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June 2008 Archives

June 2, 2008

Going to Mass, part two (Pala d'Oro)

paladoro

During my most recent trip, I went to Mass in San Marco on December 8 for The Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The Basilica was completely full (they even had video screens for people in the “no view” seats, and something about the sight of modern technology in that ancient church really amused me), and the Mass was conducted by the Patriarch of Venice who only does a few Masses a year on high holy days. The Mass lasted for an hour and a half, and I was not in the least bit bored because I was in my favorite church in the world, the music was gorgeous, all the pomp and circumstance seemed holy and beautiful, and it just felt great to be there.

The Patriarch (Angelo Cardinal Scola) has a lot of charisma, and he even gave messages in different languages. His English message was something about “the mystery and beauty of this great cathedral – may it give you hope” which of course it does, because I love that church so much! And then he said, “Have a nice stay in Venice.”

But the best part was the fact that the Pala d’Oro, that amazing golden altar screen, was turned around to face the people (most of the time, it’s flipped around so that they can charge us a Euro or so to go back and look at it). It's only turned around on high holy days and this was the first time I'd seen it like that. Beautiful!

paladoro2

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June 5, 2008

San Vio

San Vio

I was so charmed by this place when I first saw it on my way to the Guggenheim museum during my first trip to Venice. So cute and I love those stripes! San Vio is a lovely little campo and one of the very few with a Grand Canal view – the red park benches are a nice (and free) place to sit, rest your feet, and watch the world go by on the canal.

This church was founded in 912 and it's another church with a nickname – San Vio is short for Santi Vito e Modesto, a couple of Sicilian saints. In 1310, there was an attempt to overthrow the Venetian government, and the rebels were squashed on June 15, St. Vito’s feast day, and so the Republic rebuilt and expanded this church to honor and express gratitude to the saint. Decorative elements from the defeated rebel Bajamonte Tiepolo’s palazzo were removed and used to decorate the façade of the church. And every year on June 15 for the next 400-plus years, the Doge and the Senate visited this church in a grand processional parade to thank the saint some more.

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June 6, 2008

Blessed Contessa Tagliapietra

Yesterday’s article about the church of San Vio included a sweet story about the little Contessa walking on the water across the Grand Canal, and I decided to see what else I could find out about this girl.

The E.V. Lucas version of the story says that the little Contessa Tagliapietra lived in sestiere San Marco and walked across the Grand Canal to get to the church of San Vio in sestiere Dorsoduro. Well….I found a couple of other books that claim that she lived in campo San Vio and that she really walked across the canal to get to her favorite church of San Maurizio! I had to laugh. I guess it doesn’t really matter which direction she was going – it’s the “walking on water” part that really counts. I did find a few more details about her life though.

It seems that this noble born Venetian girl lived from 1288-1308, and she was a beautiful and devout child who loved to go to church everyday. When it came time for her father to arrange a marriage for her, he forbade her from going out alone (even to church), and he paid the gondoliers not to row her across the canal (the Accademia bridge didn’t exist at that time). So that’s when she walked across. One version says that she took her apron off, put it on the water and stepped on it, and it propelled her across the Grand Canal like a jet ski (well, it didn’t say that, but that’s the image I get). Another version says she walked on a thread from her dress.

The story of this miracle quickly spread around town, and marriage proposals poured in. I’m sure she was tempted to say “so there” to her father but maybe not, since she was almost a saint. She refused to marry anyone and then died at age 20.

Legend has it that the whole city came to her funeral and she was buried in the church of San Vio. She wasn’t ever declared an actual saint but instead she was beatified which gave her the title “Blessed.” And for centuries, Venetian mothers brought their newborn infants to her tomb in San Vio because it was believed that her blessing and protection would keep the children safe from drowning. It’s a nice story! But now I wonder what happened to her body when they tore the larger church down…

June 7, 2008

PhotoHunt: Bad Hair Day

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Today's theme is "Bad Hair." This collection is going to fun to look at, I think!

Here's mine....amazing how much fun you can have with a Carolina Blue wig! I think my nephew looks like Thing One and/or Thing Two from Dr. Suess.

bad hair

bad hair 2

bad hair 3


June 9, 2008

More beautiful bricks and a nice shrine

More beautiful Venetian bricks and a sweet little shrine with a salmon-colored Madonna inside...

salmon madonna shrine

inside salmon madonna shrine

June 11, 2008

The girls (LuLu and Maria)

LuLu

LuLu in window

Maria

Maria

Well, we are a happy family now. LuLu has accepted Maria, and I no longer have to keep Maria in her saferoom although I do make her sleep in there because otherwise, LuLu and I wouldn’t get any rest!

It’s kinda funny that here I am with two cats, and I didn’t go out to adopt either one of them, both of them just showed up at my house! A co-worker’s husband said that the cats were given to me by the Egyptian goddess Bastet, who is some kind of mystical protector of cats who helps them find their chosen person. I had to google Bastet since I’d never heard of her and sure enough, she’s an ancient cat goddess who’s been around for over five thousand years.

Yesterday at the vet, a nurse took one look at Maria and laughed and said, “She looks like Trouble!” I had to laugh too because it’s just so true! Don’t let that angelic face fool you, she is a Wild Child. Sometimes LuLu looks at me with this long-suffering expression as if to say, “Do you really think it was a good idea to bring this crazy creature into our nice peaceful home?” That’s usually after Maria has pounced on LuLu’s head or bitten her tail or harassed her in some way. No bloodshed between them, but I have scratches all over my legs where Maria has tried to climb me. She is so wide open and so much fun to watch. She does this little “spook dance” that cracks me up….she arches her back like the classic Halloween cat and then hops around flat-footed on all four feet, it’s hilarious.

LuLu is being remarkably patient. We haven’t had any sweet cuddly naps or grooming like Andasamo has had, but they do play and chase and wrestle. And I think LuLu is enjoying the company for the most part. When LuLu first showed up on my back porch and I decided to take her in, I had two dogs, both of whom have passed away since then. LuLu loved those dogs so much, and she’s a pretty outgoing and social cat overall, so I think it’s good that she has a sister now.

Maria has gained one pound in the past three weeks since I got her, so she’s up to 2.5 pounds. She started getting her shots yesterday which wasn’t too traumatic, although she hollered all the way to the vet and all the way back home; she did not like being closed up in her carrier. The vet said she’s a happy healthy kitten.

Photos by Stan (thanks!)


Continue reading "The girls (LuLu and Maria)" »

June 14, 2008

PhotoHunt: Emotion(s)

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This week's theme is "Emotion(s)." I'm going with fear.

Ever wonder why we say "I'm chicken" when we're afraid to do something?

IMG_1792

I was walking along and saw this guy out of the corner of my eye. At first, I thought it was a yard sculpture but then he moved, so I got out my camera and he kindly posed. He wasn't scared of me at all! And as I walked away, he cock-a-doodle-do'd.

There's another phrase used to describe someone experiencing fear - "scaredy cat." That one makes no sense...my cats aren't afraid of anything!

Happy weekend!

June 17, 2008

One of my favorites

It's pretty tough to pick a favorite Madonna in a city like Venice that is home to tens of thousands of wonderful images of her, but I definitely put this one in my Top 20. She looks vaguely Byzantine and iconic, and I love the design and colors. Looks like this one is ceramic tile, perhaps.

window and shrine


Cannaregio 2319


byzantine madonna

June 21, 2008

PhotoHunt: Water

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This week's theme is water, so here are a couple that I took in Venice this past December.

Reflections in a canal

reflections

A water door. You can see the range of the tide levels on this building.

Water door

June 23, 2008

Mary, Queen of Peace

One thing I learned during my December trip is that you can almost always find a shrine inside a sotoportego (the covered passageways that are all over Venice) or on a street named for the Madonna (and there are many of those!).

This is one in Castello in a sotoportego off Via Garibaldi, not far from the church of San Francesco di Paola. This one's very elegant with all that gold.

Thanks so much to Maria I who told me who this is in the shrine (Mary, Queen of Peace) and translated the line under "Ave Maria":

"Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis" (Queen of Peace, Pray for Us)

I love our blogging community. Thanks Maria I!

another shrine

gold madonna detail

June 25, 2008

San Stae

San Stae facadeThis isn’t one of my favorite churches in Venice by any stretch, but one of my best and most memorable church VISITS was to this one because of the big surprise I found inside when I went for the first time. One of the few churches on the Grand Canal, this is the place to come for 18th century Venetian painting and if you are lucky (like me), some modern art too.

This church is dedicated to San Eustachio (St. Eustace) who, in the quirky world of the Venetian dialect, morphed into San Stae. San Eustachio was a second century Roman general who was out hunting one day and saw a vision of Christ in between a stag’s antlers, so he converted to Christianity, endured a bunch of Job-like trials, and was eventually martyred.

The church often hosts temporary art exhibits and concerts (it’s known for great acoustics) and is also one of the exhibition sites for the Biennale, Venice’s famous biannual extravaganza of contemporary art from around the globe.

angel on campanile (San Stae)


Continue reading "San Stae" »

June 28, 2008

PhotoHunt: Bright

Angel on Palazzo Ducale

This week's theme is "bright." This angel on the corner of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice looks like she is averting her eyes from the sunlight.

Have a nice weekend!

June 30, 2008

The Case of the Missing Earrings

I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago and when I got home, I discovered that I was missing one earring from my favorite pair. I emailed the folks at the college where the conference was held to see if I’d dropped it in the dorm where I stayed, but they couldn’t find it. The earrings aren’t valuable but they are my favorite dangly ones, plus a friend made them so they have great sentimental value. I was bummed!

A few days later, another earring was missing. I was starting to get suspicious but I didn’t have any proof. Then I came home from work one day and found a completely different earring lying on the hallway floor.

I do have a jewelry box (with a lid) on my dresser in the bedroom, but I also have several ceramic dishes where I throw jewelry that I wear often. The next day, I found another earring on the floor of my bedroom.

Finally, I caught the perpetrator in the act. It was Maria the magpie kitten who has developed a fascination with shiny objects, it seems. I walked into the bedroom and found her on the dresser rummaging through my stuff and then she hooked one earring with one of her claws and jumped down and ran off with it. She soon dropped it and went on to other mischief (she doesn’t have much of an attention span).

So after that, I did a thorough search of the house, under the beds and behind the sofa, and found all missing earrings including my favorite one. Everything is now in the jewelry box with a lid where Miss Sticky Paws can’t get to it. Case closed, mystery solved.

Here’s the guilty party:

Maria innocent

This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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