Free at Last
Italy in now in Code Yellow and so we can travel a bit. Although, the situation in India is worrisome and so very sad.
I shall put the worries away for a little bit, while we all hope for a solution, perhaps with a serious collective effort to put an end to the pandemic.
Back to us, and our troubles. As I said now we are free to travel, with limitations, but it seems so good nevertheless! So with this spirit what’s better than a day trip to Venice.
Venice also need all the help we can give them.
We figured that these days of low-tourist presence it would be a good thing to go to the places that we normally skip because of long lines. Palazzo Ducale is one of them. The Basilica would have been also, but it was still close.
Therefore our itinerary was a stop at the church of Santa Maria di Nazareth, or church of the Scalzi, then to the church of Santa Maria Formosa and to the near by “Librearia Acqua Alta.”
Libreria in Italia means “Bookstore”
While “Library” is called “Biblioteca.” In Italy, the 2004 Code of Cultural Heritage, in article 101, defines: “biblioteca” a permanent structure that collects and stores an organized set of books, materials and information, however edited or published in any medium, and ensures consultation in order to promote reading and study. Think as “The Library of Congress” or the “New York Public Library.”
Libreria Acqua Alta
This lovely bookshop is located in a particular corner of Venice, far from what it used to be the most obsessive tourist flows, but at the same time close to one of the most beautiful churches in Venice, the Church of Santa Maria Formosa.
The particularity, however, is not the place where it is located, but how it is conceived.
Considering that when the high water exceeds 110 cm. the “acqua VERY alta” enters from the back door on the canal and beyond, the bookshop is equipped with a series of elements that can float—a Gondola sounds an obvious choice—an old boat and even a bathtub—why not!—all floating things! All filled with books of every genre: books on Venice, obviously because tourists are very attracted by the specificity of the place, adventure books, mystery books, a good amount of books in English too.
In the two small courts there are old books salvaged from previous floods, which serve as a staircase to see beyond the surrounding wall on the adjacent canal, or they climb vertically on the peeling walls.
The Red Stone
Next I wanted to see the Red Stone that should not be stepped upon.
It is located in the “Zorzi Sotoportego,” between “Corte Nova” and “Calle Zorzi,” still in the “Castello Sestiere”: a red stone that, if trampled, leads to bad luck and misfortune!
Everything stems from the terrible black plague of 1630 which did not spare the inhabitants of any area of the city of Venice, except, miraculously, all the residents of “Corte Nova” who were protected, according to popular sentiment, because of a sacred image of the Virgin on a votive altar on that particular sotoportego. A red slab of marble marks the point in the pavement near the center of the underpass where legend has it that the “Plague” was stopped from entering the Corte in front of the miraculous painting of the Virgin.
Even to this day the red stone holds special meaning for Venetians, who will not step on it for fear of bad luck.
If you see it you must not step on it, or misfortunes will come upon you.
We thought that perhaps it will work for COVID too, so I didn’t step on it (but kept my mask on, just in case 😉😁).
A Lunch Break Was a Must
(Al fresco was mandatory)
We were the first clients on their first opening day. They treated wonderfully!
Trattoria da Giorgio ai Greci, Fondamenta San Lorenzo Castello 4988/89, 30122 Venice Italy,
My choice was cuttlefish with their ink and polenta!
Effortless Palazzo Ducale
No waiting on line for the entrance! We visited all the rooms at our own pace. There were four of us only inside the various rooms at the same times. We were really inspired by the magnificent windows and the beautiful views!
For a visit of the Palazzo Ducale I strongly recommend getting a guide. There is so much to see and it is so overwhelming, as I described in “ZOOMING-IN VENICE: PALAZZO DUCALE”. A little guidance is a must.
The day ended with a gondola ride. The prices were very low, and the gondoliers were very willing, we got a much longer tour, on clean canals, and free of traffic.
But you all will be very welcomed back!