December 12, 2013 – Venice

Today is starting badly. Shortly after we get up, but thankfully after John is out of the shower, the hotel’s water cuts off. Nothing, no hot or cold. Then we knock on Sarah’s door to see if she has water. She has no water, too, but she does have a cold. It turns out the pump has broken but can be quickly fixed. Unfortunately there is no quick fix for Sarah’s cold.

Over breakfast we discuss today’s plans. We have seen the bulk of what we want to see and today are just planning on catching a few bits that we’ve missed. Sarah opts to stay in bed to try to catch up on sleep and work on getting better.

John and I venture out. Wow, is it cold! Below freezing! Our wimpy California selves are having a hard time with it.

A Venetian with his boat of vegetables serving customers in the freezing cold
A Venetian with his boat of vegetables serving customers in the freezing cold

Our first stop is at the Church of Saint Pantaleone. (The 3rd century St. Pantaleone was an esteemed doctor to the Emperor Maximian. He became convinced that faith healing was more useful than medicine and helped set back medicine in Europe until the 16th century.) In the church there is a masterpiece by Vivarini of the Virgin’s coronation. All the saints are there and they are all carrying their attribute. We spend an enjoyable 15 minutes or so identifying as many as possible.

Church of Saint Pantaleon
Church of Saint Pantaleon

I really want to take a picture but the sign says “no camera.” I ask John to blow his nose while I take a picture so the attendant won’t hear the camera. I back up out of view. I bring the painting into focus. A voice says sternly, “No foto!” I am busted by a closed circuit camera! But not thrown out of the church.

The Coronation of the Virgin Mary (Photo taken from the internet!)
The Coronation of the Virgin Mary (Photo taken from the internet!)

Somewhat abashed, we leave for our next stop, the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a civic confraternity of ordinary citizens. It is brimming with Tintorettos. Walls, ceilings, altarpieces, he has painted at least 30 monumental works here. Tintoretto’s signature play of light and dark is readily apparent. We rent the audio tour. We are wowed. From there we move into the Church of Saint Rocco.

John in front of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco
John in front of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco

St. Rocco (or Roch or Rochus) is venerated as a healer. He healed people of the plague. Venetians prayed to him to end their great plague outbreak of 1629-31. He is shown in paintings pointing to a plague spot on his leg. I offer up a silent plea for my knee. There are more Tintorettos in here.

It is past 1 PM and time to look for some lunch. We settle on a place that has an offering for 12 euros, a bargain. We decide on spaghetti alla vongole and calamari with salad. It is pretty tasty.

On our way to lunch we walk through a pleasant square
On our way to lunch we walk through a pleasant square

We cross the Grand Canal near the train station
We cross the Grand Canal near the train station

Lunch! We've decided that spaghetti alla vongole is our go-to dish. It's always good.
Lunch! We’ve decided that spaghetti alla vongole is our go-to dish. It’s always good.

Fortified, we walk to our last church of the day, Madonna Del’Orto (Madonna of the Garden.) Tintoretto’s tomb is here. It’s been a Tintoretto saturated day. But we are tired and really far away from the hotel.

Mary in front Madonna del' Orto
Mary in front Madonna del’ Orto

We catch the water bus back to our hotel. Sarah still has a cold. We decide just to get a sandwich at the corner tavern and some takeaway for Sarah. We are greeted like regulars. The proprietor is so sorry but there is a party tonight. No service. We ask if we can get something to go. Of course! But he is so sorry that he makes us a prosecco and compari cocktail with a big olive in it and some little appetizers for while we are waiting. John and he talk. (Somehow most places we go, John is able to understand the language and speak enough of it with the correct accent that people actually think he’s Italian or French or German. It’s amazing and annoying at the same time.) After throwing a few more free goodies in our bag, we all wish each other Buone Natale and we hustle back through the cold fog with our dinner.

Picnic in our room!
Picnic in our room!

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