Hands up!


do you like ex-convents?

do you like families?

do you like babies?

do you like dogs?

do you like young people?

do you like music?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above, you’ve won a set of steak knives.

Oh wait, wrong blog.

Last evening, I spent such a wonderful couple of hours in the ex-Convento of Sant’Elena. By now, you all know where Sant’Elena is, and could find the Church of Sant’Elena and its ex-Convento, if pushed hard enough.

I’d been wanting to get inside this place for a couple of years, and then the opportunity came and tapped me on the shoulder. For several Saturday afternoons, young students from various schools of music would be strutting their stuff for proud parents, grand-parents, siblings and other assorted hangers-on. That’s where the family bit comes in.

Last evening, the students came from the Scuola di Musica Giuseppe Verdi, which is based in Campo San Bartolomeo. Each performer was given an enthusiastic welcome, and an even more rousing round of applause after their performance. The age of the students ranged from about 10 or so, to young adults, and the level of competence also varied.

Oh, the babies. This is Italy, so of course there were babies. One was just in front of me, and boy, did she rock with the music, to the joy and enjoyment of those who were near her.

There was only one dog, but he was banned near the beginning of the concert, because he barked. Maybe it was his personal musical critique? Later, he was allowed back in, and doled out wet kisses to his family. They used varied equipment to dry their faces, tissues and sleeves were the preferred option.

What a joyous experience this was. I hope to go back next week, to listen to and watch more wonderful young people, from another school. They must work so hard to prepare for this nerve wracking event. The young lass with a Grace Jones haircut who sat next to me was about second last to perform, and her tension was palpable. She played the piano, and sang Amazing Grace. She brought tears to my eyes.


The exact location of the mystery hole in the wall is:


While I was looking and taking more photos, a gentleman came along who lived in the Corte. His definite answer when I asked the purpose of the structure was that it was to hold an oil lamp, in days of yore. (Thanks to Daniela, I understood what he said!)

So, I’m satisfied, how about you?



Filed under Uncategorized

28 responses to “Hands up!

  1. That’s nice that St Joseph’s day is used in that way. I have found birthday cards in that ‘euro’ shop in Cannaregio.


    • Caroline

      I’ve found the odd small selection of birthday cards, although usually horribly old-fashioned & sometimes literally needing the dust blown off! But nothing more specialised. And just one-off, hand-made (although still quite basic) Christmas cards for about E5 each!!


  2. Ciao, Daniela, thank you for the information! Happy Mother’s Day, tutte, domani. 🙂

    PS Argh, I had the month wrong, didn’t I, Daniela.


  3. (Yvonne, you understood because you are a model student!!!)

    We have a special day for mothers, this year is May, 12 (every year it changes because it’s the Sunday after May, 9 which was the Mother’s day in the past)


    • Caroline

      And Fathers’ Day here in Italy is next week, March 19th (St Joseph’s day). I hold out no hope of being able to buy a Fathers’ Day card, though, since it’s extremely difficult even to buy a simple birthday card! In fact just this morning I tried asking a shopkeeper, who (unusually) had a small range of greetings cards, and he just laughed!


  4. Caroline

    Yvonne, did you go on the advertised guided tour of the church after the concert? I didn’t have time after ‘my’ (shouty) music students’ concert, but hope to manage it another week.


    • No, I had forgotten all about that, Caroline. But, when I came out (at 6), there was a handful of worshippers headed for the church, so I don’t know if a tour was held or not.

      (The students were swarming over a table laden with very good smelling food as I left.)


      • Caroline

        Ah, maybe when they planned the tours they had underestimated the length of the concerts? I think I got out at 5.40 but it seems quite likely that Mass would be at 6.


  5. The recital sounds like a very special treat. When I was young, I played the piano (not well) and had to perform at recitals. I remember learning how to curtsy for this! It is hard to execute a proper curtsy when you feel like you are going to throw up.

    Good job on solving the mystery of the oil lamp! Now, we need you to solve another one; those stone protrusions from the facades of palazzi that look like they held an awning? Darn, I can’t remember what they are called!


  6. What a lovely time you had.


  7. Wow, Yvonne! I felt like I was right there with you…both at the concert and discussing the oil lamp option with the “grumpy” Venetian. He probably was delighted that a) someone even noticed the indentation in the wall and b) that you were truly interested in what it was for. Little did he know that you have millions (well, almost) of fans out here wondering too.


  8. Yvonne…what a treat…wish we were all there to share your joy!!
    Yes…I’m buying the ‘oil lamp’ explanation!! (going to ombra.net to check it out!)


    • You would have really enjoyed the concert and the audience I reckon, Linda.

      I was so glad when the man came along just as I was poking around the niche and the opposite pillar. He was a little bit grumpy at first, but warmed to the subject!


  9. Other Yvonne

    I had a special night of “up and coming” Irish Step Dancers/River Dancers in Enniscorthy once. Watching these young peoples joy is contagious isn’t it? Hope you had a wonderful Venetian Mothers Day!


  10. Giuditta (Jude)

    Thanks for such a delightful description, Yvonne! I felt like I was right there with you!!


  11. Andrew

    That explanation will do for me. Sounds great to be involved in all those young lives.


Now it's your turn

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s