Friday, April 28, 2017

Ragazzo - Venice

"Ragazo." It was scrawled on the wall at the far end of the campo, the spelling off, but with an unmistakable sigh of hearts floating up like thought bubbles above the word. "Boys."

I remember that swoony feeling and I feel it still. For boys? Yes, of course. How I do love men. So incredibly different than we are that I can never get over it. But what about for...Venice? 

 It fascinates me too. And I can't stop thinking about it. I write its initials over and over in my mind. But as I am an adult now, or adult enough, I also want to take the lines of light and shadows in these photos and trace them like on a love's skin until it prickles. 

You see? Not entirely innocent, my affections. But neither is the object of my interest. And that is what makes sense to me, someone who also owns their fair share of shadows and light.

They call her La Serenissima. The Serene One. And I understand the feminine imagery, the annual marriage to the sea, the canals slicing through the parcels of land. The architecture pink with delicate Ottoman openings as if of strings to be untied.

And yet to me, Venice is very masculine. Just the type of man that I like actually. One that is so well in his own skin that he doesn't have to put on a show. Nor be feared, like the vagaries of the Council of Ten in the past. Face-forward present, yes. A mystery too.

You see, I don't really know him at all. I don't even speak his language. And yet I miss him. Que bello ragazzo

I wonder when I will see him again...

So what do you think? Should we launch a Kickstarter fund to send me back? Start researching grants and the like? I am such a dreamer. Do I chase this particular dream or stay still and let it chase me?

Passa un buon fine settimana...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

You must believe in spring - Venice

It is one of my favorite song titles ever. Because I do. Believe. Even when I think it will be impossible for me to, "No, not this year," come what may...

And then the months roll over and I feel so alive. Brimming with humanness. I want to eat the cake of the world, sip down its emotions as wine. My skin is bristling perforated, too sensitive to know where I end and the rest really does separate from the other.

Now, imagine that sensation while wondering around Venice. And no - I see you coming from here - no drugs were consumed (even if copious Spritz's were downed, even at suggestive hours of the day) but oh how my senses were on high alert.

At times, I needed to go into a sacred space just to catch my breath by the tail before it left me to go exploring down a glistening canal. 

That is when my hands would start to shake. The utter peace colliding with such scattered, hungry discovery and yet both holding something in-between; a nod of acknowledgement as undeniably true. I couldn't help my hands. And so, as I have written before, I just could be a wide-mouthed witness at best.

Because the churches, the cathedrals, the altars of Venice demand attention and respect regardless of your spiritual, religious, or none of the above affiliation. They did to me. Most especially at the Basilica dei Frari, which while certainly not the most spectacular (that one will hopefully get a post of its own if I can write it), the one where I felt so at peace and so grateful for it. I stayed and wandered, looping back over my steps until my eyes ached. I could not take it all in. But my heart calmed. 

And that wild human rushing became something else, just for a moment or two. How messy we are, how incredibly imperfect and yet with our bright intentions, our brimming goodness somewhere to be found. 

We try so hard.

 It was worth it to take the risk. To believe. Not in a specific story. But something not so far away, finally, to what just might resemble an eternal or at least, ever possible, spring.

The following is a mix of photographs from only a tiny handful of the beautiful churches of Venice.


Songs for this post...pour écouter...

either this way:

or, of course that:

Wishing you all well, friends, from a very Mistral-ridden Provence,

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rococo at Ca' Rezzonico, Venice

...Also known as, Venice laughing in the midst of its fall.

Decadence and decline. Rococo and baroque stylishly proclaiming, "We don't care. We see the end and we are going to continue making the most of it, more actually. Because that is who we are." 

Peals of laughter, clinks of Murano glass.

Changing masks in a candlelit corner while the orchestra tries not to fall out of the gondolas precariously moored just beyond the windows in the Grand Canal. 

A lover (Casanova), a gambler (the same), a fool (Pulcinella) and the patriarch (or a doge) could pass in mixed company during one long, last Carnevale without care save for when the reality of plague pounded at the door and then with none other than Napoleon to follow to end the party for good.

But until then...until then...the music continued to play and the likes of Tiepolo lifted patrons to the status of gods on frescoed ceilings while Canaletto shaded the panoramas for the passing aristocrats finishing their educations on the Grand Tour.

Families like the Rezzonico's could buy their respectability and nobility too. And they did. Over centuries, they built up their palazzo, home to what is most likely now the largest ballroom in Venice and installed a Pope on the throne. Until in the early 1800's, when they, like the Republic of Venice itself, were no more.

What remains are remnants of the fall of an empire, traces of which are dazzling enough to almost, but not quite, rival Versailles. This is La Serenissima on its own terms and it is just as an important part of her scheme as any serenading gondolier; one that keeps us thronging to her giddily many centuries after the gilt and putti were applied with enough abandon to prolong a renaissance.

Ca' Rezzonico or The Museum of 18th Century Venice
Dorsoduro 3136, Venice
Entrance by land in Dorsoduro across from the Campo San Barnaba
Entrance on the Grand Canal via the Ca' Rezzonico vaporetto stop on the #1 line
Open: 10am - 6pm (last entry at 5pm)
in winter from 10am to 5pm (last entry at 4pm)
Closed on Tuesdays
Admission: 10 Euros, free the first Sunday of every month
To take a virtual visit via Google, click here.

Et en plus: One of my favorite painters, John Singer Sargent, had a studio at Ca' Rezzonico during the period when the poet Robert Browning was in residence (he passed away here, the palace was owned by his son during that time). And for those of you wondering, yes, Fortuny did the fabrics for the walls during the most recent renovation in 2001. There is a wonderful view opening out onto the Grand Canal, but I would recommend not leaving it for the end of the day...I was quite literally shooed off the property to the nearby vaporetto stop, hence the lack of photos. If you go, I do hope that you enjoy...