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February 2011 Archives

February 1, 2011

Murals on Sacca Fisola

I love public art and street murals. Even if I don’t like an individual work of street art, I love that it’s there for everyone who passes by to see. So I was happy and somewhat surprised to see these modern street murals in the neighborhood surrounding the church of San Gerardo Sagredo.

Sacca Fisola

Sacca Fisola

Man with storm cloud and bathtub?

Sacca Fisola

These are two different murals, one on the building and the other on the wall. The contrast between them looks pretty cool.

Sacca Fisola

Sacca Fisola

February 3, 2011

Two new books

I didn’t do a lot of shopping when I was in Venice in November, but I did buy two new books. First is Venice Osterie by Venice resident, Michela Scibilia. This is actually the third time I’ve bought this book; she updates it every couple of years and so now I own three different editions. Like any city, Venice’s restaurant scene is constantly changing, and I’m glad that Michela continues to keep us up-to-date. It’s fun to compare editions and see what new places have been added and which ones got dropped.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is going to spend more than a few days in Venice. I haven’t been disappointed in any of the places she’s sent me to (and she doesn’t only review the higher-end places like some standard guidebooks do). Plus, the the book is lightweight and travel-friendly with excellent color photos, a glossary of food lingo (with both Italian and Venetian), and very good maps. Many of the photos show the owners at work, which gives you a good sense of the vibe of the place before you go.

You can find Venice Osterie in most any bookstore in Venice but make you sure you buy the most recent edition (2010, Version 5.2) as I did see copies of the older editions around town too.

And speaking of dining in Venice, A Lover of Venice’s “My Favorites” page is an excellent overview of Venetian cuisine plus reviews of some great places to go. I'll have more to say about some of the places I ate sometime soon.


Secret Venice is the other book I bought and what a great read it is! I was so glad to have this book to read on the plane…it made the time fly by on that long flight back home. It’s a very well done and comprehensive guide to lesser-known sights with lots of cool trivia; I’ve already added a bunch of these “secrets” to my “next time I'm in Venice” list. The cover says, "Five years of research have gone into the compilation of this exceptional guide, an opportunity for all who love Venice, as well as Venetians themselves, to leave the beaten track far behind and rediscover the most extraordinary city in the world."

This book is one of a series that includes other cities such as Rome, Paris, and Barcelona; I’ll definitely consider buying another one if and when I end up going somewhere else.


February 4, 2011

PhotoHunt: Fashion


This week's theme is "Fashion."

Crazy shoes in a shop window in Venice. Fashion or art? ~


And this one was taken here in North Carolina. Fashion statement~


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

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


February 7, 2011

Fioravante Seibezzi

Fioravante house

When I was walking through Santa Croce, I stumbled across this house. The first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful arch fragment and then the degraded or chiseled-away relief inside it. But when I stopped to take a photo, I noticed the sign above the arch stating that this was the home of Venetian artist Fioravante Seibezzi (1906-1974). I wasn’t familiar with him so when I got home, I checked him out and found some of his paintings. He’s an interesting guy…a self-taught artist whose first career was a bricklayer. He debuted at the Venice Biennale in 1938 and exhibited there many times. He also won a competition to design the stained glass windows for the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lido (home of the Venice Film Festival).

Here’s a rough translation of the sign on his house – a sweet tribute:

Long lived in this house
ingenious and delicate Venetian painter
that the magic transparencies of his paintings enclosed
the wide blue expanse
and the iridescent lagoon water
that his boyish heart
forever dreaming

I love his paintings.



This is my favorite. The title is Lagoon Landscape or something like that, but it's got to be Torcello.


Continue reading "Fioravante Seibezzi" »

February 9, 2011

Mixed emotions

Dorsoduro 1726

One of my very favorite shrines was this little stone niche honoring San Antonio. Even though it was badly degraded and looked like it’s melting into the wall, there’s something so poignantly beautiful about those old stones and that little purple candle.

So I had a bit of a pang when I saw that it’s gone and has been replaced by a modern shrine. I guess it was beyond repair and perhaps the people who live in this building or neighborhood wanted a new one. It’s still dedicated to San Antonio and still has a candle. You can find this one in Dorsoduro in Campo Angelo Raffaele

Dorsoduro 1726

Dorsoduro 1726

Continue reading "Mixed emotions" »

February 11, 2011

Restoration Report

Thought I'd continue the tradition of giving you all an update on restoration projects and scaffolding sightings. I did a report after my 2007 trip and again in 2008. Many of the projects I saw in 2008 were still underway in November 2010.

The lurid billboards on the Palazzo Ducale and surrounding the Bridge of Sighs are still there. Sigh (sorry, I couldn't resist). But at least they are no longer the Coke ads that you can see in this article about Venice in Peril's plea to stop the advertising madness.

In case you missed it, the reactions to the Venice in Peril petition were varied. Lots of support but also an annoyed comment from the mayor of Venice saying that if you want to see the Bridge of Sighs, go home and look at a photo in a book. (!)

Palazzo Ducale

Honestly, the bridge looks so pitiful peeking through those billboards; I'd rather they just cover it up entirely.

Bridge of Sighs

The work on the Gallerie dell'Accademia continues. Last week in the comments on my blog, several of us realized that we've never actually seen the Accademia! I looked through my old photos, and they do seem to be making progress or at least they are moving the coverings around. In November, I could see the top of the former church of Santa Maria della Carita (one of the buildings that became part of the museum). I can't wait for this project to be completed (hope it happens in my lifetime).


Santa Maria della Carita~


And on the Grand Canal, everyone's favorite mysterious Renaissance palazzo, the Palazzo Dario, is covered. There was a rumor going around for a while that Woody Allen had bought this palace but it's not true. I think it's going to be an annex to the Guggenheim museum. Wonder how long this project will take?

Here's some cool trivia about the palace next door (the one you can see in the photo below, in between Palazzo Dario and the Guggenheim). See that gold seal above the door? It's the insignia for Wake Forest University which is located right here in North Carolina.

It's called Casa Artom and it used to be the US Consulate. Wake Forest bought it in the 1970's to use for study abroad programs. There's lots of info and photos of the interior on the Wake Forest site.

Palazzo Dario

Also on the Grand Canal, Longhena's Palazzo Giustinian Lolin is undercover. Much more tasteful as far as scaffolding goes.

An update on the churches undergoing restoration coming next week. Have a good weekend!

Palazzo Giustinian Lolin

February 15, 2011

Restoration report, part two

San Marco

If you compare the photo above to the one I took in 2008, you can see that they are working on the same side of the basilica but more is covered over now. There was also work going on inside San Marco; one afternoon the construction noise was so loud, I had to leave. But the good news is that I did get to see a part of the basilica that I'd never found open before - the chapel of St. Isidore. It's lovely. I hope they'll re-open the Cappella Zen someday; it's been closed for restoration ever since I began going to Venice.

The project to add a titanium belt to the foundation of the campanile of San Marco continues, and the base of the tower is surrounded (you can see this on the webcam). The article announcing this project estimated that this project would take up to two years, and it's now been three.

Other church news....the restoration of San Sebastiano continues but they are making progress. They have finished the sacristy and it positively glows. Breathtakingly beautiful. I really look forward to the day when this project is completed - that church will be a true show stopper. It's still open for visits and even though much of it is covered over, you can see enough to know what an amazing church it is.

A sign on the door (dated November 6, 2010) announced "work of the utmost urgency" on the ceiling of the left aisle of the church of San Simeon Grande, and so that one was closed. There was also work going on at San Silvestro, on both the church and the bell tower. The bell towers of San Salvador and Sant' Aponal are still under-going repair as is the one on Torcello. In 2008, I posted a photo that showed that the scaffolding surrounding the Scala Contarini del Bovolo had been removed; well, it's back now and that place remains closed too.

And then there's San Simeon Piccolo - another building I've never actually seen. The advertisement had changed but the scaffolding was still covering the facade in November. But maybe there's hope? Bert of Venice Daily Photo emailed to say that he saw the church "free at last" in that de Longhi coffee commercial that's been floating around the internet recently. Can anyone confirm that this church has finally been unveiled? Andrew is heading to Venice next week - please check for us if you get a chance!

I'm excited about this project going on next to Santa Maria della Salute - the restoration of the Patriarchal Seminary which hasn't been open in years and contains a collection of art from Venice's many demolished churches. This is the place that I walked through as part of the Festa della Madonna della Salute, and I can't wait to see more. When I was in Venice, I read an article that said it should reopen sometime this year.



February 18, 2011

PhotoHunt: Silhouette


This week's theme is "Silhouette."

I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this theme.

Downtown Durham, NC~

durham mural

Also in Durham, a mural showing the silhouette of the city skyline~

durham mural

And this one is my nephew, taken last weekend in Raleigh on the NC Museum of Art hiking trail~


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

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


February 21, 2011

The Cloisters of San Salvador

San Salvador

There’s so much to say about the church of San Salvador that it’s going to take several posts. I thought I’d start with the cloisters of the former monastery and also the campanile.

Don’t think I’m crazy if I tell you to visit the phone company when you’re in Venice. What a beautiful place. These Renaissance cloisters are right next door to the church; they were reconstructed in 1564 to replace earlier Gothic ones. The monastery was closed in 1810 and for some time was used as army barracks. Telecom Italia acquired the property after the First World War and then restored it in the 1980’s. Today it’s the home of Telecom Italia Future Centre which sometimes has exhibits, but there was nothing going on when I visited in November and I was the only one there. There’s a cool aerial view of the church and the cloisters on the Future Centre's website.

San Salvador

The first cloister has a beautiful pink marble vera da pozzo while the second has a white one.

San Salvador

San Salvador

The second cloister also has a view of the church’s campanile which isn't easy to find because of how densely built this part of Venice is. When San Salvador celebrated its Cinquecentenario in 2007, the church announced plans to open their bell tower to the public for climbing. I was psyched! So many towers in Venice but so few are open. Well, I asked the lady in the church about this, and she said that the project is stalled and she's not sure it will happen. It's no longer mentioned on the church's website either. I guess the scaffolding on the tower explains why.

San Salvador

Continue reading "The Cloisters of San Salvador" »

February 25, 2011

PhotoHunt: Mostly Black


This week's theme is "Mostly Black."

Interesting theme!

Here's one from my recent trip to Venice...the Grand Canal at night.


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

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


February 28, 2011

The original patron saint

San Teodoro (St. Theodore) was the original patron saint of Venice and even though he was replaced by San Marco (a much more prestigious saint), there are still images of him around Venice both outside on the streets and in paintings inside churches. The most famous is the sculpture that shows him standing on a crocodile/dragon on top of the huge column in the Molo. That's him on the right.

acqua alta

San Teodoro was a dragon-fighting saint. There are so many images of San Giorgio fighting the dragon all over Venice and I wonder, how do you tell the difference between George and Theodore? And don’t forget San Donato, another dragon fighter, as well as Archangel Michael who can be seen fighting a dragon on a mosaic inside San Marco. I wonder if some of the images identified as San Giorgio might be Teodoro instead.

Here are a couple that ARE supposed to be San Teodoro. The first is on the side of the Scuola di San Teodoro, the second is on the façade of the church of San Toma.

San Teodoro and the dragon

San Teodoro and the dragon

Continue reading "The original patron saint" »

This page contains all entries posted to Churches in Venice in February 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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