This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for December 27th, 2016

Unusual Shops in Venice

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 27, 2016

Unbelievable as this may sound, Venice does have shops that sell beautiful things not mass-produced in China. “Gualti” was very close to the flat that we rented in Dorsoduro. I must have walked by it a dozen times but never had the courage to go in because I was certain I couldn’t afford it. Gualtiero Salbego is a self-taught artist who creates sinuous scarves and flamboyant jewelry. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll buy a Gualti scarf someday.

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A local designer sells funky bags near Campo Barnaba. I’m fairly certain the store was in Calle Lunga S. Barnaba. It was closed when I took this photo and I never got a chance to go back when it was open. If you want to buy interesting things that aren’t produced solely for the tourist market, student areas are good places to shop. Dorsoduro has a lot of students, which means affordable bars, cafes, and supermarkets.

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This large, two-room shop, located in San Polo (maybe Salida S. Polo) sells gorgeous Japanese fabrics, pottery, hand-bound books, and interesting scarves. The design of the perforated scarf on the right is the result of slits cut into the fabric. When it lies flat, it looks like a piece of wrinkled gauze. I spoke for a few minutes with the clerk. Beautiful things but beyond my price range.

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Alleys of San Polo

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 27, 2016

The neighbourhood around the Rialto Market in San Polo, Venice, is a warren of tiny alleys. The arches overhead, with weeds growing out of the cracks, seem to serve no structural purpose. I was told that they signified ownership; if someone owned two adjacent buildings, an arch would be built between them to show that they had the same owner. You often see these arches at the entrance to a small square which, in Renaissance times, often belonged to an extended family. (That also explains the impressive churches found in tiny, out-of-the-way, courtyards.)

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The bridge at the end of the Fondamenta Riva Olio (by the Grand Canal) ends at a wall that forms one end of the Pescheria (fish market). In this photo, you can see the arches of the fish market on the left.

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If you walk in the colonnade behind the tourist shops of the Rialto Market (yes, the stores with the scarves, souvenir magnets, leather bags, and San Marco banners) and look up, you’ll see these old, unprotected frescos over walls covered with graffiti. The sheer volume of artwork in Venice is staggering. I took these photos in the morning, before the shops had opened, so it wasn’t too crowded.

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Detail of fresco and groin-vaulting.

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Scala Contarini del Bovolo

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 27, 2016

The scala (stairs) of the 15th century Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo have been open to the public since Feb. 2016. Unfortunately, we arrived just after they’d closed and I had to take these photos through a high fence. The view from the top is said to be extraordinary. Oh, well, we’ll have to put it on our to-do list for our next trip to Venice.

The palace is in the San Marco Sestiere, not far from Piazza San Marco, but it’s not easy to find, because it’s located at the end of a tiny alley, surrounded by private houses and a tiny hotel. “Bovolo” means snail, referring to the shape of the staircase; it also became the nickname of this branch of the Contarini family. Imagine being named after your staircase!

Photographing this staircase was a challenge because the fence was so close to the building and I didn’t have my 10-22mm lens with me.

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500th Anniversary of the Venetian Ghetto

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 27, 2016

2016, which will be over in a few days, is the 500th anniversary of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice. It was pouring when we arrived at Piazzale Roma by bus from the airport. While waiting for the apartment owner, I photographed the tram before it left the station. The People Mover was decorated with photos from the Ghetto.

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Tourists on the Scalzi Bridge look down, while Renaissance Jews look up.

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