Category Archives: Venice

In which I recommend a novel set in Venice

Phil Jones (or as the cover of his latest offering insists, Philip Gwynne Jones) and his wife Caroline have lived and worked in Venice for more than five years. During this time, he has found his way around the many narrow calli (streets) of this fascinating city. His knowledge of the geography and also the art history of Venice has been put to good use in this crime novel.

People who like mystery/detective novels will find this a natural fit for their reading choice. People who also know and love Venice will get an extra bonus, with the setting of this well paced novel, written by a person who knows the city and surrounds very well. 

Nathan Sutherland, the English Honorary Consul to Venice, has his rather boring life abruptly changed when he is caught up in a world of art theft and danger. As he and his friends Dario and Federica endeavour to pursue the truth about the small illustrated prayer book that has been left in Nathan’s care, he finds himself in situations he’d only before seen played out in movies.

Are the illustrations in the little book really by Giovanni Bellini, or is it a clever forgery? Will Nathan come out of this with his skin intact? Follow Nathan through the calli of Venice to find out how this draws to a conclusion. 

And now, I have a strange craving for a negroni.


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Door of the Stock Market building, Venice

Interestingly, borsa means purse (or bag) in Italian. That led me to think about the word bourse, which describes a stock exchange, especially one in a continental European city. And, that word in French also means purse (or sac), and is derived from the Latin bursa. What started as simply a couple of photos took me further afield than I expected!






I found out more that I actually wanted to on this site:  history-of-the-stock-market  including this reference to the early influence of Venice on the economy  “Later on, the merchants of Venice were credited with trading government securities as early as the 13th century. Soon after, bankers in the nearby Italian cities of Pisa, Verona, Genoa, and Florence also began trading government securities.”


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What is the collective name for a group of nuns?

A superfluity of nuns, viewed from above.  group




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From Melusina to the Starbucks logo

In my previous post, the last, rather strange image evoked mild response, with some of us curious to find out more. I posted the image on a Venetian group page on Facebook, with a plea for any information that could be provided. Many people responded, and  I can now tell you a bit about this unusual creature and her offspring.


She is a depiction of Melusina (also spelt Melusine), a  spirit of fresh water in a sacred spring or river. She is usually shown as a woman who is a serpent or fish from the waist down, sometimes with two tails. If you like myths, follow this link to find out more about this spirit.  melusine   Melusina was one of a set of triplets, by the way. There were a few suggestions about the two half human, half goat infants suckling, but no one came up with a suggestion I felt was useful to the discussion.

One of the people on Facebook mentioned that Starbuck’s logo features Melusina! Sure enough, when I did an online search, there she was in her two-tailed glory. By 1992, the image had been modified to omit this characteristic. But, just look at the 1971 version … that’s our lass for sure. You can read the history of this logo here: starbucks

blog females2

You just never know where a topic or comment will lead you!


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A challenge accepted!

In the previous post, Michel (Michel)  commented that there seemed to be a preponderance of male heads. This was followed by me saying I’d look for some female ones, and then Kathryn (conversationalitalian) chipped in to say she couldn’t wait to see these female architectural decorations.

The gauntlet had been thrown down, so what could I do but find a few examples for all of you.

Ladies and gents, I present a tiny sample of the stone (and other types of materials) females to be seen in Venice.



Isn’t she pretty? Those spikes sticking out of her headdress are to deter pigeons.



Well, I think this is a female.





Even some of the door knockers feature female figures.



Now, how’s this for a grand finale?



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Architectural details

Here are some decorating ideas for your next building project. Remember, it’s the attention to details that reaps benefits.






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Home, Giacomo

The hard working gondoliere of this sandolo has handed the oar to his younger friend. Now he can take a well earned rest as he is propelled homeward.





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The lion of San Marco is a frequently seen image in Venice. You can make it a theme for your photographic tour of that city.

This is a particularly stunning example of the symbol of Venice.




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In which Andante solves the vaporetto crisis

Thanks to the wonderful talents of Andante who reacted to the comment from thecontentedcrafter, I can bring you the future of transportation for tourists to Venice during the busy season. That’s every day except, as Caroline said, a couple of weeks in December and January.

(You may need to click on the cartoon to enlarge it for full appreciation.)

Tourist vaporetto 001



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Sailing, sailing

Chances are there isn’t as much room on the water buses (vaporetti) in Venice at this time of year. Nor is it as cool.

No wonder many people prefer to visit Venice during the winter.


There are plans to give priority on the vaporetti to residents during some of the time frames. Let’s see how that one pans out!


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