Ancient sagesDwight Peck's personal website

Venice street scenes, 2010

Oh, and the Lido, and Chioggia. And Torcello.

We wanted to go to Venice again. Paintings, history, decaying architecture, etc. But we can't afford it anymore. So we went to the Lido.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

A busy day in Venice, and a night at the opera

A boat as big as Venice steams into the harbor, and . . .

. . . and a smaller one sails out of it.

We've got off at St Elena, the small garden neighborhood at the near end of the island, in the Castello district, and we're strolling in towards the Arsenal.

It's much more laid back out here than in Piazza San Marco

Another leaning tower (or a leaning alley)

The church of San Pietro di Castello. In the old days (the very old days), this was the centre of Venetian life, and this was Venice's cathedral and seat of the patriarchate until that honor was removed to the Basilica of San Marco in 1807.

Mixed metaphors.
(The original throne of St Peter is also here somewhere, can you imagine.)

Just standing there, awaiting absolution for so much.

Now we're looking for the Arsenal.

The broad thoroughfare of the Via Garibaldi

Back out to the Riva, and the Saudi guy's swollen boat

The Tueq, world's 45th biggest, crew of 21, lots of luxury inside, you bet

You can go all round the world in your 72-metre luxury yacht (crew of 21), but you're still you. It must get tiring saying good morning to 21 crew members when you get up each day.

The Arsenal -- founded in ca.1100, the world's largest industrial site until modern times, 16,000 shipyard workers at its peak.

I read a tale once that the Doge impressed a visiting VIP by promising to build him a new galley whilst they were at dinner, and capped off dessert and coffee with a ride round the Venice Lagoon in his new ship.

They also built artillery here in the old days, and may have been the first to make light-weight artillery that could be hauled round on horse-drawn carts. Let's get a close-up of those Venice Lions.

Kristin loves nothing so much as a lion (except marmots and stray cats)

San Giovanni Battista, here in Bragora neighborhood, Castello district, where Mr Vivaldi, the noted musician, was baptised

Venice street scene


Ditto ditto. Venice has become so touristy that it's impossible to push your way through the crowds anymore. And the smell!

People seem always to be banging on about the noxious smell of Venice. I've never noticed it.

Another leaning tower (or a leaning canal)

Moka Efti Crazy Bar

Another dead end

A gondola convoy

-- I think we're lost.

We're looking for a nice place for lunch. I've seen probably a hundred in the past ten minutes, but Kristin has a more discerning eye.

-- How about this one? -- It's not perfect.

Kristin was right again, of course. We found the Ristorante Mondo Novo, in the Salizzada S. Lio between San Marco and the Rialto -- decent pizza, in an excellent walled garden

The S. Maria Formosa church, offering Pope Benedict's "digital testimony" -- Oh no, WHAT could he be testifying about now!?!?! The Chorus sign in the doorway indicates that this and 16 other churches can be got in for free with a € 10 year's pass (instead of € 3 for each) -- only the biggest tourist draws, like San Marco, are not included. Find a better deal anywhere.

I understood that the main reason that Catholic saints got sainted, apart from miracles and saintly life and martyrdom, etc., was because their bodies were incorruptible after death. This poor lady has really let the side down.

Venice alley scene

Quiet backwaters

More gondolas round every corner. Usually bored-looking passengers in sunhats, but sometimes with an accordion on board, and singing along. Venetian karaoke.

Window-shopping in the rain

Serious shopping for a € 3 umbrella

The fabulous church of S. Giovanni e Paolo (not on the Chorus freebie list), in the downpour

No flash allowed

Saints then and now

The Grand Canal in a downpour

The Rialto bridge in a downpour. We're fleeing back to the Lido to don our evening wear for the opera.

The front door of the Accademia glides past as we power down the Grand Canal.

The Accademia bridge (one of three over the Grand Canal), with S. Maria della Salute awaiting our passage lidowards

Ubiquitous advertising, and Santa Maria della Salute church

We're back in the evening, decked out in our opera finest, idling whilst we await the doors' opening.
This is the Hotel Ala, poignant memories as I stopped here in about 1978 with wee kids on more-or-less our first trip abroad.

Business hours posted

Kristin in opera-going clothes and a duck-your-head gondola

Our opera is in the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto (down there on the right), a private home hosting the Musica a Palazzo programme -- just brilliant (and cheap, by the standards of such things). Perhaps we're a little early, but I always prefer to hurry-up-and-wait.

That seems to be the place. Can it be?

Well, we'll see if anyone else shows up.

They do, and here we are, ready for Act II of Rossini's Barber of Seville -- fairly intimate setting, and the scenes move from room to room throughout the piano nobile floor of the palace as the performance progresses. The violinists, et al, pop up with their instruments in hand, but that's four pianos in place throughout.

It's a lovely house, and we also get the room by room tour between acts -- there's a Tiepolo on this ceiling, and a truckload of other 18th-century Venetian worthies on the walls and ceilings all over the shop.

Awaiting the final act -- a thoroughly professional performance (with a four-piece orchestral section, featuring a very lively pianist), with four voices, all excellent to my admittedly unschooled judgment.

Kristin checking out the mise en scène after the finalé

Walking back to the boat stop, competing late night music all over the Piazza San Marco

Venice, etc., in 2010

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 25 May 2010, revised 16 October 2013.

Recent Events