10 September 2008

Apology for gondola theft 34 years ago

There's rather a good story in today's Gazzettino, (for those who read Italian: Il pentimento di un marinaio inglese: torna a Venezia e dopo 34 anni si scusa per il furto di una gondola) about a British sailor's return to Venice. The repentant visitor, in Venice with his family, went to a gondola stand to make an apology 'to all the gondoliers of Venice' for an escapade in 1974. He was stationed on the HMS Fearless when, with four other sailors, he took a gondola from its mooring one night. The carabinieri turned up to reclaim it the next day. Now one of the culprits has taken advantage of a trip to Venice to make his apologies... and to take an official gondola ride. 'I wouldn't have believed it' the newspaper quotes a gondolier who remembers the incident.

6 September 2008

Around Venice & the Veneto

This weekend in Italy is a popular one for traditional events and festivals. In Venice the Regata Storica - a boat procession and races - takes place on Sunday 8th September - last year ended in controversy with angry rowers. Also this weekend, in the mainland Veneto, with the climax on Sunday evening, are palio events in Montagnana and Castelfranco Veneto, both historic walled towns. Like the famous palio in Siena, these are costumed re-enactment type events, centred around a contest between different districts of the towns.
> Montagnana palio programme (in Italian)
> Palio of Castelfranco Veneto

Visiting Treviso

Yesterday I took a trip to Treviso and visited the reopened Museo di Santa Caterina. It has a good archaeological section and some interesting paintings. Most of the written explanations are in Italian only - a shame given that the only visitors I saw yesterday afternoon were English and French speakers. As well as admiring the town in the sunshine, I also found my way into the hidden Sala del Capitolo, alongside the Church of San Nicolo. You actually have to be bold and enter the religious seminary next door - the frescoes by Tomaso da Modena are worth the effort. New updated information will be available very soon on our Treviso page.
> More about Treviso
Cat on the Giudecca, last week
And in Venice...
In Venice the film festival has seemed pretty unimpressive. The decoration of the main building - ripped white sheets with lions emerging - is underwhelming. The weather is still hot and sunny, though, so festival-goers can always choose the beach instead. (Read about the Lido).

Far more interesting has been my recent exploration of the Giudecca, a curious island with all sorts of hidden alleys and picturesque corners. If you have a few days in Venice it's worth catching the vaporetto over here for a panoramic drink or meal, and a wander around.