Happy 2011 everyone!
As I mentioned on my “hard-to-find” post, it took me a long time to find the entrance to the church of San Lazzaro dei Mendicanti, the church of the Ospedale Civile (public hospital) of Venice. The main door facing the canal is seldom open, so to visit this church, you need to enter from within the hospital complex and let me warn you, it’s a crazy maze in there. Very interesting though…parts of it are old and beautiful, parts of it look (and smell) more like a normal hospital, but there are lots of twists and turns. I had a general idea of where the church was but once I got into this place, I lost all sense of north/south/east/west. And so I wandered around for a long time looking for the church.
I walked in circles for a while, though I didn’t know it at the time, and I kept finding cloisters…at least four different ones. Then I was walking down a more normal looking hospital-type corridor and I passed a cat walking down the hall. A funny sight, for sure, even though I’d heard there was a cat colony living somewhere in the hospital complex but I wasn’t sure if they were still there. Then I passed this big room that looked like the hospital laundry….people were in there folding sheets on big tables with cats lounging around “helping” them. Then I came to this cloister with a huge vera da pozzo and a couple of cats sitting on it.
I'm not sure how many cats live here because a bunch of them ran and hid when I walked out into the cloister. A few of them did pose for photos. They look very well cared for, and it's a nice place for a cat colony with grass and trees and some old stone rubble for them to play on and hide in.
While I was there, a woman wearing hospital scrubs came and started putting food out for them. I hope the patients in the hospital are able to come to this cloister for some feline therapy.
The other great thing about this cloister is this view of the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo which helped me get my bearings and headed in the right direction. I then found the church of San Lazzaro!