Thursday, December 28, 2006

Cross-Dressing Cop Sacked

I couldn't ask for a better story to end the year, Weird Venice at its best....


Man wore mini- skirt, skimpy top off duty around Venice
(ANSA) - Venice, December 28 - An Italian police officer has been sacked for cross-dressing when not on duty.

The unidentified officer, a deputy superintendent, was fired after he was seen on several occasions in Venice city centre wearing a mini-skirt, long earrings and a skimpy T-shirt aimed at showing off his navel.

The man tried to get his job back by appealing to a local court, arguing that his off-duty apparel was his own business.

But the judges upheld the dismissal.

In announcing its decision to sack the officer, the local police chief said the man had shown "total disrespect for the force and no sense of honour or moral values".

The officer's neighbours had also complained about his habit of washing his car in his swimming trunks, which he sometimes removed, the police said.

The photo is from news and accompanies the story on their website.


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Silent Nights in St. Mark's

"It's odd that so few tourists go to Venice for Christmas. But their absence - and with them the proprietors of a thousand souvenir stalls - is the winter visitor's gain."

That's how "Silent Night in St. Mark's," which was published last year in the UK's Guardian begins.

It's a nice article--check it out. (I'm repeating the photo because I took it--you can see me in the reflection--and I like it!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Holidays!

What are you doing reading this blog? You should be decorating the tree, wrapping the presents, or (if you're a procrastinator) shopping!

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Weird Venice will return in January.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Rare Collection--of Mushroom DNA--in Venice

Yes, mushrooms. Fungi, which according to my dictionary includes mushrooms, toadstools and moulds. "28,000 samples of fungi that represent 6,000 species - many of which are quite rare - are housed at the Venice Museum of Natural History [part of the Musei Civici Veneziani], a partner with UC Berkeley for this ambitious project. The collection also is one of the largest in Europe." The samples are going to be used to build a huge DNA database, which will be used for research into plant diseases, forests, etc. The project is expected to be finished by the end of next year.

Here's a link to an article about the collection.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Do You Dream of Spending the Holidays in Venice?

If you dream of spending the holidays in Venice, check out these tips. It's on Dream of Italy, a great blog/newsletter, which is an "insider's guide to undiscovered Italy." Lots of good reading and excellent tips. Check out their holiday gift subscriptions. Sometimes you have to realize there is a lot more to Italy than Venice....

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Too Crowded?

I love webcams and can't understand why there aren't more of them in Venice. This is from one of my favorites. It's in Piazza San Marco and, as you can see, the piazza is deserted! So if you want to have San Marco all to yourself, go there very late on a Sunday night/early Monday morning (I've done it and it's an experience you'll remember forever).

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Love the Pigeons?

Many people, including me (here on this blog) have denigrated pigeons, especially the pigeons in Piazza San Marco. After reading this column at, I may have to change my mind.

"If you're like most people -- and especially if you're like most city dwellers -- you probably get a bit skeeved out just hearing the word. Pigeons? They might not be vermin -- not exactly -- but they aren't too far up the ladder, either. They eat trash. They crap everywhere. Stupid. Filthy. Rats with wings. Right? Sorry, but not quite. In fact, not even close. And thanks to Andrew Blechman's consistently engaging and surprising new book, 'Pigeons,' the seemingly dull, unlovely members of the Columbidae family -- or, rather, their idiosyncratic and intensely loyal human proponents -- now have a handy arsenal of lively anecdotes and plain old facts (heads up, wisenheimers: Pigeons are doves) with which to defend their long-maligned feathered friends."

Maybe pigeons are more than "rats with wings." Let us know if you read the book--and change your mind about pigeons!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Photo of the Day

I took this photo on the 22nd of November 2002.

I went to Venice to experience the Feast of Santa Maria della Salute. It's a unique Venetian holiday which celebrates/honors the Mary for saving Venice from the plague in 1630. If you remember your guidebooks, Salute was built to commemorate Mary's intervention.

A temporary bridge is placed over the Grand Canal (I'll have to post a photo of in) and a procession goes from San Marco, across the bridge and to the cathedral. In 2002, I was in the middle of the procession. After I got to the church, it took another 10 minutes for the rest of the procession to arrive--that's how many people were marching! A very moving evening.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Venice in the NY Times This Weekend

This has been quite a Venetian weekend in the New York Times. Three articles:

1. In the Travel Section, Venice in 36 Hours (with one mistake about flying from New York. Despite what the article says, you can fly direct. Delta has one flight a day that goes non-stop, direct to Venice.)

2. The Curator, about Nancy Spector who is
not only responsible for curating contemporary art at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, but it was also her controversial decision to select the artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres for the American Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale.

3. Holiday Books: Venice--
The story of Palladio’s conquest of Venice and his promotion by a coterie of aristocratic patrons is the story of Tracy E. Cooper’s massively documented and beautifully illustrated book, PALLADIO’S VENICE: Architecture and Society in a Renaissance Republic (Yale University, $65).

4. Naked in the Marketplace: The Lives of George Sand (in the Book Review section):
Sand did help Musset through a serious illness when they were together in Venice, and although she also managed to have an affair with his doctor, the episode demonstrates the degree to which, as Eisler puts it, 'the maternal and the erotic were one' for her.

Enjoy! You may have to register for access to the site.