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Report 1968: A Month in Venice

By BJinNM from New Mexico, Fall 2011

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Page 20 of 28: October 23, 2011 A World of Glass and Graves

photo by BJ Firestone

Stravinsky's Grave on San Michele

After sleeping until 9:30 this morning, we decided we would go to Murano (the glass making island) and San Michele (the cemetery island). The one glitch was that the cathedral on Murano was only open in the morning on Sundays. So, of course, we took our time and then rushed out of the house after 11 in order to catch the vaporetto to Murano to get there in time. We reached Murano at 11:50, found the Cathedral of San Donato and were very lucky because mass was just letting out. It is unadorned and unimpressive from the outside, but the inside is filled with 9th through 12th century mosaics, a Bellini which unfortunately was on loan elsewhere and a Veronese. Quite a treasure but no pictures are allowed. The mosaics are huge and wonderful and really put us in the mood for our trip to Ravenna on Tuesday. Outside the church is a memorial garden to the war dead.

We walked over to the Glass Museum which we had been into before but decided to go into again. There is a special exhibit there right now with the works of the Moretti foundry which specializes in beads. It showed the evolution of the technique over the last hundred years. Again, however, no pictures allowed.

We then found the restaurant we were looking for, Trattoria "Busa la Torre." It has been featured on an Anthony Bourdain segment about Venice and was very busy but, again, we had wonderful food and service. We started with a mixed cicchetti antipasto which had battered and fried whole little grey shrimp, baccala, and a whole scallop with its roe. At first they brought us a plate of capelunghe (razor clams) which we love and which were not on the menu. However, honesty won out and we told them they were for another table. The antipasta was followed by a insalata mista, and then I had seppia in nero con polenta (note a trend here in my ordering?) and Alan had a whole orata (gilt fish) which he expertly deheaded and boned. Once again we were seated next to the dessert, so we had to have the tiramisu which we could smell every time they opened the dessert case to get a serving or ten out.

We then walked around Murano a little bit more and decided to take the vaporetto over to the island of San Michele where the cemetery for Venice is located. It is a quiet, lovely garden spot containing hundreds, if not thousands, of graves, among which are Stravinsky's, Ezra Pound's, and Diaghilev's. A nice break after the crowds on the vaporetto trying to get back to Venice.

We then took the vaporetto back to the Fondamenta Nove. When we got there, we decided to go to the grocery and on the way stopped at the Gesuiti Church which has a Baroque facade and interior and is covered with different colors of marble from top to bottom. Some of the chapels are purple marble, some are green. The high altar has columns which have been shaped to appear twisted. It's quite a sight to see. We left there, got to the grocery to find it closes at 1pm on Sunday.

Back to the apartment to call Christy (JustTravel from SlowTrav) who we were going to meet for a drink. We walked over to the Campo Santa Maria Formosa (which is about halfway between our two apartments) and then came back to the bar, the Al Ponte, across the street from our apartment. We are always passing people hanging out on the bridge next to us with wine glasses in their hands and now we became one of them. We each had a glass of prosecco, chatted for quite awhile, and then parted.

Dinner tonight for us consisted of three pieces of Swiss cheese for each of us. Before we ate we were able to talk via Skype to Alan's brother, Jack, our friend, Phyllis and both of our kids. Skype certainly allows us to stay in touch!

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