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July 2011 Archives

July 5, 2011

Ponte del Fontego

Hope everyone who celebrates Independence Day had a nice long holiday weekend!

Continuing with my series of shrines with connections to gondoliers and boatmen, this one isn't actually on a bridge but is adjacent to one, Ponte del Fontego, which enters into Campo Santa Giustina.

There used to be a traghetto landing here, and the shrine was erected in 1621 by the Scuola di Devozione dei Barcaroli (the guild of boatmen). Like several others, this shrine has bas-relief gondolas. This one is unique because it also has a couple of cheerful lions.

Castello 2841 A

Castello 2841 A

Originally this was a Marian shrine with a statue of Immacolata inside. Then for many years in the 20th century, the niche was empty. At some point, a group of locals restored the shrine and added a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Then in 2004, a statue of Santa Giustina was placed inside in honor of 1700 years since her martyrdom in 304 AD. Santa Giustina is an Italian saint from nearby Padua, and this campo is also home to a deconsecrated church dedicated to her. In the 7th century, this saint appeared to San Magno and told him to build this church in Venice for her.

Castello 2841 A

Castello 2841 A

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July 8, 2011

PhotoHunt: Near


This week's theme is "Near."

We are getting near the end of the Harry Potter saga. The final movie (HP7 part 2) comes out next week; my nephews are very excited about it and so am I!


Thanks for visiting and have a nice weekend.

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

July 11, 2011

Sotoportego del Traghetto

San Polo 1099

I haven't been to every traghetto station in Venice, but most of the ones I have visited have a shrine. Some of them have both a Madonna housed in one of those green metal tabernacles on a pole in the canal and a regular shrine on dry-land too. This one is in San Polo, inside a sotoportego not far from the church of San Silvestro.

Another case of good timing....as I was admiring their shrine, three gondoliers came strolling down the way.

San Polo 1099

San Polo 1099

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July 14, 2011

A few more...

A few more photos to wrap up this series of shrines with connections to gondoliers and boats...

This first one is inside the wooden kiosk close to Piazza San Marco where tourists go to book their gondola tour. The image inside is the icon from the high altar of La Salute with a little plastic gondola in front of her and the "ferro" (iron prow) of a gondola to her side.

San Marco

This one is in Cannaregio at the Santa Sofia traghetto landing.



Also in Cannaregio, this image of the Madonna is modern and funky! This one is at a squero (boatyard). Love the gold anchor!


This one at the Sam Samuele traghetto landing contains one of the strangest sacred images of all. It's a painting of "Our Lady of the Gondoliers," and in the background is the iconic view of San Giorgio Maggiore and the row of parked gondole near San Marco.

In the foreground is a Mother and Child. The child is holding a doll that looks very much like Pinocchio (it's hard to see in the photo but he has a long nose). I don't remember Pinocchio being in the Bible. :)

San Marco

San Marco

San Marco

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July 15, 2011

PhotoHunt: Backwards


This week's theme is "Backwards."

This work by artist Devorah Sperber is in the NC Museum of Art. It's the Mona Lisa backwards and upside-down, and the image is made of 5,184 spools of thread suspended on metal chain.

But when you look at it through a small crystal ball, the image flips and is right-side up. Very cool.




Thanks for visiting and have a nice weekend.

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

July 22, 2011

PhotoHunt: Patch

This week's theme is "Patch."

An unusual door in Venice. I can't figure out how it opens. I like the patchwork effect and the colors.

door in Venice

Thanks for visiting and have a nice weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


July 26, 2011

San Cassiano


It’s a bit of a surprise to walk in and see how pretty this church is, since the outside is a rather nondescript mustard-brown box. Founded in the 8th century or so, this church has been rebuilt and remodeled as many as six times, and the building we see today dates to 1611. The campanile is much older, 13th century with parts dating back to the 9th century; some think it was originally a defensive tower rather than a bell tower.

This church is on the border between San Polo and Santa Croce, and is not to be confused with the church of San Canciano on the other side of the Grand Canal in Cannaregio. Different church and different saint. This one is dedicated to 4th century martyr, St. Cassian of Imola. He's the patron saint of school teachers despite the fact that he died at the hands of his pagan students who stabbed him to death with their ink pens (there’s a Baroque painting of this gruesome/funny scene in the church). San Cassiano’s body is here along with other relics that include the head of St. Cecilia and the jawbone of St. Lawrence Martyr.


John Ruskin said that the only thing worth seeing of the building itself is a Byzantine door fragment leftover from an earlier incarnation, but proclaimed that San Cassiano is a “don’t miss” because of its paintings by Tintoretto. Many of the churches of Venice have at least one painting by Tintoretto, but this church has three, all on the high altar (The Crucifixion, The Descent into Limbo, and The Resurrection). Ruskin declared this Crucifixion as “among the finest in Europe.” Writer Henry James was gaga over this painting too.

This church is also known for its lost altarpiece by Sicilian painter Antonello da Messina, who is believed to have introduced oil painting to northern Italy; he spent a couple of years in Venice studying with (or teaching) Giovanni Bellini. The Pala di San Cassiano disappeared mysteriously from the church in the early 17th century. It was divided into smaller paintings which were dispersed, but three of the pieces have been reunited and are now in the art museum in Vienna. You can see a diagram here that shows how much of the altarpiece was recovered (most of it is still missing). It gives me chills to think about cutting up a painting like this! I wonder if the church needed money to rebuild for the umpteenth time and sold it?

San Cassiano

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July 29, 2011

PhotoHunt: Together

This week's theme is "Together."

Tibetan monks work together to create a sand mandala that honors the female Buddha, Green Tara. They came to my area as part of a Sacred Arts Tour, spent a couple of weeks creating this sand painting, and then had a ceremony where they destroyed it, giving us a Buddhist lesson about impermanence and change.

These monks are from the Drepung Gomang Monastery in India, where 2,000 refugee monks live. More info about the Sacred Arts Tour here.

sand mandala

Sand Mandala

Tibetan sand mandala

Sand Mandala

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


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