an old venetian woman told dottie that we must go see an art exhibit happening up a flight of stairs of a building she just exited. on a narrow passageway near our apartment. up we went.
Venice in Light – dialogues and silence in the picture between the 19th and 20th centuries
many of the artists lived here in dorsoduro near the academy of fine arts. over 70 works of italian artists. brilliant. serendipitous.
it is the 500th anniversary of tintoretto’s birth and venice is alive with celebration and exhibit of his life’s work. we went to a special exhibit at the doge’s palace. marvelous, but i have only these fish to show for it. too much time spent standing and sitting before the paintings awestruck.
off we went yesterday to the rather popular acqua alta bookstore where you can find great walls and stairs of books. books in bathtubs, gondolas, crates. stacked high and low on every surface. it was crowded and dear frizz luigi, the owner was away for the holidays. i picked up a postcard and photo of luigi which i pasted into my travel journal.
my new policy (which can be broken at any time) is to purchase only that day what i will use in my travel journal that night. my travel journal is evolving into something i like very much. loose, cutty, pastey, scribble book with a few sketches here and there.
afterwards we meandered down the labyrinth of passages that lead from campo to campo, over arched fairytale bridges, past stone walls, decorative wrought iron window grills, into dark freezing churches. and every once in a while a peek into a room where chandeliers glowed bright through glass windows. down one dark corridor off a main channel which led back to the lagoon, we saw a windowed door into a gondola maker’s studio where he sat sanding a forcola – the part of the gondola where the oar rests. blocks of carved wood were stacked from floor to ceiling in various stages of completion and against the far wall, dozens of long oars leaned against the wall. a workshop out of time, just us and the man working silently. we watched for a bit then left him to his centuries-old trade.
in venice, here among the watery canals there is magic and i swear it is ALIVE. promise me you will visit in winter. you will wrap yourself against the cold and walk between the layers of stone and iron, down paths so many have gone before you. the fog and church bells will bewitch you.
finally i met the elusive levinia of legatoria piazzesi, the woman i tried to meet many times before on my last visit to venice in 2012. her shop was closed so i was never able to go inside. since 1851 the store has been here, but under different ownership. the original gentlemen is long gone, but livinia continues to sell the original stock of paper. or something. i lost track of the story somewhere along the way so don’t quote me on any of this.
i bought a few small things and paid an exorbitant sum – you’re paying for the legend i guess. still, i was happy to do it.
tomorrow i go back to legatoria poillero where i plunked down a hefty sum for a mountain of paper in 2012. if memory serves me correctly it will be a richly rewarding experience that won’t cost me a small fortune. especially since i plan to buy very little. naturally, i’ll keep you posted.