Venice Slow Time: Contrasts

22 July 2013

An eclectic collection of images today. We started at 0615, just half an hour after sunrise (according to my The Photgrapher’s Ephemeris app). While the streets between here and the Rialto Bridge were quiet, save for the street sweepers with their straw brooms, the workers were well involved in their pre-tourist tasks, probably resenting our encroachment on their alone time.

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Back home for some breakfast, then off down to St Mark’s Square again to finish off the museums. Today we saw the Museo Correr, the Archaeological Museum and the Biblioteca Marciana. In actuality, they are all housed in the same building. The Correr display took about five minutes: small, and all modern sculpture. Not my cup of tea. Then the Biblioteca and archaeological displays. Mainly art (paintings), some sculpture, and very few items that fit into the category ‘archaeological’. In several areas items of really quite off-beat modern art were displayed inside rooms decorated with magnificent 16th and 17th century paintings, ‘wallpaper’ (woven material) and ceilings. Didn’t work for me. In a couple of rooms there were empty display stands. After viewing the Correr display I had to look twice to make sure they weren’t modern sculpture installations, as there wasn’t much difference between the two. (Yes, I’m definitely an art heathen.)

No photos allowed. Not sure why. I understand that delicate and very old items shouldn’t be subjected to repeated flash photography; but I don’t understand why there is a complete photography ban. (The Galileo Museum in Florence didn’t seem to mind.) I can only surmise that the bookshop hopes to sell more illustrated books about the museum’s collections by banning DIY image-making.

From the museums we decided on a gentle stroll down the edge of St Mark’s Basin, until we got to the area that showed on the map as having some trees. This gave us the opportunity to observe a number of Venetian juxtapositions.

Firstly, this inflatable version of Marc Quinn’s statue Alison Lapper Pregnant. It is incongruous beside the church on San Giorgio Maggiore Island.

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Alison Lapper is an artist who was born without lower arms and legs (I subsequently discovered on Google.) The ‘statue’ was part of the recent Venetian Biennale, some sort of art festival, I think. The original is marble and hence, one presumes, not particularly relocatable.

On the waterfront were three very large and opulent boats. The first we encountered was a 58 m super yacht called Kokomo (which, with the mast, was entirely impossible to fit in the camera in its entirety.)

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I didn’t know till I got home and asked Google, but this superb piece of nautical engineering was fitted out in NZ, and has won some awards. It seems it has an Australian owner.

Whilst we were standing, mouths agape, admiring Kokomo’s vast expanse of gleaming paintwork and chrome, another nautical big noter arrived on the scene: the huge and modern form of transport squeezing through the narrow and ancient Venetian waterways.

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Just down from the Kokomo was berthed the Samar, a significantly sized ‘motor yacht’. (Why these things are called ‘yachts’ is beyond me: they don’t have a sail. They’re launches.) Less than 100 m from the Samar, several homeless men were sleeping in a small park.

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There are quite a few beggars in Italy, usually women, and usually Gypsies, I have been led to believe. I’m not comfortable photographing them.

A little further away from the tourists was a simple park: peaceful and shady…

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…where the guy pruning the trees was driving this contraption.

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In the land of Audis and Ferraris (and Smart Cars), an innovative self-drive trailer.

Finally, some other random images from today.

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