||[Nov. 6th, 2006|01:54 pm]
This weekend was my Venetian Art History class’ trip to Venice. Except we had to make our own travel and accomedation arrangements so it was less a trip than an onsite class that happened to be really far away. Mary came with me so she could see Venice and I could have some company in the hostel. |
We had a 7 am train on Friday morning and we got to the station on time and everything without any problems. The 4 and a half hour ride wasn’t all that bad either although we started out facing the direction the train was going and ended up riding backwards after the stop in Florence. Our hotel/hostel was right near the train station, so we didn’t have to walk too far with all our stuff, it was even easy to find. We were too early to check in so we just dropped our stuff and set out to explore. We walked down to Piazza San Marco, getting to see all the twisted streets and canals along the way. Venice is really as confusing as they say, but very beautiful and interesting. The Piazza was amazing, huge and full of pigeons. We window shopped and were tempted to spend 8 euro on hot chocolate/coffee at Café Florian, but resisted the temptation and went someplace cheaper for our warm drinks because it was COLD. Then I went to meet my class at the Palazzo Ducale. We almost didn’t get to go in because there was some sort of demonstration, and on the front page of the paper the next day, I saw that they had assaulted some government official, I guess that’s what the riot police were for. But they reopened it just as we walked up. The Palazzo Ducale is full of art, including the very famous Tintoretto’s Paradise in the Grand Council Hall. Then we went to the Church of San Zaccaria to see the famous altar piece there by Giovanni Bellini. Then we were released. I went back to the hotel to meet up with Mary and to go to dinner. We just ate at one of the places in the campo our hotel was on. We majorly lucked out on the hotel. It’s an actual hotel that also has a few dorm-style rooms. So we were in a room for 5 people that had its own bathroom. It was all girls and they were all nice and we got to chat for a bit. It had plenty of blankets and the heat was on, so it was very comfortable.
Saturday was my full class day. We started out by meeting at the Frari which is an important church that has Titian’s tomb as well as his Assumption of the Virgin altarpiece. It also had a small wooden carving by Donatello and a small altarpiece by one of the Bellinis. Then we went to the Scoula di San Rocco to see an example of a Venetian Scoula. The Scoula were groups of citizens who formed social groups to help each other out, they would provide dowries for daughters, funerals, old age homes and the like for their members. Often, immigrant groups would form Scoule to have a home away from home. This particular Scoula had a deal with Tintoretto that he would provide all the paintings for the decoration of the Scoula and he produced about three paintings a year for them for many years so the place is awash in Tintoretto. For some of the ceiling panels, they even provided mirrors to look at them through so you didn’t have to strain your neck. Then we had a break for lunch and had to meet at the Accademia at 3. The Accademia was very interesting, and I wish that we had done it earlier so I wouldn’t have been so tired. They have many beautiful Gothic altarpieces and some very famous paintings by Titian, Bellini and all the rest. They had some of the narrative paintings that Venice is famous for and it was nice to see them in person instead of trying to see the many figures and elaborate scenes of the paintings in a tiny textbook picture. Of course, none of these places had any heat whatsoever and I was freezing the entire time. We were let out of the Accademia at 5:45 and I hustled to go do all my souvenier shopping. We hadn’t bought train tickets in advance, thinking we would want to wait to see how long we wanted to stay, but on Saturday morning, my classmates were talking about how hard it had been to get return train tickets, so I called Mary and told her to go buy us train tickets before there was nothing left. The only train left with seats was leaving at 1:20 on Sunday afternoon, and I wasn’t going to be finished with class until noon, so I could only shop on Saturday night. Miraculously, I found everything I wanted. I got a beautiful Carnevale mask for myself and some surprise presents for other people. Then I went back to the hotel and Mary and I went to dinner. I was very surprised with how good it turned out to be, I had gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce and it was delicious. I was surprised because I hadn’t been too impressed with the quality of the food we were finding in Venice. Then we went back and chatted with our roommates for a bit before going to bed.
On Sunday we were meeting at Piazza San Marco, so I decided to take the vaporetto (water bus) down the Grand Canal to get there so that I could get the canal experience. It was even colder on the water than it was on land, and I had to keep my hands out to take pictures. It was a fun ride and I saw some really pretty palaces, but when I got off the boat, my hands were like ice and I ended up spending 8 euro on a pair of gloves that weren’t even very warm. Then we had to stand in the piazza and listen to one of the girls give her final presentation on the library that we didn’t even get to go into. Then we walked to another Scuola to see some narrative paintings like they would have been originally. Then we went to the church were Vivaldi was baptized to see an important painting there. Then we were done and I walked back to the hotel to get Mary and my stuff and we went to the train station, had lunch and headed back to Rome. This train was a regional train, so it was 5 ½ hours, which was a little too long considering the guy next to me had the worst breath ever. And then I got home and our house hadn’t been broken into (there have been a lot of break-ins to student apartments lately, so its always a relief to come home and find that your stuff is still there) and then did some schoolwork and went to bed.