Archive for Venetian Events

Apr
25

70 years free

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Every year the city places laurel wreaths at the most important patriotic monuments. The most elaborate one, with an aureole of palm, is placed at the tomb of Daniele Manin.

Every year the city places laurel wreaths at the most important patriotic monuments. The most elaborate one, with an aureole of palm, is placed at the tomb of Daniele Manin.

April 25, as I have reported on other occasions, is a double holiday in Venice: The anniversary of the liberation of Italy after World War II (this year marking the 70th milestone), and the feast day of San Marco, the city’s patron saint.

And gentlemen must acquire a long-stemmed red rose (the "bocolo," in Venetian) to bestow on their lady love(s).  Here, gondolier Marco Farnea buys two -- one for his wife, the other for his gondola.  It's an extra-festive occasion, too, considering it's his name-day.

And gentlemen must acquire a long-stemmed red rose (the “bocolo,” in Venetian) to bestow on their lady love(s). Here, gondolier Marco Farnea buys two — one for his wife, the other for his gondola. It’s an extra-festive occasion, too, because it’s his name-day.

Either of those facts deserves reams, and reams are ready and waiting, thanks to phalanxes of historians.

I simply want to keep the world apprised — yes, I modestly claim to keep the WORLD apprised — of a date that deserves remembering.  And here, it’s remembered twice.

First, the roses:

Marco pushes off with the next boatload of clients, the two roses lying at his feet.

A quartet of firemen leaving the ceremony of the flag-raising in the Piazza -- one is already armed with his rose.

A quartet of firemen leaving the ceremony of the flag-raising in the Piazza — one is already armed with his rose.

The Red Cross sells the roses at a booth in the Piazza (as well as sending volunteers around). All for a good cause.

The Red Cross sells the roses at a booth in the Piazza (as well as sending volunteers around).  All for a good cause.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Independent rose sellers are all over our neighborhood all day. They sell mimosa on International Woman’s Day and umbrellas when it’s raining.

Yes, National Liberation Day is important, but this Venetian store makes it clear that tomorrow it will be closed because it's San Marco's day.

Yes, National Liberation Day is important, but this Venetian store makes it clear that tomorrow it will be closed because it’s San Marco’s day.  Any other reason is just extra.

Someone placed a bocolo on St. Paul's altar in the basilica of San Marco. I'm baffled, but I'm still glad to see it there. And no, you're not supposed to take pictures in the basilica. I'll never do it again.

Someone placed a bocolo on St. Paul’s altar in the basilica of San Marco. I’m baffled, but I’m still glad to see it there. And no, you’re not supposed to take pictures in the basilica. I’ll never do it again.

And second, the liberation itself, as seen in Venice.

The arrival of the American troops in Piazzale Roma on April 29, 1945.  Lino remembers running there with his friends, everyone was saying "The Americans are here."  He asked for chewing gum, like all the other children, and he got it, too.

The arrival of the Allied troops in Piazzale Roma on April 29, 1945. Lino remembers that everyone was saying “The Americans are here!”  He ran with his friends to see them, and they all asked for chewing gum, and they got it, too.

 

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Feb
17

Arrivederci Carnival

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I had no intention of going to the Piazza San Marco during Carnival, much less on Martedi’ Grasso, otherwise known (not here) as Mardi Gras, the last day of the fracas.

But the sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and we figured, why not?  So we went.

It was less chaotic than I had imagined, which was nice.  In fact, it verged on the placid.

And best of all, MY “Maria” won the pageant, and was crowned the Maria of 2015.  I was as shocked to discover my wish being fulfilled as I was the one night in my life that my bag was first onto the carousel at baggage claim at I can’t remember what airport.  And just as happy, too.

Here are some glances at the closing hours of revelry, not including the fireworks which we heard later on.  It seemed as if they were exploding from various points in the city and gave a satisfying concluding note to it all.

The contestants vying for the prize for best costume had very fine costumes,though not many were as original as what we saw outside the show ring.  This doge and his attendant (I'd have to study up on who his servant represented.  One of the Council of Ten?  Doubtful.)  The pair came from Palermo because they love Venice.  I myself thin it would have been much cooler for him to have dressed up as Roger II of Sicily, or some other local notable.  But that's just the way I think.

The contestants vying for the prize for best costume had very fine outfits, though not many were as original as what we saw outside the show ring. This doge and his attendant (I’d have to study up on who his servant represented. One of the Council of Ten? Doubtful.) came from Palermo because they love Venice. I myself think it would have been much cooler for him to have dressed up as Roger II of Sicily, or some other non-Venetian notable. Dressing as a doge in Venice is like dressing up as Wyatt Earp in Dodge City.

This extraordinary personage came into the special area (entrance ticket: 30 euros) a little late, and after a brief while departed.

This extraordinary personage came into the special area (entrance ticket: 30 euros) a little late, and after a brief while departed.

I imagine that after a while, she needed a place to sit down and rest her stilts.

I imagine that eventually she needed a place to sit down and rest her stilts.

I'm always glad to see some costume that isn't an 18th-century-powdered-wig-tricorn-hat-walking-stick-beauty-spot event.  No matter how elaborate that sort of outfit may be (and the gowns almost always look as if they're made of upholstery fabric), it's a look that isn't very imaginative, and becomes very monotonous.  So this turbaned wonder gets points from me.

I’m always glad to see some costume that isn’t an 18th-century-powdered-wig-tricorn-hat-walking-stick-beauty-spot conglomeration. No matter how elaborate that sort of outfit may be (and the gowns almost always look as if they’re made of upholstery fabric), it’s a look that isn’t very imaginative, and becomes very monotonous. So this turbaned wonder gets points from me.

On the other end of the spectrum was this homegrown marvel, whose costume basically means nothing and whose sign (in Venetian) translates as: I've got a lion between my leg, grr grr meow meow."  Still, people were happy to be photographed with him, even if they didn't know what it said.

On the other end of the spectrum was this homegrown marvel, whose costume basically means nothing and whose sign (in Venetian) translates as: “I’ve got a lion between my legs, grr grr meow meow.” Still, people were happy to be photographed with him, even if they didn’t know what it said.

This astonishing family seems to have been born and bred in a pastry shop.  First I thought the cakes were fake, but now I'm not so sure.  If the hats are real, I want to be there when they bet against eating them.

This astonishing family seems to have been born and bred in a pastry shop. At first I thought the cakes were fake, but now I’m not so sure. If the hats are real, I want to be there when they bet against eating them.

Food as accessory.  I like it.  You don't have to keep it clean or find somewhere to store it.

Food as accessory. I like it. You don’t have to keep it clean or find somewhere to store it.

I like a lady who takes her rat out for a promenade.

I like a lady who takes her rat out for a promenade.

And I especially like that she gave the little rodent a Carnival mask.

And I especially like that she gave the little rodent a Carnival mask.

Yes, those are security people.  I believe they were armed; there was some publicity about extra surveillance of the piazza this year.

Yes, those are security people. I believe they were armed; there was some publicity about extra surveillance of the piazza this year.

And here is Irene Rizzi, the Maria of 2015, bigger than life on the jumbotron behind the stage.  She's all decked out in some Chinese headdress for reasons that were unclear, though the presenters were babbling something about Marco Polo and the spice trade.

And here is Irene Rizzi, the Maria of 2015, bigger than life on the jumbotron behind the stage. She’s all decked out in some Chinese headdress for reasons that were unclear, though the presenters were babbling something about Marco Polo and the spice trade.

The supreme moment of the afternoon was the closing event: Drawing a version of the Venetian flag up the same cable that the "Angel" had slid down, all the way to the top of the campanile of San Marco.  A small group of men sang the "Hymn of San Marco" in an oddly drifty, lounge-y way.  I'd have brought in trumpets, myself.

The supreme moment of the afternoon was the closing event: Drawing a version of the Venetian flag up the same cable that the “Angel” had slid down, all the way to the top of the campanile of San Marco. A small group of men sang the “Hymn of San Marco” in an oddly drifty, lounge-y way. I’d have brought in trumpets, myself.

And up it went.  The wind was very cooperative in adding verve to the procedure.

And up it went. The wind was very cooperative in adding verve to the procedure.

A man was waiting at the summit to wrangle the banner inboard.

A man was waiting at the summit to wrangle the banner inboard.

I think it's so wonderful that these three ladies came out that I do not know what else to say. I love them.

I think it’s so wonderful that these three ladies came out that I do not know what else to say. I love them.

IMG_5903  putt mardi crop

Sunset is totally the best time to be in the piazza.

Sunset is totally the best time to be in the piazza.

See you next year.

See you next year.

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Feb
10

Ready, aim, Carnival

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I don't know what the rest of this partyer looked like -- I was too busy admiring her hands and mask.  I love her mitten -- it's like a hunting glove for stalking smurfs. Don't let the word get out that you don't have to encumber your entire body with pounds of upholstery fabric, and a long ton of accessories, to be all dressed up for Carnival.

I don’t know what the rest of this partyer looked like — I was too busy admiring her hands and mask. I love her woolly handwarmer.  It’s like a hunting mitten for stalking Smurfs. Don’t let the word get out that you don’t have to encumber your entire body with pounds of upholstery fabric, and a long ton of accessories, to be all dressed up for Carnival.  There would be civil unrest.

For whatever reason, Carnival does not attract me anymore.

Headlines such as the one yesterday reporting on Sunday’s attendance:  “100,000 yesterday for the opening of Carnival” could have something to do with my lack of enthusiasm.  Headlines such as one today: “The purse-cutters have arrived,” referring to the young pregnant Bosnian women who now, to expedite the lifting of your wallet, have taken to slashing your handbag, could also be relevant.  Crowds, however amusingly dressed, make life awkward, at best, for most people except other dressed-up persons and, of course, the purse-cutters.

But let’s do a fast rewind on the festivities so far.  Last Saturday — the day which opens the 11-day clambake — we saw the first major organized entertainment: The Procession of the Marias.

The main reason we saw it is because it takes place mere steps from our front door.  Also, the weather was beautiful and it was great to be outside.  Also, the participants outnumbered the spectators (or almost).

The program is simple.  Everyone lines up in Campo San Pietro and wends their way slowly, and with great clamor, across the wooden bridge and along the fondamenta to the foot of via Garibaldi.  Here the space opens comfortably and everyone has a chance to see the many costumed processioners, and the Marias themselves, close up.

“Everyone” includes the Marias (obviously), the phalanx of young men assigned to carry the Marias, and abundant and varied troupes of trumpeters, drummers, knights, commoners, banner-twirlers, and the doge and his wife and some Venetian senators and councilors, all in vaguely Renaissance garb.

The girls are loaded onto their respective wooden platforms, hoisted on the shoulders of their bearers, and carried at the head of the procession all the way to the Piazza San Marco, where they mount the stage and are generally admired and photographed.  On February 16, the penultimate day of Carnival, the Maria of 2015 will be chosen and crowned.

In case this doesn’t sound like much of a big deal, the Maria of today will become the “Angel” of next year, sliding down a wire from the top of the campanile of San Marco to the pavement on the opening day of Carnival.

Here are some things I enjoyed seeing this year.  Yes, there were things I enjoyed.  Briefly.

Not really marching, more like strolling.  The important thing is not to stop suddenly.  Or at all.

Not really marching, more like strolling. The important thing is not to stop suddenly. Or at all.

I’m guessing that the three life-size paperdolls (which ought to be of wood), recall the eventual fate of the Marias and their festival. Conflict and strife arose between the participating families (when your daughter’s in a beauty contest with really rich prizes, you tend to get tetchy), so the Serenissima substituted Marias made of wood, and when nobody was happy with those, stopped the festival altogether. That was in 1379, so I guess they made their point.

    I like the lookers at least as much as the looked-upon.

I like the lookers at least as much as the looked-upon.

This little guy was my favorite. But why is he trapped behind the window? Everybody else has got their windows open and their mufflers on.

This little guy was my favorite. But why is he trapped behind the window? Everybody else has got their windows open and their mufflers on.

The grandmothers are hardier than anybody.

Case in point.

The Marias had lovely costumes but I was appalled to see that they had spent the morning in hairdo hell.  When you consider the labor involved in arranging all this hair, and applying 146 layers of hairspray, not to mention the pain, they might as well have gone one step further and just worn wigs.

The Marias had lovely costumes but I couldn’t stop looking at their hair.  They must have spent the morning in hairdo hell, the tonsorial equivalent of Scarlett O’Hara getting laced into her corset. When you consider the labor involved in arranging all this hair, and applying 146 layers of hairspray, not to mention the pain, they might as well have gone one step further and just worn wigs.

I've already picked my favorite, if anybody cares.  No idea what her name is, but if she doesn't win, I'm going to have to take action.

I’ve already picked my favorite, if anybody cares. No idea what her name is, but if she doesn’t win, I’m going to have to take action.

Let the procession proceed, immortalized by the everlasting selfie.

Let the procession proceed, immortalized by the everlasting selfie.

He may be asking the Carnival equivalent of "What's the weather up there?"

He may be asking the Carnival equivalent of “How’s the weather up there?”

And the caravan moves on, up via Garibaldi toward the Riva degli Schiavoni.  Better keep moving while the sun's still shining because as soon as it starts to set, the cold will make your hair break off.

And the caravan moves on, up via Garibaldi toward the Riva degli Schiavoni. Better keep moving while the sun’s still shining because as soon as it starts to set, the cold will make your hair break off.

These are major trumpeters, evidently saving their fanfares for the Piazza San Marco.

These are major trumpeters, evidently saving their fanfares for the Piazza San Marco.

Bringing up the rear is a quartet of "sbandieratori," or banner-throwers-and-twirlers.

Bringing up the rear is a quartet of “sbandieratori,” or banner-throwers-and-twirlers.

Moving on to the next banner-throwing stop.

Moving on to the next banner-throwing stop.

Speaking of banners, I have no idea what regiment, nation, creed or sport this might belong to, but it looked great in the wind.

Speaking of banners, I have no idea what regiment, nation, creed or sport this might belong to, but it looked great in the wind.

And the Maria-cade moves on toward the distant Piazza San Marco.  Better them than us.

And the Maria-cade moves on toward the distant Piazza San Marco. Better them than us.

No pressure, but if you know one of the judges, remind him or her that this is the winner.

No pressure, but if you know one of the judges, remind him or her that this is the winner.

Categories : Venetian Events
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Jul
31

Santa Marta: party on!

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"La Vigilia di Santa Marta" (The Eve of Santa Marta) by Canaletto. c. 1760.  (wikigallery).  The view is looking toward the mainland, with a glimpse of the island of S. Giorgio in Alga.  That myriad of illuminated boats is either late, or all in the Giudecca Canal.

“La Vigilia di Santa Marta” (The Eve of Santa Marta) by Canaletto. c. 1760. (Wikigallery.org). This view shows the Zattere, with the church of Santa Marta the last building in the distance.  I realize that they did not have stadium lighting back then, but I’d have hoped to see more of the famous illuminated boats.  I think he was paying too much attention to the geometry of the painting and not enough attention to what was really going on.  Or maybe that’s just my way of saying “I wish I’d been there.”

July 29, as all the world knows, is the feast day of Santa Marta.  Or in any case, now the world knows.

She is essentially forgotten here; her church has been deconsecrated, swallowed and partially digested by the Maritime Zone, and her celebration — once one of the greatest of the many great festivals here — is gone forever.  Only a painting by Canaletto brings us the tiniest (and darkest) glimpse of what was once a very big night in Venice.  Her name today is used mainly to refer to the adjacent neighborhood.

The reason I didn’t get this post finished by July 29 is because I got lost reading assorted accounts, some of them first-hand, about this uber-fest. It didn’t take me long to conclude that the fabled feast of the Redentore, which has remained a very big deal, was really nothing so remarkable compared to Santa Marta’s.  The Redentore had fireworks, it’s true, but Marta had fresh sole.

Fish was an excuse for a colossal boating party?  Why not?  The Venetian civil and religious calendar was bursting with events of every type and voltage. A very short list would note the festivals of Santa Maria della Carita’, Palm Sunday, S. Stefano, “Fat Thursday,” May 1, or the Doge’s Visit to the Monastery of the Virgins, S. Isidoro, the taking of Constantinople (1204), the regaining of Candia (1204), S. John the Baptist “Beheaded,” Sunday after Ascension Day, the victory over Padua (1214), the defense of Scutari (1479), the victory of Lepanto (1571), S. Rocco, Corpus Domini, the victory of the Dardanelles (1656), and the conquest of the Morea (1687).  These are just a few of the major events; the Venetians also commemorated defeats. There was something going on almost every day.

But there was always room for more, and although Santa Marta couldn’t claim to have sponsored any particular victory, discovery, or other noteworthy occurrence, her feast day conveniently fell in the period when the weather was suffocatingly hot, and the sole were in season.  Plus, her church was located on a little lobe of land facing lots of water, and there was a beach.  All this says “Put on your red dress, baby, ’cause we goin’ out tonight” to me.

Joan Blaue's map of the late 1600's shows the peninsula crowned by the church of Santa Marta, but I don't see a beach.  On the other hand, I do see rows of rafts formed of logs -- "zattere" -- in front of their eponymous stretch of waterfront.  Nice.

Joan Blaue’s map of the late 1600’s shows the peninsula crowned by the church of Santa Marta, but I don’t see a beach. On the other hand, I do see rows of rafts formed of logs — “zattere” — in front of their eponymous stretch of waterfront. Nice.

On Ludovico Ughi's 1729 map, "Pictorial Representation of the Illustrious City of Venice Dedicated to the Reign of the Most Serene Dominion of Venice," we see something like beach surrounding Santa Marta's headland.  To each cartographer his own.

On Ludovico Ughi’s 1729 map, “Pictorial Representation of the Illustrious City of Venice Dedicated to the Reign of the Most Serene Dominion of Venice,” we see something like beach surrounding Santa Marta’s headland. To each cartographer his own.

And how that little lobe of land looks today.  The big docks at Tronchetto were built in two stages in the 20th century, and Santa Marta (lower right corner of land) has become an afterthought.

And this is how how that little lobe of land looks today. The big docks at Tronchetto were built in two stages in the 20th century, and Santa Marta (lower right corner of land) has become an afterthought. (www.panoramio.com)

The basic components were: Everybody in Venice, either on land or on the water, regardless of social station or disposable income; every boat in Venice — so many boats you could hardly see the water, festooned with illuminated balloons and carrying improvised little arbors formed by frondy branches; music, song and dance, and lots and lots of fresh sole.

A "genteel" sole, who was more the star of the evening than Santa Marta herself.

A “genteel” sole, who was more the star of the evening than Santa Marta herself.

July is the season for sfogi zentili, or Solea vulgaris, and while the Venetians could bring their own vittles, plenty of them also bought the fish which had just been saute’d, either on the beach or on the street by enterprising entrepreneurs.  If you were really in luck, there would be moonlight, too.

The best and most famous chronicler of this party was Giustina Renier Michiel, who was born in 1755 and belonged to several  patrician Venetian families.  She spent 20 years researching her six-volume work, Origine delle Feste Veneziane (1830), but the fact that she had personal memories of many of these events makes her books exceptional.

I started to translate what she wrote about the feast of Santa Marta, but she went on so long, and her style sounded so curious in English, that I became tired and discontented.  So I’m going to give some bits and summarize the rest.  Anyway, it’s clear that the event was so phenomenal that even people who saw it finally gave up trying to describe it adequately or coherently.

Here is her version of how the festa was born:

In the old days many groups went out in certain boats to fish for sole, the best fish that one eats in July.  (Lino concurs with date and description.)

And in the evening they would go back to the beach by the church of Santa Marta and feast on the fish, enjoying the cool air that restored their depleted strength after the labor of fishing, as well as the heat of the season.

Later on, as the population became richer, and softness set in, the work of fishing was left to the poor people, who had to do it in order to live, and what used to be a fatiguing labor changed into a singular entertainment.”

My version: It didn’t take long for everybody else in Venice to say “A cookout on the beach?  We’re on our way.”  Everybody started making Santa Marta’s Eve a great reason to head for her neighborhood and eat fish, garnished and enlivened by the classic saor sauce of sweet-sour onions.  It was like a gigantic clambake, a barbecue, a luau, for thousands and thousands of people.

Obviously the beach was too small for everybody, so the boats made themselves at home on the Giudecca Canal, “whose waters could only be seen in flashes, and almost seemed to be strips of fire, agitated by the oars of so many boats that covered the water and which doubled the effect of the lights which were on the boats.”

A peota c. 1730. Every noble family had one and they were just the thing for big events.

The “Bucintoro dei Savoia,”also called the “Bucintoro del Po,” is the only surviving example of a Venetian peota of the 18th century.  It was built in 1730 by a squero on Burano for Carlo Emmanuele III di Savoia and is now the property of the Civic Museums of Torino.  Most noble families had one, and they were just the thing for big events such as the Regata Storica, processions honoring doges and kings, and alfresco picnics featuring a big fish fry.

The patricians came out on their fabulously ornate peote, and often carrying musicians who sang and played wind instruments.  There were scores of the classic fishing boat called a tartana, draped with variously-colored balloons and loaded with laughing families and friends.  There were artisans in their battellos, and hundreds of light little gondolas, and plenty of gondolas da fresco, and there were even the burchielle, the heavy cargo boats that carried sand and lumber.  If it could float, it joined the vast confusion of boats being rowed languidly in every direction, or tied up along the Zattere where there was just as much happy turmoil ashore.

Or, if you were a fisherman, you might come out in an equaly impressive (in its way) boat -- a caorlina da seragia.  Only a few still exist, and this very old craft has retained its original pitch waterproofing.  You could fit several families, aristocratic or otherwise, into this monster.

Or, if you were a fisherman, you might come out in an equally impressive (in its way) boat — a caorlina da seragia. Only a few still exist, and this very old craft has retained its original pitch waterproofing. You could fit several families, aristocratic or otherwise, into this monster.

Or if all you had was a little s'ciopon, you'd have bedecked it too, and come out with the food and family.

Or if all you had was a little s’ciopon, you’d have bedecked it too, and come out with the food and family.

The Gazzetta Urbana of 1787:  “Along this riva, called the Zattere, the cafe’s and bars are crammed to overflowing with people.  There are tables set up outside their doors, and everything is so lit up that it seems to be daytime.

“The passage (of people) in all the streets leading to Santa Marta was dense and continuous, and the splendid gathering at the Caffe of San Basegio, at the head of the Zattere, formed a separate spectacle, in which our Adriatic beauties, wearing modern shimmering caps in the Greek style, ornamented with plumes, inflamed with their glances the hearts of the young men who, like butterflies, always flutter around the flare of a woman’s beauty.”

Also amid the throng were little ambulatory kitchens — a man with a basket of sole would put two stones on the ground, then lay two bunches of sticks crosswise on them, light a little charcoal under them, pour some oil in a pan, and stand there bawling for business.  He kept a container of saor ready to put on the fish.

Renier Michiel:  “The entire length of this district was full of a grand concourse of people, moving toward the piazza of Santa Marta which was the best vantage point to enjoy the spectacle.  On the piazza there were more food vendors, some of them selling roast chicken.  There is a racket of cups, plates, the yells of the vendors, the music from the boats on the water. Every house is transformed into a sort of tavern where people eat and drink, and there was perfect joy and harmony.”

“Perfect joy and harmony”?  How can this be (apart from the fact that she was looking back on it, years later, when the festival was gone forever)?

I think it’s because Santa Marta was secretly taking care of people. She is the patroness of cooks, butlers, laundry-workers, servants,  housewives, and waiters. Though I suppose you could just say “housewives” and leave it at that.

Because as Santa Marta, and 99 percent of women on earth, can attest, while some people at a party are laughing and scarfing the canapes and playing with the dog and singing comic songs and reveling in industrial-size helpings of joy and harmony, there’s at least one person somewhere in the background doing everything to make it seem as if there is absolutely nothing that needs to be done.

And I have no doubt that when the boats went home at dawn on July 29, there was somebody who had to put the boat away and swab the bilge and pick up every single fishbone, as well as deal with the dishes and the wine- and saor-stained clothes.  Behind every great saint is somebody with a bucket and mop, I say.

You can barely make out the once-fabled "Punta Santa Marta" from the roof of the Molino Stucky Hilton.

You can barely make out the “Punta di Santa Marta” from the roof of the Molino Stucky Hilton.

The church of Santa Marta in 1934 was already feeling the encroachments of the railway.  Trains came down onto the waterfront to deliver or collect cargo to the ships in the maritime zone.  No more beach.

The church of Santa Marta in 1934 was only slightly in the way of progress.  Trains came down onto the waterfront to deliver or collect cargo to the ships in the maritime zone.  No more beach.

There's still a church in there somewhere behind the parking lot.

There’s still a church in there somewhere behind the parking lot.  Ex-church, that is, restored and now used as an exhibition space. Nice that it’s not falling to ruin, but any possible trace of character or history has been thoroughly expunged.

I realize that it wasn't ever the most heavily decorated church in Venice, but we seem to have gone to a real extreme here.

I realize that it wasn’t ever the most heavily decorated building in Venice, but they seem to have gone to the opposite extreme here.  Seen from this angle, it could be a Potemkin church.

To review in closing: This entire area of water was completely covered with illuminated boats full of people singing and eating and laughing and being happy. Especially if July 28 was a Saturday and they didn't have to work the next day.

To review in closing: This entire area of water was completely covered with illuminated boats full of people singing and eating and laughing and being happy. And I think it’s safe to say that most of them were not tourists. That’s something else to recall occasionally — that Venice had an amazing life that had nothing to do with tourism.  Seem strange?  They’d think we’re even stranger.

 

 

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