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Venice - another trip report (deja vu all over again)

Venice - another trip report (deja vu all over again)

Old Mar 29th, 2013, 02:01 AM
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How wonderful - already the reports are showing a relaxed rhythm and deep knowledge of Venice that I am looking forward to reading.
Hoping to recapture glimpses from our brief but magical visit in December - didn't think it could be any colder, but SNOW is impressive!
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Old Mar 29th, 2013, 07:35 AM
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I've read a few guidebooks and discovered the odd error. I always thought the Fodors Italian money saving tip of "Order your coffee at the bar and pay, then take it to a table. Make sure that you return the cup, and you only need pay the "bar" price" was a brave suggestion. Akin to "Don't tip in the USA. You'll save a bundle".

So I must confess an error.

We came to Venice about six years ago, found the Legattoria Polliero shop by the Frari, and bought paper there. Four years ago, we found our way there, and two years ago, also went there. Two years ago, there was a black bordered frame in the shop, advising of Polliero's death, and we were a bit sad. I wrote about it in my then trip report.

So today, we bought Chorus passes (ten euro and I think they used to be thirteen), visited the Frari, and then Polliero's shop. It came as a surprise to find Mr Polliero in good health - it must have been a brother who passed away. We're a bit happy about that - and if you visit the Frari, his shop is to the left as you face the main facade.

Maybe it's an Easter miracle, but more likely, I screwed up two years ago.

I still pay the "al banco" price and stand at the bar, though. Call me a coward ...
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Old Mar 29th, 2013, 07:55 AM
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Venice is labelled as expensive. Maybe it is, although it does depend on exchange rates and the like. It is easy to find costs for hotels and the vaporettos - heaps of web sites provide that. It's harder to get an idea on "walking around" costs though, the sort of "per diem" costs that one will encounter. So a random sample, all costs in euro:

Lunch today at the Cantina Schiavoni in Dorsoduro. A stand up lunch in a bar, four slices of "tapas" each, and a glass of wine each, total cost 12 euro.

A coffee and a croissant - about 2.50, maybe 2.30.

Two pizzas, plus half a litre of wine at the Ae Oche pizza place - 26.00. We "doggie bagged" about half of the pizza - next time we'll order one plus a salad to share.

A coffee standing at the bar near the Frari - 1.50

Vodka - 7.99 for 750 ml.

Half a duck - about 12.00 a kilo. Veal osso bucco - ditto. Prawns (or maybe scampi) were about 16.00 a kilo.

A spritz in a bar - 2.50
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Old Mar 29th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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So today, we bought Chorus passes (ten euro and I think they used to be thirteen), visited the Frari, and then Polliero's shop. It came as a surprise to find Mr Polliero in good health - it must have been a brother who passed away.>>

I am very pleased to read that Snr Polliero and his shops are still with us [but sorry about his brother of course!]

you're right about costs in Venice - it doesn't have to cost a fortune. we lived quite reasonably when we rented an apartment for a week, compared to when we'd stayed for shorter times in a hotel. IAnd 'm sure that long-term residents like you spend much less than those who are just passing through. Indeed it always strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron when posters ask how to fit 10 cities into 20 days, say, on a tight budget, as with so little time in each place, they don't have time to search out the cheaper places.

I'm interested in the combination of the vodka and the duck/veal and scampi. would you like to come and post what you did with them on the 'what's for dinner" thread?
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Old Apr 1st, 2013, 04:11 AM
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Venice has a reputation for being romantic - although if you arrived per bus, alighting on the Tronchetto, it may appear less than romantic.

One of the ways that Romantic Venice displays herself is with the padlock. The Accademia bridge is plastered with padlocks, secured to the stainless handrails. It seems that the fashion is to write one's name on the padlock, along with the name of one's beloved, secure padlock to railing, throw the key into the Grand Canal and post pictures on Instagram, Facebook et al. There is barely space left for further locks on the bridge, and I expect that the city will soon corner the market for scrap brass.

The gentlemen who otherwise attempt to making a living selling umbrellas and designer bags offer padlocks for sale on the bridge, and there's a monster lock on the bridge nearest to where we are staying. That lock won't be moved without a grinder or oxy torch.

I saw one couple with a combination lock on the Accademia. Maybe the plan was to place the lock on the railing, write the combination on a piece of paper and throw it into the Grand Canal.

I should be less cynical. Lou and I were married some twelve years ago, and there has been some wedding cake in our freezer for all that time. We brought it to Venice with us - we could not think of a better and more lovely place to eat it.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2013, 09:58 AM
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We spent a little time in the far reaches of Cannaregio. When you walk around Venice, you can be forgiven for thinking that there's not much else than stone paving and brick The gardens are mostly hidden - it's hard to even see that they are there But gardens do exist, and where there are gardens, then there will be gardeners and nurseries. So we went in search of, and found, Venice's nursery. Fondamenta dell'Abbazia, 3546, near the Misericordia. The nursery is the full deal, greenhouses, trees, potting mix, and you can see it in Google satellite's view of Venice.

We bought a plant, and it seemed a little like a day in the country.

Also in far Cannaregio is the Hotel des Doges, Fond de la Madonna dell'Orto, 3499. The hotel was formerly the Palazzo Rizzo-Patarol, and the garden is quite something. It was created in 1700, and Austrian Emperor Francis 1 visited it during his stay in Venice in 1815, by which time the garden must have been quite mature. There is a mound in the garden, hidden amongst the trees and grottos, that hides an underground ice house. The garden is quite romantic, paths, bridges, ponds and wells, statues in niches, formal in a haphazard way - and that's hard to achieve.

I suppose that big blocks of ice would have been brought from the Dolomites and stored in the ice house, the kitchen staff being pleased to be able to offer sorbets to guests. To visit the garden, ask at the hotel reception. They asked us to buy a coffee or drink at the bar, as the "price" of admission, or maybe the garden is for guests only - and the coffee or drink makes us "guests". The hotel des Doges is five star - unlikely to see us as overnight guests.

The main drag from the Ferrovia to Rialto, the Strada Nova, is hugely busy, devoted to the tourist market. AC Milan shirts, questionable "Murano" glass, knock off handbags. It seems to change once you go further north, and Cannaregio seems to be about residents rather than transients like us. Shops selling plumbing fittings and electrical cable rather than cosmetics, shoes and gloves. A different side of Venice to see.

We walked down to the Salute this afternoon, past Peggy G's place, and we're pleased to report that the painter that we first saw there four years ago, selling the worst watercolours in all the world on the street is still there. That gives a nice sense of continuity. While our favourite bookshop on Saliz. S. Moise has closed, to be replaced by yet another L Vuitton outlet, the rotten painter survives yet.

And we were lucky to visit a friends apartment, ground floor, windows opening onto canals on two sides. She could lie in bed and hear the wash of boats passing her window. Maybe a gondola, maybe a water taxi, maybe a garbage boat.

That's Venice.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2013, 11:50 AM
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Thank you for your inspirational report!!!!!!
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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We spent a day away from Venice today. Burano and Torcello, plus a cruise around the lagoon.

We took vaporetto from Fond Nuove (which I always have trouble finding), and disembarked at Mazzorbo. Mazzorbo takes its name from the Latin - Major Urbis = Big Town = Mazzorbo, but Mazzorbo ain't that big these days. There's a well attended cemetery, and some housing that combines the Burano tradition of painted houses with what's known as Functionalist Brutalist concrete architecture. Not even a bar on Mazzorbo - maybe the residents go to the big smoke (Burano) for shopping - I don't know.

But things are afoot on Mazzorbo - there's a vineyard planted there. Young vines, just coming into bud, and if you are bound for Burano, get off the vap at Mazzorbo and stroll through the vineyard. Along the edge of the vineyard there are garden plots worked by the local residents, and it's really pleasant.The whole vineyard overlooked by the one remaining campanile from Mazzorbo (which once had half a dozen campaniles), plus several well regarded nunneries (super-nuns, such as we now have super-models).

Mazzorbo was a major point of entry for goods from the Middle East into Europe, with customs revenues, finance, insurance, all the commercial niceties required in the ninth century. Venice and the Rialto merchants and brokers rather took it over, and Mazzorbo has been a backwater ever since.

There's work being done on the Mazzorbo waterfront. It's been going on for a couple of years.

Cost - One million, three hundred and twenty four thousand, six hundred and eighty four euro, and ninety cents.

Project completion date - 30th June, 2012.

These details courtesy of the Project Advice Board on the Site.

I've worked in construction a little, and there are three key ingredients to any project, viz. Quality, Cost and Time.

The Quality of the Mazzorbo works is excellent. I love the way the stone work dovetails, the way the paving is set to accurate levels.

Cost - well, at least the estimate was detailed. I wonder, though, what the 4.90 euro was for.

Time - seems to have slipped a little. However, the work looks good.

But get off the ferry at Mazzorbo and walk over to Burano - it's a really nice stroll.

Burano = lace. Burano = lace. Lace101 = Burano. OK, better visit the lace museum (part of the museum pass, good value at 24 euro). I'm not really a lace kind of guy, more your cotton T-shirt wardrobe. But the lace museum is worth visiting. The work there is pretty remarkable, the lace workshops were where errant young ladies wound up. There was a group of half a dozen Burano ladies working lace there - great to see, a craft being preserved. If you visit, take the time to view the DVD screening as you enter - it explains a lot about the craft of making lace.

There's another aspect to it. Lace is a luxury product. Lace takes ages to make. So there's an economic aspect to the lace trade. The lace trade could only exist if there was consumers who were fabulously wealthy, and lace makers being paid a pittance. If it takes a handful of years for several lace makers to make, say, a wedding dress, then the bride must be wealthy.

Napoleon decreed that lace had to be worn for certain ceremonies - and he decreed this as a job creation scheme. Let's get all those unemployed youngsters making lace - keep them off the streets, and it distributes wealth.

Over to Torcello, via the traghetto, which steams from Burano to Torcello like the African Queen. Maybe that's where ACTV trains vap drivers and rope-men. Our last trip to Torcello was in the dead of Winter, ice on the pavements and on the roof of the church at 3:00 in the afternoon. Warmer today, and we walked way out the back of the church. There's an archeological dig happening there, well documented for the casual observer like me. A tiny introduction to a science that I know little about.

Keep walking further out the back of the church, and you almost blunder into the lagoon. Walk a little further, and you'll get to a locked gate, Viatato entry, keep out, beware of the cane (dog), etc. In other words, you've reached the Torcello Yoga of the Future Ashram. Peace and Light - but the last Google entry was 1995. Please advise if you know anything about yoga on Torcello.

I'm not into the paranormal much, but I find a kind of spooky feeling about Torcello. Lou described it - "there's a heartbeat, but no pulse". Maybe the legacy that remains in a town that had several thousand residents in about 1100 A.D., and now has about thirty residents.
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 12:16 PM
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I'm another who always gets off at Mazzorbo, it's a peaceful entry to Burano. I'm sworn to secrecy re: what the 4,90 euro was for. Sorry.
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 12:31 PM
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I've done the research:

Estimated Cost of the Works : 1,300,000 euro +/- 10%
Cost for pre-commencement publicity - estimated - 24,000 euro
Cost for drinks at the ground breaking ceremony - 600 euro
Cost for water taxi for Mario (too sloshed to take own boat) 80 euro
Cost for Mario's packet of smokes - dropped overboard - 4 euro.
Lighter for ditto - 90 cents (also overboard).

So Total Project Cost 1,324,684.90 euro
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 12:38 PM
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Wonderful report, Peter. We Emirate to Venice in a couple of weeks and being passionate gardeners (the apartment we are staying in has a garden) we will find the garden in the Hotel des Doges, and find that nursery.

Eagerly awaiting your next post..
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 01:01 PM
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Wow, Peter...you have made my day with this.

My wife and I are going to Venice (5 days), Verona (1 day), Padova (2 days) and Vienna (4 days) in early-mid-May, and this is really getting us excited.

We were there in March 2004, and as we came out of the main tunnel on the train from Florence, we (as were you) stunned by the snow - 4-5 inches on the ground.

By the time we were down from the mountains and into the city, it was merely a cold, cold rain!!

Here's hoping things will be nicer this time in May.

Keep posting more info. I have Pizzeria Ae Oche on my restaurant list...it's on Calle del Tintor...is that the same one you ate at?

SS
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Old Apr 4th, 2013, 01:22 PM
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Sander, we are about 20 metres from the Calle del Tintor pizza place. Our apartment is in Calle del Oche!
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Old Apr 5th, 2013, 04:27 AM
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There's a vap stop called Riva di Biasio in Santa Croce. (Apropos of nothing, the church of Santa Croce was demolished during the 18th century, courtesy of Napoleon - who never actually visited Venice. There is a remnant column from the church of Santa Croce at the corner of the Fond. Monastero and Fond. Santa Croce.)

Walk from the Riva di Basio vap stop to Campo San Zan Degola, only a hundred metres or so, and the two places are historically linked, so it is said. (But also, maybe it's a "truth not to everyone" kind of linkage.)

On the south wall of the church, there's a high relief plaque of John the Baptist. It's about the size of a dinner plate, mounted head high.

Venetian mothers have been in the habit of telling errant children that the plaque depicts the head of one Biasio, a pie maker who killed a number of children, a Venetian Sweeney Todd. Basio's pies were well regarded - as people were not aware of the source of his meat. His crime was detected when a patron found a child's knuckle in his pie.

Biasio met an unhappy end, being hanged was the least of his indignities, and his name survives for the Riva di Biasio.
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Old Apr 5th, 2013, 04:51 AM
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Thanks for your fun report.
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 03:51 AM
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Enjoyed your comments about lace. it is an amazing art form ....
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 04:08 AM
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Saturday, April 6th, and Venice really turned it on. Sunny, clear, the temperature nudging 13 degrees. We found ourselves in the Piazza, spoiled for choice.

We have the Basilica, Quadri, the Correr Museum, the Doges Palace, Florians or the clock tower to choose from along with a whole lot of tourist-intended stuff, the American Snack Bar and so on.

So it was the typewriter showroom that took our fancy.

The Olivetti showroom is on the north side of the Piazza, and it's pretty special. Opened in 1957, designed by Carlo Scarpa, commissioned by Adriano Olivetti. The main doors fronting the Piazza are generally closed, so you enter through the side door, off the sottoportego. The door leaf is made of stone, and must weigh several hundred kilos. It runs on a track, and works beautifully. There's a strange sensation as one enters - the door leaf almost resisting entry because of its inertia, and yet welcoming because it runs so smoothly, almost as a gracious host. Stone door leaves are a bit of a Scarpa thing, as Querini-Stampalia Foundation, near C. Maria Formosa has a little stone door, and a monster stone door leaf both guards and invites entry to the University Institute of Architecture in Santa Croce. Outside the showroom is a brass Olivetti logo mounted on the wall, along with the name. Olivetti, about forty years ago, realised that nobody remembered their logo, and dumped it. Their new logo was simply the word, "Olivetti".

So, you pass the portal and door leaf, hand over five euro, and stroll around inside. There's a nude statue (I must confess that non-representational art challenges me) positioned in a water filled stone basin. The basin is levelled perfectly, and you can't really see - but you can hear - the water trickling over the edge of the basin. The "spout" for water entering the basin seems to say something about Oriental architecture, also bit of a yin / yang symbolism.

The ground floor paving is typical, and yet not ordinary, Venetian paving. Small coloured rectangles of marble, set in cement. The difference is that only three colours are used, red at the entry, white for the main part, and then a pale emerald green at the rear of the building. The rear opens to a canal, so perhaps the green is to reflect the water in the canal. The paving suggests a procession in some ways, a sequence, and the paving is arranged in courses, unlike most Venetian paving.

Take a moment to look at the light fittings and supports for business machines on display. Detailed fittings, secured by pins and wedges rather than screws and bolts. The same details are displayed on the mezzanine, where the tension members supporting the mezzanine don't have compression fixings. It is like Japanese woodwork, joints secured with pins rather than nuts and bolts. Even something as simple as the access cover for a heater valve is beautifully detailed, a little brass doorway.

Take the stairs. On first impression, the stairs look all over the place, a rock fall or waterfall. The bottom stair is even formed like the base of a waterfall, and there's a Frank Lloyd Wright feeling to the stairway, maybe a Venetian homage to Falling Water. But on a closer look, the stairs are geometrically perfect. Upstairs, a "U' shaped mezzanine, a pair of lunette windows giving onto the Piazza. The windows have sliding screens, like a Japanese shoji screen, ex rice paper. Lunette openings are an Oriental thing, and Scarpa used them all over the place, to all sorts of different scales.

There are all manner of other small details, stone cut in a finger jointed pattern - which is how you joint timber. Lights that seem to swim in place. All in all, a treasure contained inside an eleven metre by four metre jewel box.
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 04:30 AM
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If you are cruising around the North West corner of the Piazza, and if you have a lazy few minutes, you can locate the brass survey marker that indicates the exact centre of the facade of the Basilica. It is set in the white stone that marks the edge of the arcade, near the Sotoportego de l'Arco Celeste, a bronze marker about 30 mm in diameter. Not easy, but maybe pleasing, to find.

Then you can go to the other side of the Piazza, and just about in line with the doord to the police station, and 30 metres into the Piazza, you can find the location of the last well in the Piazza, filled in in 1500 or thereabouts. A big - a couple of metres in diameter - circle marks the spot.

If you go a bit further afield, to the Campo San Agostino in San Polo, at 2043 B, there's a paving stone. It is inscribed LOC.COL.BAI.THE.MCCCX. Bajamonte Tiepelo tried to overthrow the Venetian Republic in 1310, and was exiled to Istria for his troubles. His house in Campo San Agostin was razed, and a column placed to mark the spot. The column was eventually removed, and the place marked with the paving stone.
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 04:52 AM
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What a great report! I look first thing in the morning for your entries. Thanks!
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Old Apr 7th, 2013, 07:28 AM
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Peter, I never even knew that there was a typewriter museum in Venice!

sounds like it's worth a visit just for the sake of seeing the fixtures and fittings.

you said earlier that you find the fondamente nove difficult to find; the nearby church of the Gesuiti is somewhere that is also difficult to find, but is well worth it to see the marble curtains and swags, which i know I have mentioned before, but not necessarily to you! it's only open in the morning so it's somewhere to visit on the way TO the vaporetto stop, not on the way back.
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