Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. If all the presents are open and you're looking for something to do this Christmas, why not go see Casanova?

The New York Times says, "Imagine my surprise, then, when 'Casanova' turned out to be not a bewigged and brocaded white elephant, but rather a lively, sly and altogether charming farce. Dispensing with the suffocating conventions of the historical biopic, Mr. Hallstrom and the screenwriters, Jeffrey Hatcher and Kimberly Simi (assisted, it has been reported, by an uncredited Tom Stoppard), make liberal and intelligent use of the literary styles and attitudes of the 18th century, when their story takes place. While it takes a few cues from Casanova's notoriously untrustworthy memoirs, 'Casanova' seems more directly inspired by the lighthearted, madcap comedies of near contemporaries like Pierre Marivaux and Casanova's fellow Venetian, Carlo Goldoni."

To read the commplete review, go to

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

San Marco Basilica Restoration Finally Finished

Clean-up of outside of St Mark's began almost 25 years ago (ANSA) - Venice, December 16

Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice, one of the lagoon city's most famous landmarks, is finally to emerge from a clean-up job which has lasted almost a quarter of a century.

The restored north facade of the basilica - the last to be tackled - will be inaugurated on Wednesday with a ceremony that will close a marathon project which began in November 1981.

Once grey and covered in centuries of dust, the green and pink of the columns and marble panels adorning the 1,000-square-metre north wall are now clearly visible again, along with the carvings of saints and the Madonna.

Over the last 24 years the restorers' scaffolding has gradually moved around and all over the Basilica, cleaning away grime from a total area of 5,000 square metres.

The Procuratoria of San Marco, the panel of experts and clerics which look after the building's upkeep, has been renewed three times since the monumental job began.

The money for the work has come partly from central and regional government and partly from private sponsors.

With its extravagant decoration in gold, marble, glass and mosaics, the basilica is a major draw for tourists and everyday long queues form outside to visit it.

The first church named after Venice's patron saint on the site was built in the 9th century as a shrine for St Mark's bones.

But it was destroyed by fire in 967. Byzantine architects played a large part in its reconstruction around 1070, helping give it its distinctively eastern look.

From the 12th century its splendour gradually grew thanks to alterations and elaborate adornments designed to make it reflect Venice's status as the dominant trading power in the region.

Incorporating materials taken from temples and Eastern ruins, it is shaped like a cross with a dome over the centre and one over each arm of the cross. The facade is incrusted with marble slabs and mosaics. Among the most famous features are the famous Four Horses of St Mark's, in gilded bronze, which stand on a gallery over the main entrance. They were cleaned during the 1990s.

From ANSA news. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 12, 2005

Guggenheim Expands to Ca' Dario


"Ca' Dario, a jewel of Venetian Renaissance architecture, will be the "second" home of the Guggenheim Collection whose historic original location is the nearby palazzo Ca' Venier dei Leoni, where exhibitions by the American foundation currently take place. An agreement was reached between the Guggenheim Foundation and the present owner Elisabetta Gardini Ferruzzi who has had the palazzo up for sale for some time. The Guggenheim will not actually buy the palazzo. Instead, it will have a franchise on it at very favourable terms. In return, the name of the Gardini family will be associated with any shows that are held in the new location. This acquisition completes the Guggenheim's expansion project, which became a necessity due to the continuous increase in the number of visitors."

Ca' Dario may be a haunted palazzo. According to numerous guides and guidebooks, Ca' Dario's owners frequently meet untimely deaths. It started in the 15rh century when the builder's daughter died. The deaths continued to modern times: in 1993, Raoul Gardini, owner of famous racing sailboat "Moro di Venezia," committed suicide. Then the manager of "The Who" bought the place--and soon committed suicide. Legend also says that Woody Allen wanted to buy Ca' Dario, but backed out of the deal when he learned the palazzo's history.  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Casino di Venezia Sold to an Internet Gambling Company

I just read that Sportalnet, an online “betting” company has purchased Venice’s casino and its trademark, “Casinò di Venezia.” Here’s the article, which can be found on (Note that this article says “Venice is one of the most clicked words on the internet.”)

Sportalnet, a Maltese registered on-line betting company, will be the new owners of the Casinò di Venezia. Sportalnet is effectively owned by International Trust, a company whose shareholders include former Nationalist MP George Hyzler, Rodney Lee Berger and lawyer Simon Tortell.

Tortell is already a shareholder in the Vittoriosa Gamings which holds the concession to operate the Casinò di Venezia. Until now the only other shareholer in this company was the municipality of Venice. Despite the sale of shares, the concession will remain in the hands of Vittoriosa Gamings as the sale will only involve a transfer of shares from the Venetians to Sportalnet.

Sportalnet will be paying US$ 7.8 million to buy 60 per cent of the Vittoriosa Gaming in the next two years. It will be buying the remaining 40 per cent in the next ten years. Meanwhile, the Venice local council has also reached an agreement with the Maltese group De Rohan Investments on the building of the hotel next to the casino.

Debono was formely one of the directors of the Port Cottonera, a consortium of
entrepreneurs who were responsible for the renovation of Scamps Palace back in 2001. In return for taking up this obligation, the municipality of Venice has committed itself to guarantee a supply of clients for the new hotel equivalent to $590,000US a year for the next ten years.

Sportalnet will not only be buying the historical Scamps Palace but also the
trademark “Casinò di Venezia” which will be used to lure more people into betting their money on line. The word "Venice" is one of the most clicked words on the internet. According to reports in the Italian media, the use of this trademark for on-line gambling is the main attraction for the new aquirants.

Malta's liberal laws which permit online gambling have created a budding sector which has become even more lucrative than actual physical casinos. Online gambling is only permitted in a few European countries like Malta and the UK and is still banned in countries like Italy. This has lured a number of Italian companies to operate from Malta.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Olympic Torch to Visit Venice

On January 17th, the Olympic Torch will arrive in Venice. The torch, which will travel through all of Italy’s provinces, will arrive in Turin on Feb. 7, 2006 for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. The torch starts its Venetian journey at the Piazzale Roma. Torch-bearers will carry it to the Rialto Bridge where it will board a gondola and go down the Grand Canal to the Royal Gardens near St. Mark’s Square. If you are in Venice on the 17th, please take some photos and send them in!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Venice Flooded

ROME (Reuters) - Bad weather battered much of Italy on Saturday, bringing heavy snows to the north, torrential rain to the centre and widespread flooding to Venice.

Hundreds of cars and lorries were snowed in on roads across northwestern Italy, while the tram system in Italy's financial capital Milan was knocked out for most of the day thanks to the winter storm.

In Venice, water covered 70 percent of the historic centre as heavy rains combined with a high tide to inundate the lagoon city. In parts, the water was so high it covered the raised walkways set up to overcome any eventual flooding.

In the northern region of Liguria, a cargo ship sank when strong winds drove it into a breakwater outside the port of La Spezia. All 13 crew were saved but authorities fear 14,000 litres of oil will leak from the ship's tanks, causing a possible environmental disaster.

The storm also hit Rome, drenching the Italian capital and flooding one of the main roads into the city.

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Microwave Your Books-Innovative Restoration Methods on Display in Venice

From news:

Restoration gets far-out in Venice
Fair showcases technology's applications for culture world (ANSA) - Venice, December 3 - The more innovative and unusual side of the art restoration world is being showcased this weekend at Venice's annual culture trade fair.

The Salone dei Beni Culturali is an opportunity to compare notes for a wide range of institutions and professionals engaged in protecting and promoting Italy's cultural heritage.

Heaps of inventive new developments have already been presented at the ninth edition of the show, which kicked off Thursday at the port's 'Terminal Passeggeri' and runs until Sunday.

Among the most eye-catching was one that involves the use of microwave ovens to conserve historic books and documents.

A group of experts from the Italian State Archive said they discovered that most of the tiny insects and microbes which attack paper cannot stand temperatures above 51 degrees centigrade.

So to kill them off, they just pop the documents in a special microwave for a few minutes and the job is done without any need for chemicals, which can be damaging. The main thing to have emerged from the event is how the world of culture is quickly tailoring new techniques and technological developments designed for other fields to meet its needs.

Progress made by engineers with lasers, for example, is being exploited by restorers to clean up metal objects, while new infrared technologies are making it possible to find out about ancient ceramics without having to interfere with them in any way.

This year the fair is also placing great stress on ways to help local authorities and museums promote cultural tourism - both to finance conservation and boost the local economies - with a series of presentations and workshops.

The event, organized by the Culture Ministry, has also provided a platform to show off a range of conservation programmes in Italy and abroad.

One of the most significant is Irpp/Saah, a Council of Europe project that aims to promote cultural cooperation for the conservation of 160 historic sites in the Balkan region. It involves seven countries - Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia - several of which were recently at war with each other. "The work started in 2003 and entails cooperation between specialists and authorities from the countries taking part and international experts," explained Council of Europe Director General Gabriella Battaini Dragoni.

"In this sense it aims to make a tangible contribution to the development of democratic societies, with citizens participating regardless of ethnic or religious distinctions."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Venice on "Good Morning America"

Venice was featured on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" (BMAC) program this morning. Unfortunatley, I missed it, but the GMAC website ( has the story. There's a video clips on "Can Venice Be Saved?" and one featuring Thom Price, an North Carolina native, who nows builds gondolas in Venice. I haven't watched it yet, but I bet it's fascinating. A few years ago, Thom gave me a tour of his squero and explained the gondola-building process.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

New Boot--the Moses--Unveiled.

I wish I had a photo, but I don't. So I'll leave it to your imagination:

Its name is Moses, just like the prophet found floating in the water and who led the Hebrews through the Red Sea, and it's a curious tubular boot that was presented on Thursday 10 November at Harry's Bar by its creator, Venetian actor Maurizio Bastianetto. One side of the boot has stylised drawings of fish and, on the other, a ruler that marks the height of the tide. Anyone who wears these boots will be able to know the exact level of the "acqua alta". The price is very affordable -- 12 euros -- and the manufacturer, which will produce 100,000 pair a year, presented mayor Massimo Cacciari and governor Giancarlo Galan with the first two samples. ("BUONGIORNO VENEZIA - The News from Venice" published fortnightly by VENICEWORD INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SERVICES in Venice, Italy - 21 November 2005)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Update on the Moses Project

The entry posted below (pumping seawater under Venice to raise it) made me start wondering about the Moses project (erecting huge gates on the floor of the lagoon. The gates would rise up and block the floodwaters). To pay for the project (and for other expenses, because Venice is broke), the Venice city council has decided to sell 13 palazzi. If you've ever wanted your own Venetian palazzo, this is the time to act! Prices range from 5 million euro to 35 million euro. If you buy one, please invite me to your housewarming party!

The following article comes from the Times Online, ( November 08, 2005:

City sells Renaissance buildings to keep afloat
From Richard Owen in Rome

FOR sale: 13 Renaissance-era palazzi and other historic buildings in the heart of Venice.

The vendor? The Venetian city council, which is practically broke and hopes to raise hundreds of millions of euros from the auction. It is hard to believe that Venice, which receives 15 million visitors a year, could be so hard up, but Massimo Cacciari, the Mayor, acknowledged: “We haven’t got a cent.”

Most of the visitors are day trippers who spend little, he said. Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right Government in Rome has cut contributions to regional and local authorities. Venice, once a proud and rich republic, consequently faces a budget shortfall of €40 million (£27 million) next year and has little choice but sell off some family jewels.

The properties, to be auctioned in January, include Palazzo Nani, which is valued at €35 million. It dates from the first half of the 16th century, fronts on to the Rio di Cannaregio, a picturesque canal that flows into the Grand Canal, and is described as “richly decorated with stucco work and Renaissance frescoes”.

Near by, on the same canal, is Palazzo Bonfadini, formerly used by the council refuse collection department but said to be in good condition. It has a provisional price tag of €20 million.

The Palazzo Zaguri, a late-14th-century masterpiece of Venetian Gothic, on Campo San Maurizio near the Grand Canal, is valued at €20 million.

Those looking for a cheaper option may want to bid for the recently renovated 600sq m Palazzo Foscari Contarini, on the Grand Canal next to the Church of San Simeon by the Ponte degli Scalzi (€5 million), or the five-storey Palazzo Costa, on Campo Santa Fosca (€12 million).

The mayor said that he was even considering adding Venice’s historic municipal casino, housed in Ca’ Vendramin Calergi on the Grand Canal, to the list.

A council spokesman said that offers were pouring in. He said: “We have even had approaches from international property companies interested in buying the entire portfolio . . . There is huge interest and commercial appetite in a city where property prices are at a premium.”

The council had initially assessed the value of the properties for sale at €34 million but realised that it had undervalued them when a set of offices behind St Mark’s Square unexpectedly fetched €5 million in March. “We are trying to obtain the absolute maximum value we can,” Mara Rumiz, the head of the council’s heritage department, said.

Luigi Bassetto, the official in charge of the sale, said that “in the end the market will determine the price”. He noted that some of the properties had been used as council offices, schools and warehouses. Some were in a “dilapidated or precarious state” and would need “considerable repair and restructuring”. Council officials said that there would be little difficulty granting “change of use” permits for converting offices into homes.

They added that Venice also needed funds for its ambitious programme of anti-flood and anti-pollution measures, including a controversial floating flood barrier, scheduled to be completed by 2011. The barrier, codenamed Moses and budgeted at €4.5 billion, is funded by central government and private firms but also by Venice and the Veneto region.

Yet Another Plan to Keep Venice Above Water

Yet another scheme to raise Venice above the floods is being considered. The story that follows comes from the Associated Press:

New Idea: Inject Sea Water to Raise Venice

Associated Press Writer

ROME (AP) -- A group of engineers and geology experts said Monday they are considering injecting seawater under Venice to raise the waterlogged Italian city by one foot to rescue it from the tides and floods that bedevil it.

That would enable Venice to regain nearly the same height it lost in the last 300 years, said Giuseppe Gambolati, the head of the project.

The $117 million project entails digging 12 holes with a diameter of one foot within a six-mile area around the city, and pumping seawater into the ground at a depth of 2,298 feet, said Gambolati, an engineer and professor at the University of Padua.

The seawater is expected to expand the sand that lies underneath, which combined with a topping of waterproof clay would eventually push up the soil, Gambolati said.

Gambolati said the experts were first planning to test the project on small area.

"If the pilot project proves successful, we will see an immediate benefit, even though gradual, while the complete elevation will be achieved in around 10 years," he said.

The project is still in its initial phase and it will have to be discussed and evaluated by various city, regional and state commissions before being approved.

The final version would be in addition to a much-publicized plan to build a flood barrier to ease the effect of high tides.

However, Gambolati's plan has its critics, including Michele Jamiolkowski, a professor of geotechnic engineering at the Turin Polytechnic, who warned the project requires years of research and millions of dollars before it can even come close to reality.

"We are really in the area of science-fiction," said Jamiolkowski, who also chaired the committee that oversaw the project to stabilize the Leaning Tower of Pisa. "This project is not something very realistic."

Jamiolkowski, who was asked for an independent evaluation by a group linked to the municipality of Venice, said such a plan would probably only raise the city by about six inches, thereby providing little respite from the rising tides. It also could cause parts of Venice to raise unevenly, "and this is absolutely unacceptable for buildings, especially historical buildings," he said.

Venice is threatened by water on several fronts. The city is sinking while the level of the Adriatic Sea is rising and high tides are becoming more frequent, flooding into famed St. Mark's Square and prompting officials to set up raised walkways.

The decades-old debate on how to save Venice from water brought approval in 2003 of a vast project to build a flood barrier to ease the effect of high tides. Dubbed "Moses," after the biblical figure who parted the Red Sea, the project calls for hinged barriers to be built in the seabed just off Venice that could be raised when high tides threaten the city. Completion of the $5.2 billion project is expected by 2010-11.

Giovanni Mazzacurati, the president of the New Venice Consortium, the agency overseeing the Moses project, said careful testing on the new plan will be needed to verify its most critical point - the evenness of the elevation.

"Venice is in a delicate situation, its structure is very fragile," he said. "Should parts of it be elevated in a different way, this would cause the city to crumble."

Gambolati said that, according to his preliminary studies, the project is not expected to affect Venice's stability.

The two experts also said that the new project will not conflict with Moses, but would simply be an additional help should there be any future rise of sea levels.

2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Arsenal Lions to Get Face Lifts (and more)

The lions standing guard at the gates of the Arsenale are among my favorite Venetian lions. Now thanks to Carive di Risparmio di Venezia (Carive), a local Venetian bank, the statues lining are going to be restored. I took this photo in May 2004. Here's the article from ANSA:

Symbols of maritime might to be restored
(ANSA) - Venice, November 18, 2005

One of the lesser-known splendours of Venice, the statues lining its powerhouse of seafaring strength, are to be restored to their original glory.

The statues, which include Venice's first Renaissance work, guard the entrance of the Arsenale, the shipyard and miltary fort which fuelled Venice's rise to power.

A local bank, Cassa di Risparmio di Venezia (Carive), is funding the restoration of the once-famous statues, which are located in a loggia lining one side of the Arsenale.

Carive President Giovanni Sammartini unveiled the project this week by saying: "The statues in the loggia of the 'Arzana' (the affectionate Venetian nickname for the site), along with the lions guarding its gate, are one of the main symbols of the Venice Arsenale." "The Arsenale has represented Venice's maritime power for 900 years, the origin and defence of its riches and commercial fortunes." Italian Navy Admiral Ernesto Muliere said: "The history of the whole Italian Navy was born and grew behind the walls of this ancient Arsenale, to which the Navy is bound by significant ties rooted in our history and traditions." The Navy is working with Carive to chart Venice's past, in particular its seafaring arts and military success in building an empire spanning the Adriatic and the eastern Mediterranean.

The Arsenale is the highlight of Venice's Castello district.

It is a city within a city, though nowadays largely derelict, which was the keystone of Venice's military expansion. At the height of the Serenissima ('Most Serene' republic), the 5,000 artisans working there formed a kind of aristocracy.

In the Arsenale's heyday it produced two ships a day. The gateway to the site shows the marked influence of antiquity, with lions, mythological statues and Greek marble columns.

It was the first Renaissance work in Venice (1460). The biggest lion, on the left, used to guard the entrance to the port of Piraeus in Athens.

It was brought to Venice as a war trophy in 1692. As well as Venetian craftsmen and skilled workers, the district around the Arsenale housed Arabs, Turks, Byzantines, Syrians, adventurers and former slaves. The area was a patchwork of nationalities, unique for its time.

© Copyright ANSA. All rights reserved 2005-11-18 18:24

Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 14, 2005

You're Supposed to Put the Coins IN the Fountain...

Even though it's not about Venice, I couldn't resist the following article from ANSA. When I Rome in October, I couldn't get to the fountain--the crowds were too large. But these guys found a way...

Four nabbed stealing Trevi coins--Fountain cleaners pocketed charity donations (ANSA) - Rome, November 14, 2005
Four people were arrested on Monday for stealing coins from the Trevi Fountain, the famous Roman landmark they had been hired to clean.

Every day thousands of tourists throw coins into Bernini's baroque fountain in the hope that this will ensure their return to the Eternal City, a legend made popular in the film 'Three Coins in the Fountain'.

The coins are regularly collected and then given to charity.

The four arrested, aged between 18 and 50, were employees of the firm sub-contracted to clean the fountain.

They were arrested soon after the job and were still in possession of some 1,200 euros in coins.

The fountain is one of the most famous in the world, not least because of Anita Ekberg's celebrated dip in its waters during the 1959 Federico Fellini movie La Dolce Vita.

Designed to replace an older fountain dating back to the 1450s, it was created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Pietro da Cortona in the 17th century but was not completed until a century later, around 1751 when Nicola Salvi was commissioned to finish the work.

The fountain, set almost entirely against the face of another building to maximize the space available in the small piazza, is divided into three niches telling different allegorical stories.

The marble centerpiece features the sea god Neptune guiding a chariot drawn by sea horses galloping over the water.

The fountain is the final outlet for the Aqua Virgo, the only Roman aqueduct which is still in use today thanks to constant repair work over the centuries.

� Copyright ANSA. All rights reserved 2005-11-14 15:55 Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Canaletto in London

Need an excuse to go to London? Here's one:

Canaletto - the English connection
London show looks at art dealer's role in painter's success
(ANSA)-London, November 12

An exhibition here of works from the largest Canaletto collection in the world spotlights the vital role of an English art enthusiast in the making of the Venetian painter.

The show at The Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace features 70 drawings on paper and 14 large oil paintings by Antonio Canale, or Canaletto (1697-1768).

The pieces are part of the collection amassed by Joseph Smith, an Englishman who lived most of his life in Venice and went on to become British consul in the city.

Smith was an art lover and dealer who quickly recognised Canaletto's appeal to the English market, particularly to members of the nobility taking the Grand Tour and eager for a worthy souvenir of their obligatory stopover in Venice.

Not only did Smith purchase Canaletto's paintings on behalf of these rich patrons - the Duke of Bedford bought 20 and the Earl of Carlisle 17 - but he also snapped up the Venetian's works for himself, collecting more than 50 paintings and 140 drawings over the years.

The partnership between Canaletto and Smith lasted more than a quarter of a century and it was this success with English buyers that convinced Canaletto to move to London in 1746.

The artist remained in the British capital for almost a decade but eventually returned to Venice, complaining that he could not adapt to English ways and weather.

Seven years after Canaletto's return to Venice, in 1762, Smith sold his entire collection to British monarch George III. The works have remained in royal hands ever since.

While some of the paintings produced by Canaletto for his English buyers have been criticised as mechanical, those in the Smith collection are considered exceptionally fine and testify to the Englishman's discerning eye.

The oils on show at The Queen's Gallery are all dazzling views of the Grand Canal while the drawings depict a large range of lively scenes of the lagoon city.

'Canaletto in Venice' opened on November 11 and runs until April 23.

© Copyright ANSA. All rights reserved 2005-11-12 12:24

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Inverno Veneziano --Winter in Venice

Winter in Venice often looks like this--a pack of umbrellas climbing the Accademia bridge. Winter is also a great time to be in Venice--the crowds are gone (despite the crowd shown in this photo), the museums are empty, and the restaurants are filled with Venetians--not tourists. So take your umbrella and your warm coat and go to Venice in the winter.

If you do go in the winter, here's some advice on things to do. This comes from (it's a great site, so please check it out):

"A special winter," by Luisa De Salvo

"The risk that we run today in discussing or proposing music and food is that of being banal or too general, to say everything and nothing at the same time. For three years now, Inverno Veneziano or Venetian Winter has been promoted by the Tourist Promotion Board of Venice with the aid and collaboration of many public and private bodies, and tries to avoid running this risk, or at least tries to look on the bright side by presenting ever more varied and exciting programmes for the autumn and winter seasons. When we look at the artistic and historic wealth of the Province of Venice, the events that take place every year seem to partly increase and partly change their locations; keeping in mind too the developments taking place in local tourism. The year 2005 has seen much attention focused on Mestre, on the new Municipalities and on some important tourist spots in the Venice area, such as Quarto d'Altino and Mirano.

"As regards the promotion of the initiatives presented over the past years, three of the main ones are being put forward again this year, enhanced though by a special novelty. Included in the Magici Ascolti or Magic Music shows in November are percussion instruments accompanying our guests in Venice in a rhythmic journey entitled 'Days of the Drum', part of the contemporary music section.
The Santa Maria delle Grazie Cultural Centre in Mestre is hosting four concerts - great styles of music ranging from the Balkans to Brazilian percussion, and from Afro-Cuban traditions to the modern expression of drums and electronic music. From November to January there is a programme of 16 concerts for choir and organ in some of the most awe-inspiring churches in the city of Venice and on the mainland. The organisers have managed to combine celebrated organists, of international standing, with Italian choral societies. Anyone enthusiastic about wolfing down sweets - and the curious visitor too - might like to taste chocolate in all its varieties and specialities: Dolci Asssaggi (Sweet Tasting) presents what is becoming a traditional appointment with 'Chocolate in the Villas'.

"For three weekends in the month of November, villas, gardens and historic parks in and around Venice (the city, on the Lido, on the Riviera del Brenta, at Terra dei Tiepolo) are sprinkled with little old-style Venetian shops where expert confectioners and chocolate manufacturers reveal the secrets of their craft, introducing visitors to the aroma, touch and feel of chocolate under a thousand guises.

"A Venetian Winter - right from its very first year - has undertaken to gather together and coordinate all the initiatives planned for Venice and its mainland area. And this year is no exception, with a very rich choice of cultural events covering wine and food and items of historic, artistic and musical interest: and all that public bodies, associations and Venetian businesses have programmed for the coming winter season."  Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Where's Casanova?

The following comes from Liz Smith's column in today's NY Post. I hope she's right about a Christmas Day opening--I'm really looking forward to this movie.

This is what Liz has to say:

"'We are the Catholic Church. We can do anything we want!'

"So says Jeremy Irons as the vengeful, pompous Bishop Pucci, in director Lasse Hallstrom's ravishingly romantic, swashbuckling and funny "Casanova." It opens Christmas Day. This film, a fictionalized episode in the adventures of the famous 18th-century libertine Giacomo Casanova, should do wonders to revive Hallstrom, whose recent films — "Shipping News" and "An Unfinished Life" — fell short. "Casanova" has already screened at the Venice Film Festival but has yet to show in the United States or Canada.

"Filmed entirely in Venice — Hallstrom used magic to reinvent the city into its ancient loveliness — the movie stars Heath Ledger as the fabled swordsman. Although inescapably a modern, Heath is handsome and studly in his period costumes and convincing as a lad who has the wit and whatever else to woo and win all women."

Monday, November 07, 2005

Elton John Auctions His Venetian Palazzo

Last week, Elton John’s AIDS foundation raised $2.8 million by auctioning off celebrity items such as a week in Donatella Versace’s villa in Lake Como (Bette Miller paid $140,000 for the week). Elton John offered a week in either his Venetian palazzo or his villa in Nice. According to the NY Post’s Page Six, “Bidding became so intense that Elton finally decided to put both places up for temporary residence. Venice went for $150,000, Nice for $100,000.”

Elton’s Venetian palazzo is on the Guidecca, near the luxurious Hotel Cipriani.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Sinking City of Venice

Tonight, the NYC PBS station (Channel 13) broadcasted a NOVA show called, "Sinking City of Venice." It's a re-run, that I've seen before, and it's worth watching when it comes to your town.

The accompanying website ( has a number of great featurers that show the proposed MOSES movable gates in action, an interactive map that lets you explore the many threats Venice faces, and links to a lot of great resources.

Check it out--and say a prayer for Venice.

I took this photo in November 2002. I was in Venice to take part in the Festival of La Salute, when a bridge is erected from Santa Maria Del Giglio across the Grand Canal to La Salute (more about that at another time). The acqua alta struck a half dozen times that week, forcing me into a frenzied search for boots!. Posted by Picasa

My Apologies

I'm behind on posting here and I'm sorry. But I have a good excuse. I've been in Italy. No, not in Venice. For the first time in half a dozen years, I went to Italy and did not set foot in Venice. And, you know what, I'm sorry, Instead of doing the "Tuscany Thing," I wish I'd gone to Venice. More on the Tuscany Thing in another post. Until then, maybe it's time to get to the Guggenheim in NYC or Venice. Our friends at Buongiorno Venezia tell us why:

"In New York, the 2006 programme for the Guggenheim museums was presented. In the Venetian branch in Ca' Venier dei Leoni, the chief attraction from 3 June to 24 September will be the exhibition 'Lucio Fontana: Venezia - New York.' It will gather the famous sculptor's works that he dedicated in the 'sixties to the two towns and that were exhibited for first in Venice at Palazzo Grassi and then in New York at the Martha Jackson Gallery. This show will be preceded, from 4 February to 21 May, by a photographic exhibition entitled 'Venice: The Stage's Art 1948-1986,' a series of black-and-white photographic portraits of famous artists whose works were presented at the Biennale from 1948 to 1986--a range of talent from Giacometti to Mirò and from Ernst to Chagall."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

More on Moses and Cruise Ships

Yes, I know I'm repeating a picture, but it's my blog so I'm going to do what I want. I'm repeating the photo because I'm following up on earlier postings about cruise ships and Venice, with a little Moses update thrown in. This comes from,,2100-1814892,00.html, the website of the U.K.'s Times and Sunday Times:

"The Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has approved construction of a $2.9 billion underwater dam to keep Venice above water. The Moses project comprises 78 barriers attached to the sea bed, which will prevent the annual inundation of St Mark's Square. World Wildlife Fund Italy agreed with Venice's mayor, Massimo Cacciari, that banning cruise liners and cargo vessels from the lagoon would be a cheaper and more effective means of controlling sea levels." Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 03, 2005

Today in History--Venice Goes Italian

On October 3, 1866, Italy and Austria signed a peace treaty. Under the terms of the treaty, Austria surrendered Venice and the surrounding region to Italy. Venice was once again Italian. (Thanks to for the info.)

Bowling for Gondolas--Vaporetto Destroys Gondolas

Three gondolas sank, two gondolas were seriously damaged, and fourteen poles were lost during the latest spectacular accident in Venice. Last Friday at 7:30 a.m., a broken gear transformed a motor launch into waterborne bowling ball in front of the Hotel Bauer at the end of the Grand Canal. Only the early morning hour averted a human disaster: at that time of day, the gondolas were without passengers. However, the damage was considerable. The three gondolas are beyond repair, and the cost of replacement is estimated to be about 100,000 euros. (From "BUONGIORNO VENEZIA - This Week in Venice" published by VENICEWORD INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SERVICES in Venice, Italy - 3 October 2005.) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Missing Venice

I'm sitting in front of my computer, wondering what I should post about Venice. And I couldn't think of a thing. I'm going back to Italy in a few weeks, but--gasp--I'm not going to Venice! I'm going to Tuscany....

I'm going to walk from San Gimignano to Siena, then I'm to Rome. I'm excited, but I'm also missing Venice. So, I went through my photos and posted a favorite view. Hope you enjoy it. I promise to look for something more interesting and will post it shortly.

While I'm working on that, I'll post a few of my favorite photos. Here's one that caught my eye. Got any idea of where it is? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Keeping Track of the Cruise Ships

Many of us have stood in Venice and watched, with dismay, as a huge cruise ship lumbered past San Marco, dwarfing everything around it. Now you can keep track of them and, if you live in Venice, prepare for the hordes of tourists that will soon be released from the bowels of the boat. Thanks to Weird Venice reader Tom Winkle for sending me this info:

"Go to and register for the public site. This is a worldwide website that provides real-time information on ship movements in many of the world's ports. It tracks ships by their Automatic Identification System transponder; an international requirement since late last year. The real-time site is subscription only due to terrorist concerns. The public site has at least an hour's delay built in and will not display any information beyond ship name, type and radio call sign. (The AIS system will display much more: origin, destination, IMO number, course, speed, etc.)

"By now you are probably asking, 'What the HECK does this have to do with Venice?!?' Simple! You can see exactly how many cruise ships have descended on 'our fair city.' It's interesting to observe the comings and goings. By clicking on the ship names in the list on the lower left, it circles the ship on the display and shows name, type of ship and its call sign. Cruise ship names are rather distinctive, so they're easy to pick out. When you click on one in the list, it will display 'passenger' under type." Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 12, 2005

No Speeding (Watch Out for the Helicopter)

The Venetian government is escalating its crackdown on speeders on the Grand Canal. According to Buongiorno Venezia, the town, has rented a helicopter for two months to enable local police to locate those who exceed the speed limit. Deputy Mayor Michele Vianello said, "It's an exceptional way to locate offenders. They are filmed and their position is relayed to the lagoon patrols who stop them to issue the fine. What I saw from above was a shameful thing. Nobody, with very rare exceptions, observes the speed limit. With this system, nobody will be able to get away with it."
 Posted by Picasa

Golden Lion Goes to Brokeback Mountain

Film about gay cowboys beats Clooney's entry
(ANSA) - Venice, September 10 -

Ang Lee's film about gay cowboys, Brokeback Mountain, won the top Golden Lion prize at the 62nd Venice Film Festival.

The Silver Lion for best director was awarded to Philippe Garrel for his film Les Amants Reguliers.

David Strathairn won the Volpe Cup for best actor for his role in George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck, while Italy's Giovanni Mezzogiorno won the prize for best actress for her performance in Cristina Comencini's La Bestia nel Cuore (The Beast in the Heart).

Abel Ferrara's Italian-produced film Mary received the special jury prize.

Good Night and Good Luck, which had been a favorite to win the Golden Lion, also received the prize for best screenplay, which went to Clooney and Grant Haslov.

The Marcello Mastroianni Prize for best performance by a new actor or actress was given to Menothy Cesar for Vers le Sud by Laurent Cantet.

French actress Isabelle Huppert was given a special Lion for her "extraordinary contribution to cinema."

The Horizons Prize was won by Lech Kowallski's East of Paradise, Gela Babluani's 13 (Tzameti) won the Luigi De Laurentis prize for best first film, while Xiaozhan (Small Station) was voted best short.

Special Mention was given to Leon Prudovsky for Layla Afel.

© Copyright ANSA. All rights reserved

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Clooney Gets a Cocktail

I think we all need a drink. And why not try a "Buona Notte," Venice's newest drink, which was created at the Hotel Cipriani. Here's an article from (Germany) that includes the recipe:

Hotel Cipriani Concocts New Cocktail in Honour of Clooney's New Film
On returning to the Hotel Cipriani after a special screening of his new film “Good Night, Good Luck” at the 62nd Venice Film Festival, George Clooney asked his old friend and head barman of the hotel's Gabbiano Bar, Walter Bolzonella, to mix him a cocktail.

Walter concocted a refreshing blend of diced lemon, sugar, vodka, cranberry juice, ginger and angostura bitters, which he christened "Buona Notte" in honour of the film which Clooney directed and stars in.

The cocktail was an instant hit. Clooney and friends enjoyed more than one that evening and "Buona Notte" is now a permanent fixture on the Hotel Cipriani bar menu costing EUR 20.

The recipe for the "Buona Notte" cocktail is as follows:
- ½ unpeeled lemon, diced into small pieces
- a tablespoon of cane sugar
- a strip of cucumber peel
- a ginger round
- 3-4 drops of angostura
- Pestle well, then add:
- 50g of Vodka
- 50g of cranberry juice
- Complete with ice flakes.
Serve in an old-fashioned glass with a straw.

Hotel Cipriani is set in the tranquil location of Giudecca Island across the lagoon and is just 5 minutes by complimentary shuttle boat from Piazza San Marco. This week, the Hotel Cipriani was voted the best hotel in Europe, Asia Minor and the Russian Federation in the "Overseas Leisure Hotels" category by readers of Condé Nast Traveller.

Let me know how it tastes!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Venice Dam Works Hit by New Protest

Demonstrators Invade Work Site Shouting, 'Let's Save Venice'
(ANSA) - Venice, September 5

An ambitious project to save Venice from the sea was hit by an anticapitalist protest on Tuesday. About 200 young anti-globalists staged a sit-in at the site where preliminary works are under way on the MOSE barrier scheme.

They sounded car-horns, shouted slogans and waved banners saying Let's Stop The Eco-Monster and Mose Is Eating Up Venice.

The protest - which lasted about an hour - came a day afer Veneto Governor Giancarlo Galan warned Venice "could suffer the fate of New Orleans" if a centre-left government comes to power next year.

He claimed any new centre-left government would pull the plug on a project that "offers the only hope of making Venice and its lagoon safe for good." The governor of the region around Venice said that the catastrophic floods that have displaced thousands in New Orleans were caused by a lack of political foresight and the forces of Nature.

Similarly, he claimed that if former premier Romano Prodi's centre-left coalition gets in next year, anti-barrier policies and ever higher tides could combine to push Venice into the Adriatic.

Galan's statement stirred a wave of protests from opponents of the plan who believe only alternative projects can save Venice.

Ever since its conception, the scheme has had supporters and opponents. MOSE is a biblical reference to Moses' parting of the seas and an acronym for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico (experimental electro mechanical module. Last month an environmentalists' report said the project violated European Union environmental directives regarding sites of European importance.

Another report identified 19 violations of municipal, regional and European environmental laws.

The two reports, however, failed to halt work on the project, which has been going ahead for a few months.

The Moses project comprises 79 barriers, designed to rise from the seabed to block the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when high tides are forecast.

The threat to Venice appears to be increasing as heavier rains have hit northern Italy in recent years, weather experts say.

Scientists have conceived various ways of warding off the waters since a dramatic 1966 flood. In the end, MOSE was approved.

Experts say there are three main reasons for high water in the city: the rising floor in the lagoon caused by incoming silt; the undermining of the islands by the extraction of methane gas in the sea off Venice; and the overall increase in sea levels caused by global warming.

After 30 years of debate and testing, MOSE was inaugurated by Premier Silvio Berlusconi in May 2003 but work is still in the preliminary stages.

The centre-right government in Rome has adopted MOSE as one of the jewels in its nationwide crown of major infrastructural projects but it has long been a source of contention within Venice.

It is opposed by environmentalists, conservation groups and a large number of citizens, angry over the costs involved and concerned at the environmental impact. They say the cash - some 3.4 billion euros - could be put towards more effective, cheaper and less damaging schemes.

Despite a series of legal challenges and widely covered demonstrations, a ruling last year by the regional administrative court gave definitive clearance for the project's go-ahead.

Combined with positive assessments from the Venice Water Authority, the Commission to Safeguard Venice, several teams of international experts and the municipal council's own implacable support for the scheme, environmentalists appeared to be fighting a losing battle.

Only a turnaround in the attitude of city authorities would offer fresh hope to MOSE's critics.

The project's completion date has been put at 2011.

© Copyright ANSA. All rights reserved

Monday, September 05, 2005

Donate Your Miles

In the last day or two I've been seeing news articles that say Venice could possibly suffer the same fate as New Orleans. Or how New Orleans should be rebuilt as a U.S. Venice with canals instead of streets.

Interesting speculation, but let's not forget that hundreds of thousands of people are without family, homes, and jobs. Let's not forget that these people (in the entire region, not just New Orleans) need our help. Here's a painless way to help: donate your frequent flyer miles to the Red Cross or another charity.

This is what the Red Cross website ( has to say:

America West
FlightFund members may donate their miles in 5000-mile increments into the Miles of Hope program. FlightFund members who wish to participate in this program should call the FlightFund Service Center at 1-800-247-5691 or visit the America West web site.

Continental Airlines
Continental's frequent flyers may donate their OnePass miles online by visiting the airline's web site ( Or, customers may make a donation by phone by calling 713-952-1630 (choose option 4 to speak with a customer service representative).

Delta Air Lines
Delta Airlines has generously supported the Red Cross over the years by allowing its customers to donate their frequent flyer miles. The Red Cross was privileged to be Delta's "charity of the quarter" for a three month period in 2000, during which we were highlighted on their web site. Since then, while not specifically mentioned by name on their web site, it remains possible for Delta customers to donate miles to the Red Cross by phone, fax, e-mail or regular mail.

To make a donation through SkyMiles OneSource Automated Telephone System, call 1-800-325-3999. Have your SkyMiles account number and PIN available when calling. To donate miles by mail, e-mail or FAX, please prepare your request in writing making sure to include the following information:

* Your SkyMiles account number,
* The amount of mileage you wish to donate, and
* The name of the organization you want to receive your donation.
* Delta will make sure your miles get to the charity you've indicated.

By e-mail:

By fax: 404-773-1945

By mail: Delta Air Lines, Inc.,
SkyMiles Service Center, Dept. 745
P.O. Box 20532
Atlanta, GA 30320-2532

Whether you donate by phone or in writing, the donated mileage will be automatically deducted from your account and reflected on your next mileage summary.

For More Information:

Northwest Airlines
WorldPerks members wishing to contribute miles to the American Red Cross may contact Northwest directly at 1-800-327-2881. Please note that the initial donation must be a minimum of 5,000 miles and larger donations may be made in 1,000-mile increments. Get more information here:

As part of its AirCares program, Northwest Airlines runs a promotion through which its customers can donate $50 to the Red Cross and receive 500 WorldPerks bonus frequent flyer miles in return. Interested donors should make their contribution directly to the Red Cross. Upon receiving their donation receipt from the Red Cross, donors can forward it, with their WorldPerks account number, to Northwest to have their frequent flyer account credited by the airline. For more information on this promotion, contact Northwest directly at 1-800-327-2881 or write to:

Northwest Airlines
601 Oak Street
Chisholm, MN 55719

United Airlines
Mileage Plus members can make donations to the American Red Cross through United Airline's Mileage Plus Charity program. The minimum mileage requirement for a donation is 1,000 miles and all donated miles will be used strictly for disaster-related travel. All donations should be made through the Mileage Plus Service Center by calling 1-800-421-4655. Get more information here:,,1363,00.html.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the American Red Cross provide free flights through airline agreements for people requiring travel due to medical needs, family deaths or other reasons? The miles donated through these agreements are accepted and utilized solely for disaster-related travel purposes in support of Red Cross disaster response. Travel assistance to families that have been affected by disasters is handled through individual case work and needs assessments, which are performed by national disaster personnel or local Red Cross chapters.

The Red Cross often receives requests to use these donated air miles from individuals in need of free travel assistance due to a medical or other personal emergency, such as a death in the family. Due to the restrictions noted above, miles donated to the Red Cross cannot be opened up to individuals or groups with travel needs that are beyond the scope of the Red Cross mission.

There are organizations whose missions support certain types of emergency travel. We are pleased to provide a referral link to an assortment of travel assistance organizations ( that can provide help to those seeking donated travel. The information provided for each organization includes the scope of their work (whether they provide services nationally or just in a particular region), a description of their services and mission, and phone numbers and web site address, when available.

Some agencies specialize in the type of travel assistance they provide, such as medical transport only, while others will arrange emergency transportation for a variety of crisis situations. Refer to the descriptions provided or visit the agency web sites to determine the specific travel needs each supports.

**Please note that these are referrals only and do not guarantee assistance from these organizations in any way.

If you'd like to donate to another organization working on the Hurricane Katrina clean-up/rebuilding, visit your airline's website. Most of them have instructions on how you can donate your miles.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Prompts Planning in Europe

By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - The disaster came in 1953.

A powerful storm breached sea dikes in the south of the Netherlands, killing more than 1,800 people and cementing a deep resolve among the Dutch that their ancient enemy--water--would never kill again.

So the government launched a massive project to upgrade its ancient system of dikes and dunes. The crown jewel, a chain of 40-foot-tall steel walls suspended by piers in the open sea, was completed in the 1980s and cost today's equivalent of $3.1 billion. It is considered among the world's best defenses against flooding.

Also-vulnerable Venice, Italy, is putting a similar system in place. But the deluge in New Orleans has prompted Europeans to wonder if their sophisticated protections-- or any--will ever be enough.

For the waterlogged Netherlands, whose very name means "the low-lying country," the worst-case scenario would be far more devastating than Hurricane Katrina, entailing a tidal wave strong enough to penetrate the nation's coastal barriers.

The chance of such a disaster is seen as remote. But floods have happened many times in Dutch history, and no one doubts one could happen again--under the right conditions.

"Rationally, you know it can happen, but you pray it never does," said Peter Dolen, the head of the Interior Ministry's Risk and Crisis Communication Center. "You can draw up any plan you like from behind your desk, but you know it's going to be different in reality."

Nearly half the Netherlands is under sea level, and two-thirds of its 16 million population lives in those areas. Even Amsterdam's famous canals lie more than six feet below the sea. Yet evacuation is a last resort. Written into Dutch law is the requirement that the coastal dikes be able to withstand the fiercest storm imaginable.

"It would come in the winter, at high tide on a new moon," said Henk van der Brink of the Royal Dutch Weather Institute, whose models are used by the country's dike engineers. "Two big storms would join together to form a single storm of a much greater magnitude--the 'perfect storm.'"

A similar confluence last happened on Feb. 1, 1953, with gale-force northwesterly winds, a sudden squall and an unusually high tide. The sea rushed into the Dutch countryside, resulting in the flood known here simply as "`the disaster."

"It was so sudden it caught everyone completely by surprise. There was no time to prepare," says researcher Toon Franken of the Zeeland Archives in the city of Middelburg, where the disaster hit hardest.

In Venice, the last big flood was on Nov. 4, 1966, when sea waters rose nearly six feet above normal. Some 3,000 people were evacuated.

Aiming for better defenses, Italy launched its $4 billion "Moses" project, named for the biblical figure who parted the Red Sea. It envisions hinged barriers built on the Adriatic seabed that would rise when high tides threaten the city, said Monica Ambrosini at the New Venice Consortium, the agency overseeing the project. Completion is expected by 2010-2011.

"We're not protected from an extraordinary event," Ambrosini said. "Let's hope that it does not arrive before we finish."

Venetians themselves are more relaxed. They already live with constant minor flooding, thanks to the notorious "acqua alta," or high tide. Tourists and residents alike don rubber boots when canals spill over onto the cobblestones.

As in Amsterdam, sirens in Venice should warn people of impending disaster well in advance. Plus, the area is not prone to the hurricanes that regularly pummel the United States or cataclysmic tsunami like the one that hit Asia in December.

"I am astounded by the images of New Orleans. This is something you cannot and will not see here," said Paolo Canestrelli, director of Venice's tidal forecast center.

Today, the Netherlands is spending $3.7 billion on new projects, in addition to $620 million spent annually on maintaining the current system, farmed out to engineering firms like Boskalis NV and BAM Group NV.

One construction company, Dura Vermeer, has made a profitable business out of building houses that float.

The latest defense plan, "Living with Water," involves working with the forces of nature. Engineers dump sand onto beaches or just offshore in areas deemed most vulnerable, harnessing the natural power of waves to mold the sand over time into new, protective dunes. The technique is gradually replacing the coastal dikes the Dutch have been building since 500 B.C.

River flooding is seen as a less catastrophic but more likely danger. The Rhine and Maas, which flooded twice in the 1990s, are being broadened in spots. Rather than raising the banks against overflow, buildings are being cleared to make "room for the river."

Plans also are in place to bulldoze holes in some dikes during emergencies to flood sparsely populated farmland and lessen dangers elsewhere.

"Water can be a nice friend sometimes, but will always remain an enemy," said Willem Nuis, mayor of Tholen, a town of 24,000 where the 1953 flood killed 166 people. "For us, it was the worst thing that happened here since the Middle Ages."


Associated Press writers Frances D'Emilio in Venice and Aidan Lewis and Ariel David in Rome contributed to this story.


More Hurricane Help: Blog for Relief Day

Weird Venice is participating in "Hurricane Katrina: Blog for Relief Day," today Thursday, September 1. It's a day of blogging focused on raising awareness of and funds for relief efforts to aid those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

I'm having trouble making the links work, so to contribute, you'll have to do it manually. Go to the Katrina Relief Day website at Follow the links to make your contribution. It's easy and you get to select the organization/charity that should receive you donation. I'm suggesting foodbanks, but please give to any. Then, be sure to go to the "log in your contributions" section on the main page and enter the info.

Grazie tante.

Save Venice NY Lecture Series

The NY Chapter of Save Venice, Inc. recently announced the details of its Fall/Winter 2005 lecture series. Here's the program:

#1. The Venetian Dilemma on Wednesday, September 21, 2005
A film directed and produced by Carole and Richard Rifkind examining the modern problems faced by an ancient city and its residents. A discussion will follow. [I saw this film on PBS and it's excellent. I'll be there that night.]

#2. Between Palazzo Barbaro and Palazzo Venier dei Leoni: Patrons, Artists, and Divas on Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Discover how women patrons, writers, artists, and divas shaped Venice’s cultural and social scene from the mid-19th century to the second half of the 20th century. The presentation includes rare film clips of Venice dating back to 1905.

#3. Return of the Fenice on Wednesday, November 30, 2005
A breathtaking film documenting the restoration of the Fenice Theater including footage of the fire, reconstruction of the building, and the recreation of the detailed interior elements.

All lectures will be held in NYC and start at 6:30 p.m. A full-series subscription cost $90 per person. Tickets to inividual lectures are $35 per person. For more information, or to make reservations, contact the Save Venice office in New York. Tel: 212-737-3141

To learn more about Save Venice, Inc., use the link on the left.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Help

Please make a donation to help the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Visit for a list of organizations and online donation forms.

Monday, August 29, 2005

"Punk" Dogs Set Off a Riot on the Vaporetto....


(AGI) - Venice, Italy, Aug 29 - Punk tramps bring their dogs around cities almost always without a leash, and yesterday a group of them started a riot in a steamboat on the Grand Canal in Venice. Seven punks, accompanied by about 10 dogs, attempted to mount on the 82. It was 2am and the gang was prevented from entering the vessel by local transport seamen. A riot started which involved three of the punks, all in their 20s, the transport personnel and also two passengers who were trying to help the seamen. The passengers especially were beaten up and later taken to a casualty ward, where they will be treated for 7 and 15 days. The 3 punks were charged for interruption of a public services and damages, as they had also broken the steamboat's furniture. (AGI) COPYRIGHTS 2002-2005 AGI S.p.A. - [P.S. The dog in the photo is NOT a punk dog! It's a well-behaved Venetian dog.]  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 28, 2005

One of the Arsenal Lions

"The statues of two lions still guard the entrance to the Arsenal. They were brought home from Athens as booty by Francesco Morosini after the reconquest of Morea in 1678. The seated one was once part of a fountain of Piraeus. The carved inscription in runic characters probably refers to the brutal repression of the Greeks by the vernighi (Scandinavian mercenaries in the pay of Byzantium) in 1040." (Venice, Knopf Guides, pg. 178) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What Are You Waiting For?

You've always dreamed about going to Venice, but haven't gotten there yet. I have to ask: WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Go before you're too old to enjoy it. The summer's almost over--and that's good because September and October are wonderful times to experience Venice. Go and send me some photos from your trip. Maybe I'll post them here. And if you really can't get to Venice, keep on visiting me here. I'll do my best to show you some different views of Venice.

"There is no substitute for going to Venice. The experience can, however, be enhanced by reading about the place." (Cities of the Imagination: Venice, Martin Garret, pg. xi) Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Swimming in Venice

On August 10th, reported that "an Australian tourist got away with a scolding from Venice police on Wednesday after he abandoned a sluggish water bus and plunged into the Grand Canal, fully intending to swim to his hotel."

The man, who jumped in near the Rialto bridge and intended to swim to his hotel near Piazza San Marco, wasn't drunk, according to the report. "Some observers suggested he may have been inspired by Lord Byron, the English Romantic poet who enjoyed swimming about nude in Venice's canals."

Well, Lord Byron would not have been impressed. This tourist's "swim" was nothing compared to Byron's marathons. Here's how he described one in a February 21, 1821 letter to John Murray:

"In 1818 the chevalier [a member of certain orders of knighthood, or of the French Legion of Honour, etc., Oxford Pocket Dictionary] Mengaldo (a Gentleman of Bassano) a good swimmer, wished to swim with my friend Mr. Alexander Scott and myself. As he seemed particularly anxious on the subject, we indulged him. We all three started from the island of the Lido and swam to Venice. At the entrance of the Grand Canal, Scott and I were a good deal ahead, and we saw no more of our foreign friend, which however was of no consequence, as there was a gondola to hold his clothes and pick him up. Scott swam on past the Rialto, when he got out less from fatigue than from chill, having been for hours in the water without rest of stay except what is to be obtained by floating on one's back, this being the condition of our performance. I continued my course on to Santa Chiara, comprising the whole of the Grand Canal/beside the distance from the Lido, and got out where the laguna once more opened to Farina. I had been in the water by my watch without help or rest and never touching ground or boat for four hours and twenty minutes." (Knopf Guides, Venice, page 125, 1966)

To give you some perspective: it's about 2 miles from the Lido to the grand Canal and the Grand Canal is about 2 1/2 miles long. Not a bad swim.
 Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Can't Get to Venice? Try New York!

If you can't make it to Venice, Italy, this summer, heard for upstate New York!

A Little Bit of Venice on Upstate New York Canal

SENECA FALLS, N.Y. Looking for a slice of romantic Venice, Italy in the Finger Lakes region? Then head to Seneca Falls, home to upstate New York's only gondola business.

State prison instructor David Finster has never been to the city of canals, but he has started a gondola business on the Seneca-Cayuga Canal. He says he got the idea after reading an article about a businessman who started giving gondola rides in Stillwater, Minnesota.

Finster says Seneca Falls is ideal for a gondola business because of the area's bucolic landscapes, famous vineyards and rich history.

Finster's traditional Venetian gondola started taking on passengers in early July and will continue the service through September. The gondola can carry up to five passengers and rides of up to minutes costs 85 dollars.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

One of My Favorite Views....

I took this from the top of the Accademia Bridge in March 2004. We had gone to experience Carnevale, but after an hour, decided that Carnevale was nothing more than an excuse for tourists to get drunk. We spent the rest of the time exploring and being delighted by winter in Venice. This is one of my favorite memories from that period. (That spot in the right-hand corner is a bird--not a low-flying airplane.) What's your favorite view of Venice? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Rest of the World is Just as Weird...

I've been trying to avoid the rest of the world and just focus on Venice, but tonight I realized it won't work. The rest of the world is too weird to ignore. For example:

I'm reading THE SKY'S THE LIMIT by Steven Gaines. In this book Gaines explores the world of mega-million- dollar real estate. Co-op boards that discriminate for no reason. A top-selling Realtor who lives in a $1,000 a month rent controlled apartment. Another Relator who won't work on any apartment selling for less than $5 million. It's a fun book--and will make you wonder what makes an apartment worth $50 million.

Here's the image that made me break my promise to focus only on Venice: "When Dr. Kissinger walks his dog in the neighborhood [near the River House at the East River, between E. 52nd and E. 53rd Streets], a security man walks behind him and cleans up after the dog because it would be undignified for the former statesman to be seen scooping up dog poop." (Steven Gaine, THE SKY'S THE LIMIT, pg. 69)

Ah, New York--the Greatest City on Earth (as David Letterman says).

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Ever Wondered About Those Ropes....

When you ride the vaporetti watch the marinaio (the man or woman who ties the boat to the dock, opens and closes the gate, and sells tickets.) With a flick of the wrist, they wrap the thick rope against the stanctions on the dock. The vaporetto pulls forward and the rope groans. Will it hold? It does and pulls the vaporetto back to the dock.

I’ve always wondered about the lifespan of those ropes. So during my recent trip to Venice, when I was doing a late-night trip on the #1 (one of the best times for sightseeing), I asked the (cute) marinaio about the ropes and their lifespan. “They last two weeks, if the weather’s good,” he said, “Three or four days if it’s raining–much less if the pilot is bad....”

The ropes, he said, are made of manila and have a nylon core. Pure nylon is not good because when a nylon rope breaks, it snaps back and hits people on the vaporetto. The blended ropes just fall into the water.

The marinaio came back with one last tidbit. A vaporetto’s propeller is on the right side of the boat, so docking on the right side is easier.

Sorry, but I don’t have any photos of the ropes–I promise to take some on my next trip.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Venice Film Festival Line Up

The President of the Venice Biennale, Davide Croff, and the Director of the 62nd Venice International Film Festival, Marco Muller, announced the line-up of the festival that runs August 31 to September 10. The program is divided into 4 main sections: Venice 62 - In Competition, Out of Competition, Horizons (new trends in cinema), and Corto Cortissimo (short films not longer than 30 minutes).

The world premiere of "Qi Jian" (Seven Swords), a new and highly anticipated film by Tsui Hark,will be the opening event of the Film Festival. "Casanova" will be the featured film for the gala evening on Saturday, September 3rd. It will be the world premiere of Casanova by Swedish director Lasse Hallström, starring Heath Ledger (as Casanova), Sienna Miller, Jeremy Irons, and Lena Olin.

The panel of judges will be headed by Italy's Oscar-winning set designer Dante Ferretti. The other judges are Chinese author Ah Cheng, French film director Claire Denis, German director Edgar Reitz, Icelandic musician and actress Emiliana Torrini, whose father is Italian, and American independent producer Christine Vachon.

If you can't get to Venice for the festival, look for Erica Jong's novel, "Serenissima." Orignally published in 1987, it was re-released as "Shylock's Daughter" in 2003 (W.W. Norton, paperback). As the jacket copy says, "When the beautiful Jessica Pruitt arrives in Venice to star in a film based on The Merchant of Venice, she is preoccupied: she has recently lost custody of her daughter, and as an older actress she is increasingly aware of the difficulty of landing leading roles. One day, as she wanders through an old Jewish ghetto, Jessica is magically transported to sixteenth-century Venice where she finds herself the heroine of 'Will' Shakespeare's play. Immediately attracted to the younger playwright, Jessica enters into an intensely passionate love affair that defies time and place." It's a funny little book, with lots of great Venice/Film Festival settings.

The films listed below are "In Competition" and eligible for the Golden Lion award. The list shows the director, the film, the country(ies) where it was filmed, and the actors.

Pupi Avati, "La seconda notte di nozze," Italy, Antonio Albanese, Katia Ricciarelli, Neri Marcorè

João Bothelho, "O Fatalista," Portugal/France, Rogério Samora, André Gomes, Rita Blanco

Laurent Cantet, "Vers le sud," France/Canada, Charlotte Rampling, Karen Young, Louise Portal

Patrice Chereau, "Gabrielle," France/Italy, Isabelle Huppert, Pascal Greggory, Thierry Hancisse

George Clooney, "Goodnight and Good Luck," USA, David Strathairn, George Clooney, Jeff Daniels, Robert Downey Jr, Patricia Clarkson

Cristina Comencini, "La bestia nel cuore," Italy, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni, Stefania Rocca, Angela Finocchiaro

Roberto Faneza, "I giorni dell’abbandono," Italy, Margherita Buy, Luca Zingaretti, Goran Bregovic

Abel Ferrara, "Mary." Italy/USA, Juliette Binoche, Matthew Modine, Forest Whitaker

Philippe Garrel, "Les Amants réguliers." France/Italy, Louis Garrel, Clothilde Hesme, Julien Lucas

Aleksey German, Jr. "Garpastum," Russia, Chulpan Khamatova, Evgeny Pronin, Danila Kozlovsky

Terry Gilliam, "The Brothers Grimm." UK, Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Jonathan Pryce, Monica Bellucci

Stanley Kwan, "Changhen ge," China/Hong Kong, Sammi Cheng, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Jun Hu

Ang Lee, "Brokeback Mountain," Canada, Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway

John Madden, "Proof," UK/USA, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Hopkins

Fernando Meirelles, "The Constant Gardener," UK/Kenya/Germany, Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Hubert Koundé, Sidede Onyulo

Manoel de Oliveira, "Espelho magico," Portugal, Michel Piccoli, Marisa Paredes, Leonor Silveira, Ricardo Trepa

Park Chan-wook, "Chin-jeol-han Geum-ja-ssi" (Sympathy for Lady Vengeance), Korea, Lee Young-ae, Choi Min-sik, Kwon Yea-young, Kim Si-hu, Nam Il-woo

John Turturro, "Romance and Cigarettes," USA, James Gandolfini, Kate Winslet, Susan Sarandon, Christopher Walken

Krzysztof Zznussi, "Persona non grata," Poland/Russia/Italy, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Nikita Mikhalkov, Jerzy Stuhr, Remo Girone

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Things I Miss.....

Part 1 of Things I miss about Venice.... One of my first stops in Venice is the Billa supermercato for breakfast supplies. "Arancia rossa," juice made from blood oranges is one of my must-haves. I can't find blood-orange juice here in NJ, where I live, so I have to drink as much as possible when I'm in Venice!

I took this photo in May 2004. This apartment, a studio (Ca' Gondola) was one I rented through Views on Venice (there's a link in the sidebar). If you look through the windows, you can see the Grand Canal in the background. Posted by Picasa

Buyer Beware

Venice's campaign against people who don't "respect" the ancient city has begun. Buongiorno Venezia, a publication of Venice Word International, reports that recently eight people were fined for going topless in St. Mark's Square (no word on the sex of the topless offenders....), 106 boats were fined for speeding, and a French tourist was fined for buying a bag from one of those vendors who seem to be everywhere.

In a related development, Project "Bad Bag" says the counterfeit bags are not only an economic problem, but also a problem of image, decorum, and order. Project "Bad Bag" is posting notices around town warning that anyone who purchases a counterfeit bag is just as liable as the sellers. If you get caught buying a "bad bag," you can be fined anywhere from 3,300 to 10,000 euros.

James Martin, travel writer for say, "Italy has a long history of 'shared responsibility' for certain legal infractions. Although seldom enforced, a restaurant must give you a receipt for your meal, a ricevuta fiscale with certain items, like cover and bread charges, itemized. You must carry it out of the restaurant for a short distance. If a policeman sees you and you can't produce that receipt, you're as guilty as the restaurant."

"The hospitality of Venice," the councillor for Tourism and Decorum Augusto Salvador said, "cannot be confused with the permissiveness. We will continue in our struggle against people who don't respect the dignity of our town."

So when you go to Venice, keep your shirt on and don't buy those bags!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Gondoliers Ask: Please Don't Make Waves

The following article comes from AGI online (
(AGI) - Venice, Italy, July 25 - Wave motion will be the main thing at the next Venice Historical Sailing Race, due in September, said the municipal councillor for tourism, Augusto Salvadori, renowned for his battles to preserve the city decorum, and, in the 80s, for his crusades against people sleeping in sleeping bags. Salvadori went on a gondola today to take part in a demonstration protesting against the surge. "We ask Venice's guests," he said, "Authorities and the state to take measures to preserve the city, to ward off the peril of wave motion." Salvadori announced that in September his group will put up a great photographic show documenting the damages caused by the surge. "Such damages are to be seen in the barriers of lagoon islets, buildings, foundations and tiers." (AGI) - 251728 LUG 05 COPYRIGHTS 2002-2005 AGI S.p.A. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Dam Floods

Aqua Alta (high water) continues to threaten Venice. While the political types argue about the ambitious and controversial project MOSE (floodgates that will rise from the floor of the lagoon to block the floodwaters), the floods keep coming. The article is from the July 24 online issue of (an Italian news website). I took the photo of the aqua alta in Piazza San Marco in November 2004.

Venice Environmentalists Positive After New Studies (ANSA) - Venice, July 24 - New reports on the environmental damage of a project to protect Venice from sinking have breathed fresh life into a campaign opposed to the scheme.

Two studies prepared by environmental and heritage groups fighting the two-year-old Moses project (MOSE in Italian) have convinced Venice city authorities to call for its temporary halt.

Reports by the Alex Langer Eco-Institute, heritage protection society Italia Nostra and the Italian League for the Protection of Birds detailed a series of administrative and planning violations by the consortium working on MOSE.

"Two months ago we discovered that the construction sites that had started work didn't meet a number of municipal or regional planning regulations," explained Alex Lang Director Michele Boato.

"They also violated EU environmental directives regarding sites of European importance." Boato explained that when nothing had changed after a month, the groups sent a second report, "given that the damage risked becoming irreparable."

At this point, the city council prepared its own study, identifying 19 violations of municipal, regional and European environmental laws, he said.

This has reportedly been sent to the infrastructures ministry and Veneto regional government - the only bodies with the power to put a definitive stop to the project.

Meanwhile, Venice Mayor Massimo Cacciari has also sent a council report to the president of the Venice Water Authority, Maria Giovanna Piva, asking her to not to approve any further stages in MOSE.

The Moses project comprises 79 barriers, designed to rise from the seabed to block the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when high tides are forecast.

After 30 years of debate and testing, it was inaugurated by Premier Silvio Berlusconi in May 2003, although work is still in the preliminary stages.

The centre-right government in Rome has adopted MOSE as one of the jewels in its nationwide crown of major infrastructural projects but it has long been a source of contention within Venice.

It is opposed by environmentalists, conservation groups and a large number of citizens, angry over the costs involved and concerned at the environmental impact. They say the cash - some 3.4 billion euros - could be put towards more effective, cheaper and less damaging schemes.

Despite a series of legal challenges and widely covered demonstrations, a ruling last year by the regional administrative court gave definitive clearance for the project's go-ahead.

Combined with positive assessments from the Venice Water Authority, the Commission to Safeguard Venice, several teams of international experts and the municipal council's own implacable support for the scheme, environmentalists appeared to be fighting a losing battle.

However, this turnaround in the attitude of city authorities offers fresh hope to MOSE's critics.

The apparent change of heart had been on the cards for some weeks, following the election of Cacciari as Venice mayor in April.

His predecessor, another centre-left figure, backed the project and the issue split left-leaning parties during municipal elections. Cacciari, who made his opposition to the project part of his electoral platform, scored a narrow run-off victory against another centre-left candidate in favour of the plan.

Venice dailies have reported that the environmentalists' reports have also been set to the Venice public prosecutor's office and the environment ministry.

As well as being a biblical reference to Moses' parting of the seas, MOSE is an acronym for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico (experimental electro mechanical module), a prototype that was built to test how the barriers would operate.

The project's completion date has been put at 2011.

� Copyright ANSA. All rights reserved Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The World's Most Photographed Veggies?

This floating vegetable stand in the Rio Di San Barnaba is often called "the world's most photographed vegetable stand."  Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Venice and Terrorism

BUONGIORNO VENEZIA, a publication of Venice Word International, is one of my favorite Venice-related publications. This week's issue brings us two items about the presence of terrorism in and around Venice. Sad....

"There was another bombing attempt Saturday by the Italian Unabomber. In Portogruaro, a little village 50 kms from Venice, a woman found a bomb under the seat of her bicycle. Luckily, it did not detonate. The police have no doubt that this a Unabomber act. For the unknown attacker, this is the fourth 'mistake', but Venice is scared once again.

"After the London massacre on 7 July, Venice, which is also considered a town at risk, initiated safety measures. Police strengthened existing controls and new measures will be instituted next week by the National Committee for Order and Security. The obvious targets in town can be mapped very clearly even without including the artistic sites -- St. Mark's Square, the Doge's Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and the like -- and there are several places regularly frequented by the English and Americans, such as the Guggenheim Foundation and luxury hotels such as the Gritti, Danieli, Bauer, et al. There are also two American universities, Wake Forest University and the University of California, both in the Dorsoduro district."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Venetian Dilemma

Yesterday, I turned on my local PBS station and caught the last half hour of “The Venetian Dilemma: City or Theme Park,” a documentary produced by New Yorkers, and part-time Venetians, Carole and Richard Rifkind. Instead of focusing on the “sinking” Venice, this documentary looks at the impact of tourists and the shrinking population of Venetians.

The producers’ website ( says: “In magical, mystical, marvelous Venice a plummeting population of locals is drowning in an annual flood of visitors that now tops 14 million. Roberto, a savvy politician, is promoting a broad array of public works in a desperate attempt to modernize and thus revitalize this ancient city. Against a stunning backdrop of fabled canals, fairy tale bridges, and splendid monuments, the soul of the city is revealed by three who are battling City Hall: Paolo, an environmentalist, opposes the speeding tourist-serving motor boats that destroy the city's very foundations; Danilo, a fruit and vegetable vendor, wages a lonely battle to save his kiosk from condemnation; and feisty Michela, a career woman and mother, presses the city to help the young families who provide the last best hope of saving the city as something more than a Disneyland. A provocative debut film by Richard and Carole Rifkind, it is a fascinating portrait of a society in crisis.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Weird Biennale

Our friends at Buongiorno Venezia (published by Venice Word International) report on some of the weirdness arising from the Biennale:

"Sunday, 12 June, marked the beginning of the 51st edition of the International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale and, with it, an exhibition "riot" that involved the whole town. There are works of art and performances everywhere. Among the most curious, appearing on the balconies of many houses and hotels on the Grand Canal, are several red and orange plastic penguins. The anonymous artist hasn't provided any explanations about the meaning of the work. Perhaps he's content simply to have aroused curiosity.

"BIENNALE 2. Curiosity has certainly been aroused by the activities of Spanish artist José Abajo Izquierdo. Last week, he covered the walls of Venice with hundreds of leaflets, asking for 2000 Venetian volunteers/collaborators. Those who step forward will be stepping out stark naked, painted from head to toe, and walking throughout the town in groups. Their task is to surprise passers-by, whose reactions will be secretly filmed by the artist and then screened at the Biennale exhibition areas along the Gardens."

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Where's the Vaporetto????

From our friends at "BUONGIORNO VENEZIA - This Week in Venice" published by VENICEWORD INTERNATIONAL MEDIA SERVICES:

"Last Tuesday, 2 May, at 5:45 a.m., a motorcycle collided with a bus on the Ponte della Libertá, blocking the only road that links Venice to the mainland. The accident, though perfectly ordinary, caused total paralysis of public transit until late morning because it was impossible for the water bus pilots, most of whom live on the mainland, to reach Venice to start their shifts. The event demonstrated once again how few alternatives exist when the one route into the city is interrupted. The only alternative in these cases is to take the train." Maybe they should have called for a gondola... Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 08, 2005


My post of May 3rd got me thinking about tourists in Venice. Here's my favorite tourist story:

One morning, about two years ago, I was in Venice and got up very early to wander around the city. It was about 8 AM when I got to Piazza San Marco and the square was deserted--except for one tourist (not American). She asked me to take her photo in front of the basilica. I did and as I passed her camera back to her, she gestured at the church and said, "What is that?" Dumfounded, I tried to explain San Marco. After about ninety seconds, she thanked me and held out her map. "What else should I see?" she asked. I pointed out the Rialto Bridge, Accademia, and a few other places. She thanked me again and left. Wonder if she even knew she was in Venice?

Got any tourist stories?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Does Donna Leon Hate American Tourists?

I've been a fan of Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series, but lately I've been feeling a bit annoyed with the things she writes about American tourists. Yes, Americn tourists are sometimes loud, sometimes rude, sometimes dressed inappropriately. But you know what, tourists from other countries are also guilty of being loud, rude, dressed weird. So why does Leon write things like, "Brunetti was surprised that a crowd that large could find room there [the Paganelli], and that Americans would have the good sense to choose it." (Blood from a Stone, pg. 21) Or, "They had to be Americans. They might as well have been draped in the flag. White-haired, both of them, they gave the bizarre impression that they were dressed in each other's clothing." (Blood from a Stone, pg. 17)

I'm not going to continue listing quotes; I think you get the idea. Now that her books are being released in the US, I wonder if others will start to feel the same way. It's a shame, because her books give a great view of Venice.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Palazzo Grazzi Sold

Venice's renowed Palazzo Grazzi, which had been owned by Fiat, has been sold. Palazzo Grazzi dates back to 1740 and was designed by Giorgio Massari. In recent times, Palazzo Grassi, which was restored by the architect Gae Aulenti, has functioned as one of Venice's premier museums. Recent shows have featured the workds of Dali, the Pharaohs, Andy Warhol, and Leonardo & Venice.

Here's the news report on the sale:

(AGI) - Venice, Apr. 28 - Venice's Palazzo Grassi has been sold to French collector François Pinault. In a note, the Venice city council informs that company "Casino' Municipale di Venezia S.p.a.has agreed to selling 80 per cent of Palazzo Grassi Spa company capital after acquiring the remaining 49pct of Fiat Partecipazioni Spa's stakes. After the unanimous approval of its board, Casino' Municipale has proceeded to selling the building". The note adds that "Artis company will pay 28,900,000 euro to Casino Spa in the face of 28,600,000 expenses. The remaining 20pct of the company's capital will be used as capital gain". Casino Spa agreed to sell the building on condition that the original contract be adjusted to its cultural, economic and political needs. Under the purchase agreement, Palazzo Grassi will host a number of exhibitions featuring contributions from "modern art collectros such as François Pinault". (AGI) (From AGI Online,

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Even the Wine Floats In...

A wine delivery boat. Posted by Hello

Supply Boats

How do Venetian stores, restaurants, etc. get their supplies? By boat, of course. This delivery boat is moored in the Grand Canal in front of the Hotel Rialto.  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

An American Gondola Builder

In 1996, Thom Price, an American who grew up in the North Carolina mountains, was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to go to Venice to learn about the "dying art" of gondola building. He's been there ever since. Posted by Hello

He opened Squero Canaletto ["squero" is Venetian for gondola yard]. In 1724, Canaletto painted a picture which depicted gondolas being built in the space now occupied by Price's squero--hence, name. In Squero Canaletto, Price builds gondolas and other boats and holds workshops to teach others this "dying" art.

To learn more, and to watch a gondola webcam, go to You can also order your own gondola via the website!