Dec
05

Do the math

By

Like Greek temples and Gothic cathedrals, back in the great days, many (if not most) Venetian palaces were painted — frescoed, that is — usually by the best painters around (Titian, Giorgione, Tintoretto, etc.). Palazzo Barbarigo alla Maddalena on the Grand Canal is one of the few that retains even slight traces of what once was sumptuous and ubiquitous decoration.  As far as I know, it’s not for rent even for the tiniest little party.

The latest overheard comment has left me floating, becalmed, in a pool of perplexity.

I was walking along toward the vaporetto stop at the Giardini, a route which is very heavily traveled, as you might imagine.  Excellent territory for hearing bits of conversation (as in “Is Paris beautiful?”).

A young man overtook me.  He was dressed in a sort of TriBeCa way with a long blond ponytail, but didn’t seem especially eccentric in any noticeable way.

He was talking on his cell phone, and what I heard, in English with a light British accent as he went by was:

“In any case, it will probably be cheaper to rent a palace on the Grand Canal.”

Cheaper than what?  Buying an island in the Maldives? Building an F-16?  Platinum-plating your armored Bugatti Veyron Super Sports car?

A person for whom renting a palace on the Grand Canal is cheaper than anything is a person … I don’t know how to finish this.  All I know is that renting a palace on the Grand Canal would not be the solution to any financial conundrum that I have now, or probably ever will have.  But should I ever win the lottery (which I intend to do, just as soon as I find the time), at least now I know how to evaluate my relative expenses.

But comes the dawn:  I mentioned this remark to my faithful computer necromancer on via Garibaldi and he wasn’t perplexed for even an instant.

“I think he was talking about where to hold a big party,” he said. “My  brother works as a freelance waiter, and on one occasion he asked if I wanted to work an event with him.” The costs of organizing a major party in a big hotel, he went on to explain, get to be pretty high. According to the numbers he cited at random, the package put together by an A-list hotel can reach an amazing total. If I understood him correctly, putting the event together on your own — venue, then catering from somewhere else, then something else from somewhere else, and on down the list of components — can actually turn out to be less.

I’m not commenting, I’m merely reporting.  You see?  If I carried hotel advertising on my blog, I couldn’t have written that.  But then again, I’d have been swamped by links to palaces, catering services, musicians, ventriloquists, florists, purveyors of candles  and the occasional epergne, renters of chairs and tables, and on and on till daybreak.

So I guess I’ll stay like I am.

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Categories : Venetian-ness

Comments

  1. Andrew says:

    When you get your invitation to the party ask for one for me please.

  2. Erla Zwingle says:

    Okay, sure. I can add you to my platoon of cousins.

  3. Debi says:

    Invitation for me too!!

  4. Charles says:

    Hi Erla,
    I came across this by accident and really enjoyed it, thanks. Great picture! But just a small correction: it’s not Palazzo Marcello but Palazzo Barbarigo (alla Maddalena), Cannaregio 2252. The surviving fragments of frescoes are attributed to Camillo Ballini, a follower of Titian and Palma il Giovane.
    Best wishes

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