November 2010 Archives

November 27, 2010

Ahh Venice...


I'm home from a week in a bit of a jet-lagged haze but very happy. That place continues to amaze me; even in parts of the city where I've spent lots of time, I'd see things I'd never noticed before.

Since it was a short trip, I decided not to blog while I was there. Plus I felt the need to take a technology break. No TV, no Internet, no cell phone, even no was very therapeutic and fun. I did pop in an Internet cafe once a day to email my mom and read the reports from the pet sitter (my kitties did fine but they are glad I'm back home).

One of the reasons I went at this particular time was to be there on November 21 for the Festa della Madonna della Salute, a truly wonderful experience. The festa actually goes on for almost a week and they build a temporary votive bridge across the Grand Canal; I loved walking across that bridge. The Sunday of the Festa was the only day of bad weather while I was there....torrential rain and turn-the-umbrella-inside-out wind. But it didn't stop the Venetians from coming to pay homage to the Madonna as they've been doing for centuries. It's a beautiful celebration.

The acqua alta sirens sounded a few times but it wasn't as bad as it was when I was there in December 2008 or May 2004. I did have to take a few detours to avoid a flooded calle, but I didn't have to wear the dreaded plastic boots this time. And there were several incredible warm and blue-sky days...I was very lucky!

So as soon as I recover (and finish labeling my photos before I forget where I was when I took them), I'll be blogging about my trip. Some great church visits (went inside five new ones to add to my life list) plus lots of shrines, cats, radicchio, Torcello, pizza, and all the other things I love about Venezia.

November 29, 2010

The Votive Bridge

almost full moon

Even though it was a short trip, I packed a lot in and wasn’t quite sure where to start writing about it on the blog. I decided to start with the bridge. This is a view of Santa Maria della Salute and the almost full moon taken from the votive bridge built for the Festa della Salute.

When I arrived in Venice on Thursday morning, the city was covered in thick fog that gradually burned off as the day progressed. After taking my luggage to the B&B (I’ll be raving about the new place I stayed soon), the first place I went was to check out the votive bridge.

The bridge was up on Thursday but not open yet. While I knew a bit about the history of the Festa, I didn’t know much about the actual events; fortunately there were signs all over the city with the schedule. The bridge opens on Friday at 11 am and remains open until Monday night at 11 pm. As you can see on the poster below, the celebration is on-going inside the church for several days prior to November 21 and for a few days beyond.

votive bridge at night

For some reason, I was so excited about walking across this bridge. I guess it’s the novelty of seeing Venice from a different vantage point. And throughout their history, Venetians have loved making grand processions around their city; I loved being part of one on this temporary bridge. I heard a tourist ask his friend, why do they need another bridge, don’t they have enough of them? It’s all part of the tradition and in fact, when this Festa began in the late 17th century, the Rialto bridge was the only bridge across the Grand Canal; the Accademia bridge hadn’t been built yet.

on the bridge

So anyway, I went back on Friday morning to walk across the bridge and it was great fun. Another thing I learned is that the bridge doesn’t actually go to the front of the church. It starts on the San Marco side at the Santa Maria del Giglio traghetto stop (right next to the Gritti Palace) and extends to the Calle del Traghetto San Gregorio in Dorsoduro; from there it’s a short walk to La Salute.

The bridge is built on pontoons so it’s a floating bridge (and it feels like it’s floating when you walk on it…it’s kinda bouncy!). The side of the bridge has a stop light on it for the boats, and it does slow up traffic on the Grand Canal since the larger boats have to aim for the opening in the middle.

stop light

Continue reading "The Votive Bridge" »

December 1, 2010

Festa della Salute


The church of Santa Maria della Salute was open for extended hours during the Festa culminating in the grand celebration on November 21 which fell on a Sunday this year. On Sunday, the church opened at 5:50 am and remained open until 10 that night, with hourly masses throughout the day starting at 6 am.

I went to Mass at La Salute for the first time on Saturday night, and the place was packed…grandmas, families, lots of kids, and even a few dogs (I loved seeing that). Outside the church, little kiosks were selling long white candles and people brought them into the church to light.

As Andrew commented on my last post, there is absolutely nothing touristy about this festival. Even so, I felt completely comfortable being there, tourist that I am. The Mass felt very different from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception masses that I’ve attended in San Marco, which were solemn and mysterious. This seemed more of a celebration and social event, it felt holy but also friendly. A happy gathering.


Once you are inside the church, forget the Titians and the Tintorettos. All eyes are on the icon of the Black Madonna on the high altar and that’s where Mass happens. This icon is one of three in Venice that were supposedly painted by St Luke and it’s touching to see how revered she is. More about her later.

dome of La Salute

Continue reading "Festa della Salute" »

December 6, 2010



Various traditions are part of this festa…walking across the votive bridge, of course, and lighting candles inside La Salute, and buying balloons for the kiddies.

It’s also the only time of year when they open the main doors of the church, and it’s such an amazing sight when you walk in through those rather than the side doors open the rest of the year. I took this photo early Sunday morning before the crowds and the torrential rain came.


Most of the time when you visit this church, the central floor under the dome is roped off, but during the festa, the ropes were gone. I’d read somewhere that it’s good luck to touch your foot to the central circle right under the dome, and when I saw other people doing it, I had to do it too. The inscription around the circle reads Unde Origo Inde Salus (whence the origin, thence the salvation and health), a reference to the belief that Venice’s very origins are connected to the Virgin (legend has it that Venice was founded on the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25) in 421).



Continue reading "Traditions" »

December 8, 2010

Shrines by the votive bridge

Of course, I loved the fact that there were shrines on both entrances to the votive bridge, one on each side of the Grand Canal. On the San Marco side was this green and white tabernacle flanked by stone lion heads.


And on the Dorsoduro side of the bridge, there was this large shrine-within-a-shrine.


Daniel asked how long it took to take the bridge down. Not very long, I don't think. It closed Monday night at 11 pm and they took it down in the middle of the night. Early Tuesday morning I walked down there and it was gone until next year.


December 10, 2010

PhotoHunt: Funny


This week's theme is "Funny."

When I was in Venice last month, I had lunch outdoors at Trattoria Busa alle Torre on the island of Murano. There was a sign on the door that said "please do not feed the pigeons" in a bunch of different languages.

Well, these two pigeons took matters into their own hands. Before I could shoo them away, they both took a bite of the bread in the basket. I thought it was pretty funny (and I didn't want the bread anyway).


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


December 24, 2010

PhotoHunt: Circle


This week's theme is "Circle."

Happy holidays everyone!

A few circles from my recent trip to Venice:

Mosaic floor in Basilica di San Marco~

floor in San Marco

Byzantine angel in the natural history museum~


More mundane but no less sublime~


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


January 5, 2011

Inside the hospital

A few other scenes from inside the Ospedale Civile. What a fascinating place. Cloisters, cats, vere da pozzo, mosaics, a church, and a many of my favorite things. I didn't take a photo but there's even a bar in there which might be more unusual than the cats when compared to hospitals in the USA.


vera da pozzo

At first, I thought she was holding Mardi Gras beads but when I got closer, I realized they are rosaries. :)




Continue reading "Inside the hospital" »

January 7, 2011

PhotoHunt: Free Week


This week's theme is "Free Week."

A theme-free week so I'm free to post a few more photos from my November trip to Venice. When I saw this theme, the Joni Mitchell song, "Free Man in Paris," popped into my head...a great song about the joys of travel, so it fits.

I was lucky to have a bunch of sunny, blue sky days while I was there. I took this one from the vaporetto (water bus). Feel free to click to enlarge so you can see the colors of that building.

blue sky

One of my favorite things to look for and photograph in Venice are the street shrines.

garden shrine

You never know what you will see in those canals....


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


January 9, 2011

Another thing I missed...


Thanks to Bert for sending this photo of this gorgeous vera da pozzo in another cloister that I didn't find when I was roaming around the Ospedale Civile. What a beauty this one even has a sculpture on top.

So now I've got the library and this on my "next time" list. I know that I'm not the only one who comes home from Venice and almost immediately starts planning the next trip. :)

January 10, 2011

Looking for church, found cats

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.

hospital cats

hospital cat

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.

hospital cat

hospital cat

hospital cats

cat shelters

cloister rubble

hospital cat

hospital cat

Continue reading "Looking for church, found cats" »

January 14, 2011

PhotoHunt: Shadow


This week's theme is "Shadow."

This theme was challenging for me; I had too many possibilites and had a tough time narrowing it down.

Here's one from Venice~


And here in NC, a bike and bike rack~


bike rack

Posting this one from my yard because I heard on the news that this week was the first time in history that there was snow on the ground in 49 out of 50 states in the US~

charlie brown xmas tree

And here's my sweet orange cat, LuLu~


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


January 17, 2011

Archangel Gabriel

vera da pozzo

I’m always on the look-out for angels as I walk around Venice. They aren’t quite as easy to find as shrines or images of the Madonna so I’m happy when I find one. These carvings of Archangel Gabriel are on a vera da pozzo in the courtyard of Palazzo Gabrielli. Both the palace and the well-head are 14th century Gothic; the palace belonged to the noble Venetian family Gabrielli (the archangel was their patron saint).

archangel gabriel

archangel gabriel

There’s also a relief of Gabriel on the façade of the palazzo.


Continue reading "Archangel Gabriel" »

January 23, 2011


Ahh Venice

January 28, 2011

PhotoHunt: Standing


This week's theme is "Standing."

There used to be over 100 bell towers in Venice but some of them collapsed or were demolished; today there are 66 still standing. The most well-known is this one, the campanile di San Marco; it's the tallest in the city. This tower collapsed in 1902 and was rebuilt.

san marco

There's a golden statue of the archangel Gabriel standing on top of this tower, holding the annunciation lilies. Legend has it that when the tower collapsed, the angel statue survived and was found more or less intact in front of the doors to the basilica. I've often admired it from afar gleaming in the sunlight but had never gotten a good look at it until recently when I found this photo of it in an old book.

archangel gabriel, san marco

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

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


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 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 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 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.


March 23, 2011

Cappella Votiva

cappella votiva

I wish I knew more about this place especially whether or not it's ever open. This votive chapel is in Cannaregio on Calle del Forno, not far from the church of Santa Sofia. It was built in 1806 to house a miracle-working image of the Madonna and San Rocco that had been in a nearby street shrine. If anyone knows more, please let me know!

cappella votiva

March 30, 2011

Return to Torcello

I was so happy to return to Torcello for so many reasons, and one of them was that I was eager to see if the cats were still there. When blogging about Torcello last year, I got a comment from someone who had just been there and hadn't seen a single cat, which had me wondering if perhaps Dingo (the rescue organization) had moved the Torcello cats somewhere else.

Well, not only were there plenty of cats....there were three kittens! Someone must have fallen between the cracks of the spay/neuter program. These three babies were adorable. The two tabbies were shy, but the little black-and-white guy let me pick him up and hold him for a while.

Torcello kittens

The Torcello cat houses had big white bows on them....was that to announce the birth of the kittens? More likely, someone who got married in one of the Torcello churches stuck those bows on there. Very festive.


There were plenty of adult cats too....some I recognized from previous visits and a few new faces too. But I didn't see the two cats I met in the cathedral in 2008 or the soulful tabby who took a walk with me. I hope that means that someone adopted those cats and they are now lounging on a sofa somewhere in a loving and comfortable home.

Torcello kitties

A cute little tabby posing with Attila's throne~


The last time I was on Torcello, I kept running into goats. No goats this time but chickens galore, including a flock of them hanging out with the cats in a grassy area next to the fondamenta. Lions and lambs, chickens and cats....Torcello is a peaceful place.


April 4, 2011

Ponte del Diavolo

Continuing with a Torcello restoration report...when I was there in 2008, this little bridge was covered with scaffolding. The work is finished now and the old stones of the Ponte del Diavolo (Devil's Bridge) look great.

There are medieval "Devil's Bridges" all over Europe, and many of them have legends or folk tales connected to them. In some cases, the Devil helped the bridge builder in exchange for his soul; there are other stories in which the builder outwitted the Devil after enlisting his help. Not sure what the story is with the Torcello bridge.

This bridge is one of only two remaining in Venice that don't have guard-rails. For centuries, almost all the bridges in Venice were open-sided like this one.

Ponte del Diavolo

The view from the fondamenta~

Ponte del Diavolo

And the view of the fondamenta from the other side. I love that peach-colored palazzo.~

Ponte del Diavolo

Ponte del Diavolo

Continue reading "Ponte del Diavolo" »

April 13, 2011

The Neighborhood

I’ve been lucky-in-lodging, as far as Venice goes, and have stayed at some places that I really and truly loved. Twice I stayed in a little apartment in campo San Giacomo dall’Orio and then for three trips in a row, I stayed at Locanda Orseolo.

When I started planning my 2010 trip, I decided it was time to move on to a new sestiere since I want to stay in all six of them eventually. I hadn’t stayed in Dorsoduro yet and during my 2008 trip, I had discovered a charming little Japanese tea room called Fujiyama, close to campo San Barnaba. I learned that it’s also a small B&B and after I read the rave reviews on Trip Advisor, I contacted them and was able to get a room in November. Love this place! The owners are wonderful and fun to talk to, the rooms are very comfortable, and there’s a lovely little garden in the back. I really enjoyed seeing all the art the owners have collected during their travels all over the world. I can't wait to stay there again.

And this neighborhood is great with lots of very good restaurants; it’s fun to walk around the campo and down Calle Lunga San Barnaba, check out the menus in the windows, and then decide where to eat. That might not work in high season but in November, I never had trouble getting a table without a reservation.

Here are a few scenes from the neighborhood~


There are a couple of Internet points nearby - one inside the toy store in the photo below and another one called Officina that's on the calle leading down to the Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop. Both are great places and not too expensive.

Internet point, San Barnaba

The famous San Barnaba vegetable market~

san barnaba

The artichoke soup at this place was of my favorite things I had on this trip.

Other restaurants where I ate in this neighborhood were Oniga, Avogaria, Casin di Nobili, and La Bitta, and I enjoyed them all. Had a nice dinner at La Bitta with fellow Slow Traveler, Cubbies - this was the third time we've been in Venice at the same time, and it was wonderful to see her again.

pane vino e san daniele

Continue reading "The Neighborhood" »

May 3, 2011

Corte 11 Settembre 2001

I stumbled across this corte when I was wandering around Burano. It's very touching that they chose to remember 9/11 this way.

It's a quiet little corte and no one was around except for a cute little tabby cat.

Corte 11 Settembre 2001

Corte 11 Settembre 2001

Corte 11 Settembre 2001

Continue reading "Corte 11 Settembre 2001" »

May 11, 2011

Riflessi in acqua alta

A little bit of acqua alta in the Rialto market area. Not bad enough to require boots but enough to catch some beautiful reflections. I was standing in front of the little church of San Giacometto when I took these.

I've been swamped at work lately but can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hope to start blogging more regularly as soon as things calm down. Hope everyone is well!


The campanile reflected in this one belongs to the church of San Giovanni Elemosinario.


August 5, 2011

PhotoHunt: Painted

This week's theme is "Painted."

Burano is an island in the Venetian lagoon that's famous for its brightly painted houses. It's a happy island, about a 45-minute boat ride away from Venice, and is a fun place to visit and take pictures.






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


August 15, 2011

Acqua alta

If you mention “flooding” to a Venetian resident, they may correct you since acqua alta (high water) isn’t really a flood, it’s a high tide. Of course, high tides happen everyday in Venice, but the ones that fill the streets are elevated, usually because of sirocco winds, heavy rain, and/or the cycles of the moon. Venetians talk about acqua alta in terms of centimeters: “The forecast is for 100 centimeters,” they’ll tell you, “it won’t be that bad.”

100 cm: 5% of the city is flooded
110 cm: a siren will sound
130 cm: 43% of the city is covered with water
140 cm: an emergency situation (the December 1, 2008 acqua alta reached 156 cm).

I did hear the acqua alta sirens go off a few times while I was there last November, and I learned that the sirens themselves are part of the forecast.

110 cm: an extended sound of the same note
120 cm: two sounds in rising notes
130 cm: three sounds in rising notes
140 cm and over: four sounds in rising notes

I also learned the name of the walkways that I’ve always called “high-rise sidewalks” – passerelle. Many of the vaporetto stops have maps that show where the passerelle will be located during acqua alta.

Overall, the acqua alta wasn’t too bad when I was in Venice last year, nothing like what I experienced in May 2004 or December 2008 when I had to wear the dreaded rubber boots for extended periods. Last year, I was able to walk around the water most of the time, though there were a few times when I had to make a detour.

It was easy to walk around this; you can see how everyone was skirting the buildings on the right.

acqua alta

More challenging here. I was trying to go to San Giorgio degli Schiavoni,and I had to come back later.

acqua alta

A few inches of water in the Ca 'd'Oro courtyard. You almost can't see it except for the reflections of the columns in the water.

acqua alta

The most famous acqua alta was in November 1966 when the levels reached at least 194 cm. There’s a small plaque in the courtyard of San Giovanni Evangelista that shows how high the water was on that day. Pretty eerie.

acqua alta 1966

acqua alta 1966

A bit of water and passerelle-in-waiting on the Zattere~

Venice2010 395

Acqua alta and a stack of passerelle in the Rialto Market area~

acqua alta in Rialto

Continue reading "Acqua alta " »

September 9, 2011

PhotoHunt: Greasy

This week's theme is "Greasy."

Ha ha, crazy theme this week and kinda tough!

Here in the US, fried seafood is often greasy. But not in Venice. These are moeche, tiny soft-shell crabs, served with grilled polenta (here in the Southern USA, we call it grits). The moeche were fried but not greasy at all, just crisp and crabby.

moeche e polenta

Alongside the moeche were these grilled vegetables. They had olive oil on them, but weren't greasy. These first two were taken at Trattoria Busa alle Torre on the island of Murano.

verdure alla griglia

And here's a pizza primavera from Trattoria Alvise in Venice. I hate too-greasy pizza but this one was perfect. It was delicious, slightly burned crust and all.

pizza primavera

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


This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Churches in Venice in the November 2010 category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2008 is the previous category.

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