It’s always interesting to check out the ongoing restoration work and see what’s covered and what’s been unveiled. Work is going on right now at three major landmarks: Piazza San Marco, the Salute, and the Accademia. The dome of the Salute looks like some kind of spaceship or alien beehive to me. Strangest scaffolding I’ve ever seen, and I didn’t see any work going on while I was there. I hope it’s really restoration work and not some kind of permanent metal brace to hold that beautiful dome up!
The Accademia, while still open, is completely shrouded with scaffolding and the inside is in a bit of disarray. This is a project I’m very excited about – they are expanding the museum in order to put more of the collection on display; evidently there’s quite a bit of art in storage (250 paintings!) which will be displayed when the work is done.
I feel a bit sorry for people who are visiting Venice for the first time because there’s a lot of work going on in Piazza San Marco and that first breath-taking view of the Basilica just isn’t there right now. There are fences and scaffolding around the flag poles in front, and several sections of the Basilica itself are covered up. And right before I left, they began fencing off the campanile in preparation for restoration work which is supposed to continue until 2009. You can see all the fencing and such on the webcam.
It’s always exciting to see the freshly restored stuff. There’s an unveiled section of the Basilica that I’d never seen before (the part with Daniele Manin’s tomb, see right). The façade of San Zaccaria was draped last year but it’s uncovered now and looks amazing, and the high altar of the Gesuiti is visible now in all its Rococo glory. I finally got to see the Bellini painting in the church of San Giovanni Grisostomo; it was gone for a couple of years while work was going on inside that church. I also saw the recently restored frescoes in the sacristy of San Salvador for the first time, and they are gorgeous!
In other restoration news, the façade of San Simeon Piccolo is still covered up with an Armani ad but the church is open for Mass. The church of San Michele in Isola is closed for restoration as is Sant' Isepo. San Sebastiano is open but there’s a lot of work going on inside, and some altars and the floor are covered. There’s also restoration work going on inside San Pietro in Castello; the church is open but several of the chapels are draped and St. Peter’s Throne has been moved out. Several of those old lions at the Arsenale are draped. The Scala del Bovolo is closed; you can see the spiral staircase but the rest of the building is covered and you can't climb the stairs right now.