Ah, Venice . . .


(April 21-22, 2014)

Tuesday, J was feeling better, so we went out to see some museums. Although we aren’t big fans of ‘modern’ art, the Ca’Pesaro has perfect little gem of a collection. There are some very big names here: Rothko, Warhol, Kandinsky, Calder, Moro, and usually Klimpt. (The latter’s works were all on loan to Milan, dammit.) The collection is divided amongst several rooms, each with a well-edited explanation card that gave each piece good context in both history and within the collection. Turns out that we still aren’t fans of most modern art. But that’s us, I think we’ve seem some of the best now, and we can at least state out opinion with some context to support it.

After that, we walked down to the Scuola di Grande San Rocco and saw the incredible Tintoretto church, often billed as his Sistine Chapel. All of the works in the building are by him, or from his workshop. It is an incredible piece, and one of the best collections of work we saw in our entire trip. They sensibly offer mirrors for people to be able to really examine the ceiling, images from the Last Testament; a smart move I thought. Not to be missed are the gorgeous carvings in wood all around the church depicting virtues and vices. This place is a jewel, and the 1 euro audio tour was absolutely great.

After all of the art, we were feeling a bit peckish, so we stopped into a trattoria in the next campo. Over a nice lunch of pasta with seafood (me) and meat (J), we talked about what we’d seen. We also ended up talking about the masks we’d seen and wanted, and agreed that we didn’t want mass-produced. I expressed the opinion that we might have a hard time finding a place where they *really* make their own masks. (I wasn’t expecting a workshop like the one found in Joan Vinge’s The Snow Queen, but we both wanted the quality that comes from creating by hand, not machine.)

After lunch, we went to the Gallerie Accademia which is described as a treasure trove of Venetian art, only to find that it was basically it was another collection of religious art, and didn’t have much to recommend it. The only highlight were the Titians, they allowed us to finally understand why people found that painter so important. Otherwise this was just really expensive and not that great.

Because it’s Venice, and because I had read about it in so many books (not travel guides), we then went to Harry’s Bar and had a Bellini. At 16.50 euro for each, we definitely had -A- drink.

We were so very close, so we wandered over to San Marco piazza and looked around. Definitely not our scene, but we’re glad we saw it.

 

st marks

St Mark’s

As I mentioned, we’d fallen in love with a new kind of mask, done in a steampunk style, but didn’t want to buy something mass-produced. As we were wandering home, we happened to pass by a small mask shop. In the window of which was something that caught our eye. We talked with the owner for awhile, and he showed us pictures of his process of making the item we were interested in, and talked about the process for another one that caught our eye. He was the real deal, and we enjoyed fumbling though a mix of languages to talk art and process with him. It was a nice little gift from the Universe to give me in return for my asking.

Tuesday evening we had our ‘splurge’ dinner at Da’Fiore, which I’ve been told is the most exclusive restaurant in Venice. This was our ‘Il Convivo’ meal, and deliberately different from the very casual places we’d been to otherwise. We had a wonderful time. The architecture is that of a boat, and the service was exquisite. We were given amuse bouches of fried barcallo (codfish) that were delicious. From there we went on to pasta — wide green noodles with clams and mussels for me, a cream-based ‘gratin’ for J. J had sliced beef with mashed potatoes for his main, and I went a little retro and had their deep-fried oysters in spicy sabayon sauce. J’s was gorgeous and definitely the best beef we’d had to date. My oysters were delicious, but too rich, and I only had half of them. I drank a delicious Soave Classico for the first time and it perfectly paired with the meal.

Da’Fiore was literally in our neighborhood, so a five minute walk brought us home. Another lovely day.

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