Monday, March 14, 2005

Life in Venice

After little sleep, late flights, and a close encounter with some of the stinkiest feet to have ever menaced an aircraft (Britney Spears, move over: there is a little Italian boy who gives your stench a run for its money), I arrived in Venice. The apartment has a view of the Grand Canal and may have been owned by the Sforza family in olden times. I need to spend a little time on its highly unsafe terrace to take in the view, but we have been running around constantly. The streets in Venice are a delightful warren of crumbling brick and stone, and just when you think that your goal is in sight, an unbridged canal will block your path. Not that I mean to criticize; the city is small enough to be a manageable walk, so long as you do not mind frequent detours and scenic routes.

Our first stop was the Guggenheim, where Peggy and her dear doggies are buried. The house includes some extremely desirable pieces of art, particularly the several Calders. Unfortunately, many of the works are behind glass and less than perfectly lit, which resulted in my boyfriend's purchase of a print which looked better than the painting itself.

We've also been to Saint Mark's, where I was mesmerized by the 2200 year old bronze horses that were stolen from Delos by Venice, snatched and then returned by France, and finally brought in from the elements a mere 30 years ago. As emblems of the Evangelists, they are iffy; as sculpture they are sublime. We then adjourned to the balcony that overlooks the piazza and meditated on the geometric increase in civility that takes place between the ground and the sky. In the piazza, all of the tourists are rude and rowdy and wouldn't give you the time of day, but once they ascend to the top of St. Mark's, they become courteous and giving, with people of all nationalities meeting in the clouds to altruistically assist one another with that most worthy of endeavors, the vacation photograph. We took photos for couples from at least three different countries and received photos from several in return (alas, an older American gentleman remarked that he knew we were not Italian because my boyfriend was not kissing me for the photo. As founder of International Kissing Day, I have vowed to improve this situation).

Still to come: the Doge's palace, the Accademia, Murano, more galleries, more shopping (I do have a charming Carnevale mask already, but nothing glass as yet), and a gondola ride!
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