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March 2010 Archives

March 1, 2010

March Madness (and a few more looks at Joey)

Happy March! For the past couple of years, a group of Slow Travel bloggers have joined in a February “blog everyday challenge.” This year, the challenge is called “March Madness” and honestly, I've been waffling about whether or not I was going to join in this year. But thanks to Kim, I'm in and going to go for it. I figure that even if I only manage to blog five days a week over the next month, it will be an improvement. Plus, I’ve got lots of Venice photos I haven’t shared yet, so there will probably be a bunch of those. You can see the rest of the mad bloggers in the list on my sidebar.

I’m going to start off the month with a few more photos of my new kitten, Joey. He is such a doll and has proven to be a wonderful addition to the family, though it was a bumpy ride at first (but nothing unusual; cats hate change and I didn’t expect LuLu and Maria to welcome him with open arms).

His first visit to the vet~


The vet was teasing him about being in Maria's girly pink carrier. Joey didn't seem to mind. :)


Relaxing at home in the cat bed. He's got the most beautiful golden eyes. ~


Continue reading "March Madness (and a few more looks at Joey)" »

March 2, 2010

Attenti !

When I was wandering around Torcello, I saw this "Beware of the Dog" sign on a house. I heard barking and kept on walking...


Pretty soon I saw the "scary" dog and had to laugh! He was barking loudly but also wagging his stubby little tail. Terrifyingly cute...


Then the next day when I was back in Venice, I was walking around looking for churches and shrines in the sestiere of San Marco, and saw this "Beware of the Cat" sign on the door of a house. This one really made me laugh. Didn't hear any meowing or hissing though, and saw no sign of the fearsome feline...


And then a couple of days later, I saw another "Beware of the Cat" sign on a calendar in a Venetian paper store window. This time the warning was in English! I really wanted to buy this calendar, but the store was closed.


March 3, 2010

Madonna of Calle del Forno


There are countless images of the Madonna all over Venice, both inside churches and museums and also out on the streets, inside shrines, and on buildings. So many beautiful ones but this rustic relief of the Madonna dell’Umilta is one of my favorites. She’s tucked away on a quiet residential street in Castello, set into the wall above a door (I didn’t stumble across this one by accident; I knew to go looking for her).

This 15th century relief is unique because it’s carved from wood rather than stone. According to Alberto Rizzi (Scultura Esterna a Venezia), this Madonna was most likely inside a shrine, but today the tabernacle is gone and only the icon remains.

She’s showing signs of age (at one time, the wood was painted but you can barely see the traces) but still, her smile is peaceful and there’s an air of serenity and joy around her. And what a fat and happy baby! He looks more like Buddha than Christ to me.

Thanks to A Lover of Venice for sharing the Rizzi info with me. And if you haven’t checked out ALoV’s website lately, please do. There are a number of new pages including the best collection of Venice links on the web, and also a “Photo of the Week” page. Walks though Santa Croce and San Polo have been added and also some amazing photos taken from a ship leaving Venice for Istanbul.


March 4, 2010

Steals sadness and washes you clean...

San Giorgio Maggiore

"Face masked, heart bare, she is a thief, this Venice. All limpid and luminous, she contains you in honeyed arms and dissolves longing. She steals sadness and washes you clean. A Byzantine in a Gothic dress, a golden Renaissance princess perfumed with cloves and sprung from a swamp, she is the untimid testimony to the greatest will and conceit of our kind. Once you hear her secrets - unselfconsciously told, echoing, scuttling across wet stones - you are richer, poorer, more vulnerable, and, somehow, unassailable. She provokes and invites; she is open when she is not sealed, mad with contrast and contradiction, rousing all but the most pinched of souls."

- Marlena de Blasi (from her cookbook, Regional Foods of Northern Italy)

March 5, 2010

PhotoHunt: Foreign


This week's theme is "Foreign."

Some themes are tough because you've just got too many photos that would work!

No surprise that I'm going to my favorite foreign (overseas) city for this one....a street shrine in Venice. Shrines were foreign to me growing up; I'd never seen one until I went to Europe. Now they are one of my favorite things to find and photograph.

Venice shrine

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


March 8, 2010

Madonna con Bambino

On a building somewhere in Dorsoduro~


Above the entrance to Santa Maria dei Miracoli, this one has a squirming baby Jesus~


In Castello, not far from the one I posted a few days ago on Calle del Forno~


March 9, 2010


Young%HeartA quick rave about this documentary - I enjoyed this film so much that I watched it twice before sending it back to Netflix. It’s about a senior citizen chorus (average age: 80 years young) who are immensely talented and inspirational. The film chronicles a couple of months of rehearsal in preparation for a big show, and you get to know several of the chorus members very well. I fell in love with all of them.

It’s hilarious in parts, also poignant, and has me hoping that I can find a similar community when I hit my Golden Years. Speaking of “Golden Years”, their cover of this classic David Bowie song is incredible. Part of the fun of watching the film is seeing what songs they do next….don’t want to spoil all the surprises, but they do NOT perform the slow easy listening tunes you might expect from senior citizens. They ROCK and do awesome versions of songs by groups ranging from Talking Heads to Coldplay to The Clash (!). A wonderful film with a lot of heart.

You can watch the film’s trailer on the Young@Heart Chorus website.

March 10, 2010

Other Venices


The recent Venice recreation in Las Vegas is not an original nor modern idea. The city was rebuilt temporarily in London in the late 19th century by brothers Imre and Bolossy Kiralfy, “professional organizers of late Victorian spectacles” (Venice: The Tourist Maze).

These ambitious brothers built “Venice” on five acres inside the Olympia Exhibition Hall, and the "brilliant spectacular production" included hundreds of gondolas and singing gondoliers. The show ran for over a year and attracted as many as 30,000 paying visitors a day. I found these advertising posters in the Library of Congress archives.

And speaking of other Venices, there are some amazing photos of Legoland Venice on Flickr.



March 11, 2010


It's a happy island. Even on a very cold and grey winter's day, those colors popped up in the canals.



March 12, 2010

PhotoHunt: Spiral


This week's theme is "Spiral." I like this theme!

A shop window in Venice~


A playground in North Carolina~


A rose spiraling open~


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


March 15, 2010

The Pillars of Acre


Historians agree that these two beautiful columns are stolen property but don’t agree about who the Venetians took them from. They are called the Pillars of Acre (pili acritani) because for centuries, it was believed that the Venetians stole them in 1256 from the church of St. Saba in the port city of St. John of Acre in what is now Syria. They reside in front of what used to be the ceremonial entrance to the Basilica di San Marco, and most books describe them as exquisite examples of 6th century Syrian carving.

But recently, scholars have decided that they were really stolen from Constantinople in 1204 as part of the vast looting of the Fourth Crusade, and that they came to the Basilica in the same batch of plunder that included the Four Horses and the Madonna Nikopeia.
Who knows? They are certainly gorgeous. Those Venetian crusaders had quite an eye for beauty.



Continue reading "The Pillars of Acre" »

March 16, 2010

Red Flowers

Shrine in Corte Lucatello, close to the church of San Zulian. I love the red flowers.

madonna shrine red flowers


There's an inscription on the alms box ~ CHI DONA AI POVERI DONA A DIO (Who gives to the poor, gives to God).

March 17, 2010

Herbed Lentils and Rice

lentils and rice

Wanted to share one of my favorite winter recipes before winter is officially over! I clipped this one from a magazine decades ago and have been making it ever since. It's a healthy recipe that actually tastes good, packed with vegetarian protein and fiber. It's also a fun recipe to play around with. But the best part is how easy it is - throw everything into the pot and put it in the oven. That's it. It makes the house smell good too. Recipe and some variations are below.

Continue reading "Herbed Lentils and Rice" »

March 18, 2010

San Antonio shrine

One of many San Antonio (Sant'Antonio da Padova) shrines in Venice, this one guards a bridge in Cannaregio, the Ponte dei Ormesini. I love the little tablecloth the icon is standing on.



March 19, 2010

PhotoHunt: Three


This week's theme is "Three."

Happy Spring Equinox! There was no way I could convince my three cats to pose for a photo together, so I had to find something else.

The farm down the road~


Three blossoms and a moth on a screen~

Butterfly house

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


March 21, 2010

It's Spring!

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.”

~George Santayana

I know where George is coming from, but I can't help it...I AM hopelessly in love with spring. It seems like such a long time since I've seen robins and daffodils. Yesterday morning, I saw a male and female bluebird inspecting the bluebird house in my yard. I hope they end up moving in. And today, I planted lettuce, spinach, and a bunch of arugula in the garden. I'm really looking forward to asparagus and fresh peas and being able to open the windows of my house. It's not quite time to put the winter clothes away but it will be soon. Happy Spring!

These crocus popped up in my yard a couple of weeks ago, and the lenten roses are blooming like crazy in a park near my office.


“It's spring fever.... You don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

~Mark Twain


Continue reading "It's Spring!" »

March 22, 2010


Last year, I wrote about a Cannaregio shrine that's on the verge of being covered over by hanging ivy. Then in a little corte close to the Arsenale, I found this one that's completely overgrown with some kind of vine. I wish I'd had some gardening shears! I couldn't see inside the shrine, so I stuck my camera through the overgrowth and snapped and was surprised by what I saw when I looked at the camera screen.


Of course, there's a Madonna inside but this is another one of those family or neighborhood memorial shrines like the big blue one in Castello. Makes me sad that it's overgrown; I guess the people who took care of this one have died or moved away.



Update: Yvonne found this shrine open; click here for a look inside.

March 23, 2010

Patron Saint of Tailors


A relief dated 1511 on the facade of what used to be a hospice for poor tailors in Cannaregio. To the right of the Blessed Virgin and Child is Santa Barbara, holding the tower that her evil pagan father locked her in.

To the left, holding a pair of scissors and a moneybag, is an obscure Italian saint called Sant' Omobono (great name!). Also known as Saint Homobonus, he was a merchant from Lombardy who was canonized in 1199, two years after his death. I'd never heard of him but learned from Wikipedia that there's been a recent resurgence of interest in him since he was a wealthy holy man and in addition to being the patron saint of tailors, he's the guardian of all business people, and they can buy kitschy plastic statues of him to bless their efforts. Check it out:

Continue reading "Patron Saint of Tailors" »

March 24, 2010

San Trovaso guardian

Another scary face guarding the entrance to a bell tower, this one is truly creepy. He's found over the door to the campanile of the church of San Trovaso in Dorsoduro, and supposedly he keeps away any evil spirits who might try to enter the tower and cause it to collapse.

San Trovaso

This is the tower he's protecting:

San Trovaso campanile

For more grotesque faces on bell towers, see also:

Santa Maria Formosa
Santa Margherita

March 25, 2010

Faces of Venice

On yesterday's post, blog friend LB left a comment saying, "I love the many faces of Venice!" which inspired me to scroll through my photos and find a few more. These sculptures of faces are all over the city - some are bizarre, some are beautiful, and all are rather mysterious and probably have great stories that I'd love to know.

Speaking of LB (The Lone Beader), she is in the midst of making a beaded painting of the Basilica di San Marco and you can follow her progress on her blog. It's incredible!





He/she is sticking his/her tongue out~


Continue reading "Faces of Venice" »

March 26, 2010

PhotoHunt: Fresh


This week's theme is "Fresh."

A couple of photos from Venice. First up, the market close to the church of San Leonardo~


Fresh flowers on a street shrine~


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


March 29, 2010

Venice in 1911


A cool old photo showing the rebuilding of the campanile of San Marco which had collapsed in 1902. That wooden scaffolding looks very interesting. I checked the Venezia webcam today and it looks like they are still doing foundation work on the tower; it also looks like part of the Basilica is covered over. And so it goes.

March 30, 2010

Corte Michiel

Castello 4593

A gorgeous shrine with an interesting connection to the history of the shrines of Venice.

This corte in Castello was the birthplace of Doge Domenico Michiel, who ruled Venice from 1118-1130. He was a medieval hero who led the Venetian fleet to victory in a number of decisive Mediterranean battles, defeating the Egyptians, taking control of Tyre, and greatly expanding Venice’s territory and trade routes.

In 1128, Doge Michiel decreed that lamps should be lit each evening in all the city’s shrines, a public works project of sorts that made Venice the first city in the world to have street lights. The decree specified that parish priests were responsible for lighting the lamps each night and that the government would pay for the oil and the lamps. How cool to think about wandering around Venice after dark with the only lights being those in the shrines.

Castello 4593

Continue reading "Corte Michiel" »

March 31, 2010

Dragon Bones

You gotta love the Internet. Yesterday I wrote that I'd love to see the dragon bones in the church of San Donato, and within hours I had photos of them in my email box!

And even better, my blog friend AnnaLivia told me that I could post her photos on my blog. I'm so grateful to her! The best part of blogging has been all the friends I've "met" from all over the world. :)

AnnaLivia has one of the most beautiful Venice blogs there is (Mes Carnets Vénitiens) and she welcomes comments in French, Italian, and English. And check out her header photo...it's the mosaic floors in this same Murano church (the best floors of all, even better than the ones in San Marco, in my opinion). She has some other photos of the church floor on her blog here.

This is such a beautiful church (love the Madonna mosaic on gold) and below the Madonna are the bones of the dragon that San Donato slayed.




To me, this church is the main reason to visit the island of Murano. The glass shops are fun, the glass museum is very interesting, but this church is magical. Opening hours are posted below. Here are a few vintage images of the church:


Continue reading "Dragon Bones" »

This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in March 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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