So civilised

You’ll find Calle Vechia running off Via Garibaldi in Castello. Those two white rectangles below the nizioleto (street sign) were notices in Italian and English a resident of that Calle had pinned there.

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Here’s the English version. It’s striking how polite and restrained (usually) these communications are.

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PS Bert sent me a link to information about the water tower he and Andrew discussed the other day.  Have a look! http://www.m11watertower.org.uk/

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’twas on Pellestrina

When I headed back from a jaunt to Chioggia, I decided to get off at Pellestrina and walk for a while, rather than immediately hopping on the bus that would take me back to the Lido.

Part of the way, I walked on the sea-wall, and then I climbed down from there to walk toward the lagoon to see what I’d find there.

A little historical note: the first stones of the murazzi (sea walls) were laid in 1744. Their purpose was to form a protective barrier for Venice, from the waters of the Adriatic. 

Was this fellow harvesting dinner for that evening?

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Were these lads skipping school? It was a nice day to do that.

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I admired the shape of these windows, and the custom designed shutter on the first one.

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There are some churches to be found in Pellestrina, including S. Demetria.

The interior of Chiesa S Demetria

The interior of Chiesa S Demetria

And, here is the Saint herself

This temple was unfortunately not open. It looked interesting.

The Tempio dell' Apparizione

The Tempio dell’ Apparizione

This looked intriguing, but I had to leave it for next time. It must be another church, but I don’t know its name.

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Someone was airing their comforter in the window, next to that elegant chimney. (Well, I think it was a comforter. Now, it looks like a trussed up body! Maybe I walked past a crime scene!)

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And, another water tower.

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 Pellestrina is another example of a location with quite a lot to offer, if you have the time and can wander around a while. The buses to and from the Lido arrive about every half hour, so you can time your detour accordingly. Have fun exploring!

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Burano isn’t just all about pretty colours

While trudging around Burano, after visiting Torcello, I saw something I’d never noticed before. It took me a few tries to get close to it; I kept hitting dead-ends, or finding myself further away from it. (Doesn’t that sound rather like Venice?)

Here’s what I had noticed over the rooftops.

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Finally, success! But what is this interesting structure?

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Someone poked his head out of a door, and before he could escape, I’d stopped him and asked what it was. He confirmed what I had thought it might be, a water tower. (Some of you already knew that, didn’t you?)

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See if you can find it, next time you’re on Burano. And, do you have interesting water towers in your part of the world? I’ve seen some knockouts (on TV) in England. Have any of you ever been inside a water tower?

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Meanwhile, Down Under

The inside of my house was re-painted earlier this week. Here are the hard working painters!

They were having 'smoko' before they started the job. My house looks all fresh and sparkly!

They were having ‘smoko’ before they started the job. My house looks all fresh and sparkly!

I hit the jackpot with the mail this morning. Two books I had ordered from the Book Depository have arrived.

The lastest Donna Leon novel, and the Moleskine "Firenze" notebook.

The latest Donna Leon novel, and the Moleskine “Firenze” notebook.

I am so impressed with the Book Depository (UK). They fill the orders promptly, their prices are good, and the delivery is free.

I may be reading by candlelight tonight, if Cyclone Ita makes her power felt here in the Tablelands. I hope everyone in her path will be safe.

 

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Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence

The Festa delle Donne (Women’s Day) occurred while I was in Florence. Among venues that offered free admission to women was the Church of Santa Maria Novella.

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On the façade of this church, on either side of the entry, you will note some interesting structures. The one below is on the left, and is an armillary sphere, the work of Ignazio Danti, a Dominican monk and astronomer. Using this sphere, and the sundials shown below, he calculated the discrepancy between the Julian calendar and the solar year. His work with a committee of scientists was responsible for the introduction of the Gregorian calendar, in 1582. (This involved losing 10 days, so you went to bed on 4 October 1582, and got up on 15 October, 1582. Pity if your birthday was skipped that year!)

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To the right of the entry you’ll note a marble sundial with several gnomons (the uprights that cast shadows onto the sundials).

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 The other side of this sundial also displays several gnomons.

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And, if that isn’t enough, there are 2 more sundials! I am in awe of the intelligence and imagination shown by this monk, so many centuries ago.

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And, then, just as I turned to leave this area, my eye was caught by this work in the marble. What in heck could it be?

It turns out to be the emblem of Giovanni Rucellai (thank you to David Lown, whose Walks in Florence, an Amazon Kindle edition is proving a goldmine of information).  Sig. Rucellai must have had bags of money, he paid for finishing the upper portion of the marble façade, which was designed by Leon Battista Alberti.

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My eyes have become opened to the many discoveries to be unearthed in Florence!

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Corte Trapolin, Cannaregio

A quiet, hidden little corner of Cannaregio.

I wonder if acqua alta poses a big problem here? They have canals on either side of the corte.

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Small miracles

When I first saw this little marvel of nature, I was entranced by the cocoon the little creature had woven. Even with opposable thumbs, there’s no way I could produce such a thing.

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I gently touched the fibres that made up the little casing: they were firm and wiry. Imagine the insect using the secretions from his/her own body to build this.

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The next day, the creature had shed its skin, and it looked quite different.

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There has been no change in the last couple of days. I’ll try to capture any other alterations, and share them with you.

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