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 Fran├žois 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 Fran├žois 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!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Another Venetian Pope?

With the death of Pope John Paul II comes speculation about his successor. Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Patriarch of Venice, is frequently mentioned as a possibility. Born in Milan in 1941, Scola was ordained in 1970 and promoted to patriarch in 2002. A year later, he was made a cardinal. Does he have a chance? Maybe. Pope John Paul I (the first pope to take a double name), Pope John XXIII, and Pope St. Pius X were all patriarchs of Venice before being elected pope.

“Two of the last four popes–John XXIII, and the ill-fated John Paul I–were elected from the same office now held by Cardinal Scola. Can the present patriarch of Venice make it a three? Scola, 63, has gained a lot of attention by addressing an issue that is certain to loom large for the next pope–the church's relations with Islam. In 2003, he founded a learning center in Venice called Studium Generale Marcianum open to Christians who live in the Islamic world. Opus Dei is involved in running the Marcianum, which is named after St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice. Scola also recently launched the magazine Oasis, which explores the relationship between Islam and Christianity and is published in five languages, including Arabic and Urdu. An intellectual and a disciple of the Swiss Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, he is close to the Italian organization Communion and Liberation and taught theology until appointed to the ancient Venice see.” (ANALYSIS: ITALIANS DOMINATE PAPAL CHOICE, World Peace Herald Roland Flamini, UPI Chief International Correspondent, February 25, 2005,

In the Roman Catholic church, patriarchs are the highest-ranking bishops, ranked just below the pope, and have authority over a number of other bishops. There were originally three patriarchates: the West, held by the bishop of Rome (the pope), Alexandria, and Antioch. In 1445, the patriarch of Aquileia was transferred to Venice, creating the patriarch of Venice.

Current Patriarchs in the Catholic Communion
Latin Rite:
The Patriarch of Rome (the Roman Pope)
The Patriarch of Venice
The Patriarch of the West Indies (vacant since 1963, but not abolished)
The Patriarch of Lisbon
The Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Patriarch of Jerusalem
The Patriarch of the East Indies

Eastern Rites:
The Coptic Catholic Patriarchs of Alexandria
The Greek Patriarch of Antioch
The Melkite Catholic Patriarchs of Antioch
The Maronite Patriarch of Antioch
The Patriarch of Babylon
The Patriarch of Cilicia

Monday, April 04, 2005

Bricolas Replaced--Progress?

News today from BuonoGiorno Venezia ( The traditional "bricola" -- the wooden post used for moorings and to mark channels in Venice's canals -- will slowly disappear. A new kind of "bricola" has been invented by a Venetian entrepreneur, and it has already passed all the authorization tests. The new "bricola" is an iron pole covered with high-density polyurethane that expands and contracts in the same way as the traditional oak or false acacia that has been used for centuries. Yet the steel and polyurethane poles last eight times longer since they're not subject to rot or insect infestation. The economic advantage will be sizeable -- the wooden "bricole" have to be replaced every few years and Venice is home to (and responsible for) about two million of them. Posted by Hello