up the theme of fortification, through San Polo, past the church of I Frari, over a couple more bridges, under a few sotoportegos, streets that run like tunnels beneath buildings, and finally home.  Thank goodness Gene is willing to give foot rubs.

A mediocre dinner in the neighborhood and so to bed, with thanks to Samuel Pepys. 

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