Venice Day 3

We slept in a bit, then went out shopping for melon, water, and to get coffee. We avoided the tourist area entirely opting to walk around Dorsoduro, past the Zattere Vaporetto stop and further up the channel. The cruise ships are all gone with far fewer tourists walking Dorsoduro. We found a number of small squares on side streets, a local produce market, and a nice coffee shop. For the water and soap, we returned to the super market and returned home.

Next we set out for the Guggenheim Museum, which is close by. It was open and featured a retrospective of the restoration of Jackson Pollock’s Alchemy. The original is on display in the museum along with much of Peggy’s personal collection. Alchemy hung in her living room over a fire place and became dull with lint, dirt, and soot over the years. The restoration was done in Florence known for restoration of priceless artwork. One room of the museum features interactive touch screen video of the restoration process on three large screen monitors. We enjoyed the museum, then walked to the eastern tip of Dorsoduro, Punta Della Dogana, and returned home along the southern Dorsoduro canal.

At home we ate dinner in, eating eggplant lasagna, proscuitto de Parma with melon, bread, cheese, and Moretti beer. Nina, the owner stopped by for a chat and we ran into her husband Tony on our way out later. We decided to head to San Marco for some photography (we have not spent any time in the square) and to search out more gelato. The square on the Dorsoduro side of the old bridge was alive with locals and some tourists. The bridge had it’s typical crowd of selfie tourists. The lighting was great, low contrast with few shadows. It was overcast with none of the late evening warmth you would expect.

Wandering on we passed the accordion player, a fixture on the San Marco side of the bridge, and rounded the corner walking past an old church. Unlike every other time we walked this route, the church doors were open with a few people milling about the entrance. We walked up to look inside, there was a bright mural on the far wall of a military leader astride a white horse. The horse looked to be riding right out of the far wall. We could read enough of the posters door-side to know there was an Interpretive Vivaldi performance scheduled. Ellen asked a couple seated on the steps what was going on and in impeccable American English the said a Vivaldi concert was playing here at 9:00. Tickets can be bought inside. They were from Walnut Creek, she was a music teacher and the couple was moving to New York in the next few days. Her husband grew up in Menlo Park.

The ticket sales inside said it was open seating starting at 8:30 with the performance starting at 9:00. We bought two tickets, checked the time, and headed out to find that gelato ahead of the concert. It was 8:05 and we could not go far. In the square just past the church, we spotted a gelato shop. The shopkeeper asked, “How do you like Venice” and that started a conversation about Italy, culture, food, that lasted a while. The sure cherry gelato appealed to us both. The shopkeeper asked, “did you know this is the oldest gelato shop in Venice?” and handed us a business card. “No” we answered at the same time, I took the card, we thanked him, and headed back to queue for the performance.

The couple behind us, hearing our English, asked “where are you from”. The husband is a physicist and they’re driving around northern Italy.

Seated in the third row back along the isle, we joined in clapping as eight Italian guys strode past dressed in black from head to foot, all with black hair, and took up their instruments on stage. One harpsichord, a base, a cello, and five violent. The violent alternated first fiddle. The acoustics were excellent and the performance was flawless. You could hear nothing but the shuffling of paper and the octet’s shuffling of feet between movements. This was a very special moment.

The group will play Vivian’s Four Seasons tonight, but I”m not sure it will be at this local church. If so, we’ll be there.

We headed back home to get some sleep and to go to San Marco tomorrow early… finally!


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