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Just 1 or 2 or 3 days in Venice? Here are free self guided itineraries

Just 1 or 2 or 3 days in Venice? Here are free self guided itineraries

Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 02:40 PM
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Ah ok, but the portal! That's interesting because it somehow increases the probability that he actually knew about S. Salvatore.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2010, 02:41 PM
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Sorry, cross-posting - I was referring to zeppole's last entry, of course.
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Old Aug 6th, 2010, 08:58 PM
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I've been enjoying this conversation, so I'll add this to sleuthing around Spoleto for evidence Palladio slept there:

http://www.rome-interreg.net/index.p...ion=1&portal=9

http://books.google.it/books?id=qTUx...page&q&f=false

later...
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 02:07 AM
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Hey franco,

I only came back to tell you how much I appreciated the F-V-G guidance in case I didn't have another chance to say it. I entertained some hope that we might even be able to continue this illuminating conversation, but others may make their project to make that impossible. For some time now I've been tempted to post that you shouldn't ever get in my corner --- and you really shouldn't -- but I figured you were more experienced than most with women of a certain behavior, and were making an informed judgment about the risks. But don't expose yourself to more needlessly -- and I hope you aren't disillusioned (or are, as need be!)

But so long as still have a chance post my thoughts to you in this thread: I'm not against Venice, and nothing surprised me more than looking forward so much to getting there and finding it so uncongenial to me. I never would have guessed -- although even if I had guessed, I still would have gone because I don't know how I could have passed by any chance to see what had inspired so many others, and the site of such great history, and all its art treasures. (And even I didn't guess the riches of the place, despite what I'd read.)

It does seem to me that the history of Venice includes a history of those who feel morbidity while there. Something hard to describe (in less than a novel). It probably didn't help that I first saw Venice on a gloomy day, but even on sunny days, something just seems to present there, lurking. (It will be fun to compare it to Trieste with its cleansing bora) .

What I do inveigh against is the too facile notion that the only people who don't like Venice are those who don't spend enough time there. That feeling of uncongeniality can strike one instantly. And the unfortunates who arrive in Venice at the height of the tourist season, who are at all sensitive to that, might not get any enjoyment in Venice no matter how many days they stay, unless they can stay past the end of the worst of the season.

Living there you might disagree, but cruise ship tourism doesn't strike me as inappropriate for Venice. At least Venice is a port! But I wonder if you'll agree that Italy is encouraging cruise ship tourism everywhere, even where there are no ports. It does seem to me a kind of "Tuscan town surfing" is a huge part of Tuscany's tourist trade, basically centered on shopping for the "gals" and wine for the "boys". (Apparently a high end golf course is being built south of Siena).

I fear I go on too long....
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 10:06 AM
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z, thank you for the Palladio/Spoleto links, that's fascinating. I had never researched it, but have always been convinced he MUST have known S. Salvatore.
Second, looking back on some experience in political and human rights activism, I'm not easily disillusioned by how tedious a task it is to fight injustice, never mind whether in a "high" political or a "humble" personal context.
Third, Venice and morbidity... I'll have to try hard not to write that novel now! On the one hand, Venice below the urbane, touristy surface is like any other Italian small town, just without cars and motorbikes. On the other hand, it's true that even Venetians usually have a strong "it's not like it used to be" feeling, and bemoan, for example, the shrinking population. Which is completely nonsensical IMO, because city centers all over Europe are facing even more rapidly shrinking populations - Paris, Brussels, Vienna are excellent examples. It's simply too expensive for ordinary human beings to live in and take care of protected historic monuments; plus the demands on comfort are simply much higher today than 40 years ago, small flats are merged into larger ones, flats that are always pitch-dark (a big problem in a medieval city like Venice, with all those narrow lanes!) are abandoned and converted into storage rooms... that happens everywhere, but only in Venice are the suburbs four or five kilometres away, and separated from the historic center by a lagoon, so to make the historic center appear as a separate town. What the banlieues are for Paris, Mestre and Marghera are for Venice; and while people bemoan the crazy rents in downtown Paris, nobody would say Paris is dying, or associate Paris with morbidity for that matter. In Venice, everyone does, Venetians included, so they add to that air of morbidity. OTOH again, it would be fascinating to research to which extent our modern concept of "morbidity" has been shaped in turn by the experience of Venice after the end of the independent republic, with all those architectural remnants of a global political power that had vanished - so many educated Europeans made this experience on their "grand tour" throughout the 19th century! (And I doubt the 12th or the 16th century knew anything like "morbidity" - I think that's a 19th century concept, a concept from the Romantic period.)
Fourth, the thought of inland cruise ship tourism is certainly funny and interesting... I wouldn't say, though, that Italy encourages it - I'd rather say Italian politics are incapable of dealing with it, of channeling it, so they leave dealing with it to the commercial players.
Fifth, cruise ship tourism in Venice - I'm not opposed to Venice being a port, of course. But I am actually opposed to allowing cruise ships to dock in center, that's totally irresponsible. For two reasons: first, the ditches dug into the ground of the (extremely shallow!) lagoon so to make the big ships pass are harming the lagoon environment - they're the main reason for the frequent floodings of Venice, since simply too much water is passing through them into the lagoon; so ALL big ships should be banned, and the ditches filled in. Second, the dreaded motoondoso (the quick, small waves caused by motorboats, lapping against the foundations on the canal banks) is harming the buildings and the substructure of Venice, so much that the city of Venice had to ban all vaporetti from the narrower canals (where they used to pass until about ten years ago). Go figure what the cruise ships passing through Canale della Giudecca are doing - not just to the fundaments on Canale della Giudecca itself, but well into the small side canals.
Finally, if need be, you can always contact me (on F-VG or for whichever other reason) at [email protected]. I'm not checking very regularly and may well forget it for a couple of weeks, but in the end, I'm always coming back to that address.
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Old Aug 7th, 2010, 10:08 AM
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The automatic conversion into a link failed for that email address. Of course, the dot at the end is not part of the address:
[email protected]
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Old Aug 8th, 2010, 12:05 AM
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I do think morbidity came into full bloom in the Romantic period, replacing the melancholia and humors and vapors (and fates) of earlier eras, and giving it a new shape. But do remember that the very first line of Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice is:

In sooth, I know not why I am so sad:
It wearies me; you say it wearies you;
But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,
What stuff 'tis made of, whereof it is born,
I am to learn...

The morbidity I feel in Venice is not a shrinking population but something else about the watery lagoon environment and sinking buildings, the oozy feel of decay and rot and mold, unused buildings from more than one lost empire, all of which put together seems to bring on wistfulness, thoughts of death in Venice -- which reminds me, do you know Geoff Dyer's "Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi" -- ? (I haven't read it.)

http://www.powells.com/biblio/2-9780307377371-1

As for Italy encouraging cruise ship tourism, the tourism sector of Italy strikes me as one of the more organized. With so much more coastline than other European countries, maybe Italy's tourism pros have calculated Italy has the most to gain from the fear of flying that set in after 9/11, and put itself in a position to benefit from the boom in cruise ship tourism. Cruise ship tourism creates its own special tourist culture. Take a look sometime at the Caribbean boards on Fodor's, and you'll see all the same agonizing over which island to pick as you do which Tuscan town. It's an insular kind of vacation travel that puts consumption and sport miles ahead of the educational value of travel, and in some ways Italy is much better for that than the Caribbean. There isn't the disturbing poverty to ignore. In Tuscany, all you have to do is ignore the history. Etruscan sights? Who needs 'em? Skip 'em! Even with all its coastline, its inevitable the cruise shippers are going to flood inward, and discover a paradise of shopping and vino. And golf!

Back to the subject of dangerous itineraries, which started this thread. Of course these "2 Day" tourist itineraries are a crock, not simply because Italy's art cities are too rich to be digested in 2 days, which everybody already knows, but because they keep tourists so busy throwing 3 coins in the fountain, sipping a Bellini and buying leather in the San Lorenzo market, none of which has anything to do with seeing Rome, Venice or Florence. Seeing the actual cities would get in the way of experiencing tourist Italy, create a dissonance, which people who put a lot of work into editing great cultures for tourists in hopes of getting money don't want. And they really don't want it. It's not just their incomes, it's their egos that are now invested in it, and their names (made up or real). I laughed out loud when I saw in a book store "Rick Steves' Italy." And there are people who want to go there (on Fodor's they want to go to some poster's Provence and send off for the brochure).

Well, I'm no longer saying anything new. Was news to me about how the deeper cruise ship channels have played in increasing flooding in Venice. (I did know about the lapping water against the foundations.) I'm tempted to say it proves Venice has a death wish, but you see it and feel it some other way I gather.

Glad you got the thanks and more thanks for the gmx address. The way my itinerary is shaping up, I may even have time for steak in Gemona dei Fruil -- by the way, I was perusing Plotkin's updated food guide to Italy and Il Melograno near Pitigliano is there.
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Old Aug 8th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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No, I don't know "Jeff in Venice..." - I'm not big on fiction books. My thing is music! Which leads back to Shakespeare.
It's not at all clear whether he's ever been to Venice; everything quoted here http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle3613789.ece doesn't entirely convince me (the use of the words "gondola" and "gondolier" has such a "local feel" that he must have been relying on personal Venetian experiences? oh well). (And btw, the Gobbo di Rialto is of course not "on the bridge", but on the square between S. Giacometo and the Court of Justice.) Anyway, having been to Venice or not, Shakespeare may have been the predecessor of all 19th, 20th and 21st century transfiguration of Venice into "Venice". (Perhaps not a predecessor of Rick Steves, that's not what I wanted to say.) Actually, he was a predecessor of the 19th century in so many respects, it's just amazing. His characters are emotionally so modern (i.e. so post-baroque) that he was one of the main inspirations - and here I'm coming back to music - of 19th century opera: the only pre-modern, pre-enlightenment playwright who achieved this position! Perhaps he was not only anticipating romantic love (among many, many other modern emotions), but also romantic morbidity. Or even romantic "Venice"?
Personally, no, I don't perceive Venice as having a death wish, nor do I associate it with rot and mold. Perhaps I'm just going there already too long - not just because I became acquainted to it, but also because it was so much more moldy and decayed when I started to go there (my first visit was in the late 70s)... so many more empty, neglected buildings... crumbling plaster everywhere... innumerable straying dogs and cats that didn't belong anywhere... the polluting and damaging pigeons were still fed (!) instead of poisoned by the city administration (in winter, a public official carrying a large box full of grains on his head - another reminder of the oriental tradition of Venice! - would roam the whole city and strew about those grains for the pigeons)... at that time, the city was really down at heel. Today, it seems actually overrestored, at least to me!
And the Venetians, their continuous grumbling (about the shrinking population, about the tourists, about how pricey everything is - grumbling is their favourite pastime) aside, don't associate their city with sinking, with decay or death either; nobody is less scared that Venice might be sinking than the people who live there. ("Sinking Venice", that's the trump card of the romantic picture of Venice - and of the tourism industry. Visit Venice as long as it's still standing!) To give a musical example, isn't this song epitomizing the romantic feel about Venice? Visione veneziana, composed by Renato Brogi: http://magomaev.info/new-audio/Music..._Veneziana.mp3 - quite certainly the best Italian canzone on Venice (for the text, see http://www.musicain.it/VENEZIA/TESTI..._veneziana.htm ). Guess what? I've never heard it in Venice. All those singing gondoliers are croaking 'O sole mio, Torna a Surriento, Maria Marì and the other Neapolitan standards all day long. Their only (but ubiquitous) Venetian song is "Andiamo in gondola"; very surprisingly, it seems to be unavailable online, but it's a cheerful, schmaltzy song made for swaying to the music. No hint of morbidity.
As far as standard itineraries and Bellini sipping, I'm entirely with you - the one thing that still puzzles me is why their choice of sights they recommend is so identical. They could still do what they think suits their commercial interests best if one recommended climbing S. Marco's campanile and the other climbing S. Giorgio's campanile (and the third visiting the Scuola di S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni, between Bellini sipping and pigeon feeding).
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Old Aug 9th, 2010, 06:37 AM
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In a post that has disappeared in the meantime, somebody was skilled enough to trace that song "Andiamo in gondola" online: http://www.musicain.it/VENEZIA/TESTI...gondoliera.htm
This is what might be called (with all due irony) a concert hall version of that song. The gondoliers make it sound even more trivial and swaying.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 10:41 AM
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I am researching my trip to Venice in September. I have a passion for Palladio, so searched the site for information, and discovered this gem.

Yes, I know it is old (2010), but, nonetheless, valuable re the itineraries, to get people started on their planning re important sites. Clearly, not all links still work.

Also, a lively and interesting discussion among people who know Venice, its architecture, history and its current challenges.

Good stuff!
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