L’uomo commune, Florence

Vandals have attacked the sculpture L’uomo commune, on the Ponte alle Grazie,  causing significant damage and resulting in its being removed to police headquarters. See my previous post on this subject: http://ytaba36.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/the-common-man-florence/

I’m normally a polite person, but I hope the Richard Craniums who did this are found and fined. What, if anything, went through their tiny minds, to do such a stupid thing?
Artist Clet has maintained his sense of humour. He said ” The police headquarters seems set to become the first contemporary art museum in Florence.” Two of his sculptures are already in police possession.




Filed under Florence

What is an “ottagono” ?

While travelling on the ferry that is one portion of the trip from the Lido to Chioggia, I noticed this structure in the waters of the lagoon. What in the world could it be?

It took a bit of research, but I did find out that it is the remains of an “ottagono“, literally octagon, one of several that were used for the defence of Venice. As far as I can determine, it would have been built in the late 14th century.


 I also found a real estate advertisement, offering one of the ottagono for sale, with price on application.  http://www.landp.it/home-ita/venezia/ 

(Another advertisement for this island, dated May this year, quoted an asking price of 8 million euro. Gulp) 

If you’re in the market for this piece of history, here is a short video featuring the property. Before you sign the contract, will you please ask the real estate agent how they ever managed to acquire the rights to this ottagono.






Filed under Venice

Espresso, anyone?

In the Atherton Tablelands, we are fortunate to have a number of coffee plantations. Several of the growers also roast their own coffee, so we can always get fresh coffee, either as beans or ground the way we want it. Recently, a friend and I went exploring some of these plantations, and ended up at the Coffee Works in Mareeba. Here, our palates and noses were well catered for, and we went home clutching our own little bags of future caffeine delight.


The Coffee Works has a few relics of the history of the coffee industry, including this magnificent espresso machine. I’m happy not to be the one who has to polish it every day. And, it looks like you’d have to be a darn good barista to operate this baby.





Filed under Atherton, Australia

Elegance with bonus junk mail


Filed under Uncategorized

Sunday driving, with a difference

In Venice, it’s a case of “Dad, may I borrow the oars”, rather than the keys.

These young fellows were having a good time, and the oarsman was also learning how to row and speak on the phone at the same time, a necessary skill these days!

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Yes, mom, I’m being careful


Filed under Venice

By your Maltese Cross we’ll know you

A place many people visit in the sestiere of Castello,  is San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, one of the former scuole (confraternities). It is now a treasure house of art, including some charming works by Carpaccio.

If you walk past the entry to San Giorgio degli Schiavoni, and look to your right, you’ll discover another piece of Venetian history, San Giovanni di Malta. The original church was built in the 11th – 12th century, but was totally rebuilt in the 16th century. It, like many other religious institutions, suffered from suppression and the loss of art works, under the French in the 1800s.

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The Maltese Cross figures everywhere



Filed under Venice

The non-official gondolier

Back in 2009, Giorgia Boscolo was officially appointed as the first female gondolier in Venice, ending 900 years of male domination in this ancient profession.

But, another female had her eyes set on this prize. She is Alexandra Hai, who did not pass muster, despite having spent 12 years trying to become a gondolier. Although she has failed the gondoliers’ test several times, she won a court battle to be allowed to ferry hotel guests without an official  licence, and is now employed by a hotel in Venice to do just this.

One day, I caught a fleeting glance of Ms Hai, in her distinctive white uniform,  accompanying a hotel guest. I haven’t seen her in her gondola, Pegaso. Maybe next visit it’ll happen.



Filed under Venice