Africa 2017

Africa 2017

Saturday, April 14, 2012

What is beyond these doors?

I may have gone crazy with all the unique door knockers but windows and doors beckoned me to pause and look and I did......

This ironwork with the curly scrolls and diamond shape centers caught my eye. 

So many doors leading out to the water from old buildings..... decaying, rotting, yet a gentle lapping of water softens the silent demise of an entry long since used.

E. liked the Moorish style windows (which are called Venetian Gothic) and since there are many in Venice, I began to tell her "there's your windows E.!" every time we passed them.  These windows were at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti which sits next to the Grand Canal in a palace by name of Palazzo Cavalli-Franchetti built in 1565 but many improvements have been done since then.

Just before we crossed the Accademia Bridge opposite the Instituto was a quaint home with this scrolled gate with the initial "M" on it.  I of course thought of my youngest daughter M.

Walking by a pair of doors I spied a him and a her...or that is what I thought.  Delicate garlands across their chest / breasts and a blissful look upon their faces.

You can tell which one is handled the most....

I fell in love with this balcony with the aged patina of the shuttered doors and the curvaceous iron work.  Who is behind those doors do you suppose?  

The Venetian Gothic upper windows and the lower doors of massive size...contrasting or opposing...which is it?  Another pair of doors that fall below the water line of the canal and above those doors two faces different from each other.

This balcony of a filigree marble design and the leaded glass panes above the shuttered door reminded me of a Romeo and Juliet balcony.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Canals, Brioche, O Sole Mio! you are a feast to the eyes!  My head would go left, right, up and down and yet there was so much depth to what we saw.  Then for us, everything about Venice was new.  Maybe if you visited here often or lived here you wouldn't pay as much attention to the little things we noticed and wondered about.

Windows with shutters and lace that hid what was behind them.  Was someone peeking out at us?  And look at that lace in the window on the right...isn't is lovely?  We saw many lace curtains that were like that.

Doors of richly carved wood.  Look at this one.  The Moorish style top to it with a plaque that had a figure at the top holding what looked like an orb in one had and the other hand up giving a sign.  Below left and right are two medieval soldiers with swords in their hands yet their heads are sideways on their shoulders as though they were decapitated.  I can only guess that they wronged the church in some way and paid the price.  Since this does appear to be religious it could be Christ holding the "earth" and giving a "blessing" but I don't know why he would be blessing the two men who have lost their heads.

A tranquil view crossing a bridge.  We crossed many and I never felt like I was seeing the same thing twice.  I wondered how the boats wove in and out the narrow canal without hitting each other or maybe they did give a gentle nudge and no one was bothered by the bump.  Look at the level of the Venice gets some higher than normal high tides which means that water will spill into those doors that you can see.  I'm hoping that whatever room the overflow spills into does not ruin the floors.

Finally we think we should get something to eat.  All our sightseeing had made us hungry and what should appear but this visual feast of treats.  We saw pastries, candy and aha....they make sandwiches too!  We walked in and headed straight for the counter where a line up of sandwiches already made were there for us to choose from.

All the bread they used for the sandwiches were Brioche and we each picked a different one.  Mine was Brioche with speck.....

And E. chose Brioche with cured beef.....each one cost 3 euro.

We took them out and went to find a place where we could sit down and enjoy them.  We found this perfect piazza to have our lunch where we leaned against the wall of this church, took a rest and watched the people at the nearby restaurants as well as the coming and goings from the doors on the piazza.

I leave this post with one last photo of another the head on this one.

And a short video of a song you heard all the time in Venice...I am sure that the Venetians would prefer a different song but this singer was excellent!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I have a thing for Knockers....yes I do.  I can't help it but for the two times I have been to Italy I have been fascinated by the abundance of unique door knockers.  Venice did not disappoint me.

These two gentlemen were side by side on a pair of doors.  I wish I knew more about them.  Were they modeled after the owners of the building?  I just loved their expressions!

This one reminded me of the bow of a ship.  Look at the details below the head.

I should have taken a photo of the door as well as the knocker with this one.  Now some of these ornaments didn't seem to be knockers but I don't know what they should be called or why they would have them on a door accept as adornment.  Perhaps if you were trying to find someones home they could say "Oh look for the head that looks like Shakespeare on my door with a Trumpet flower carved in wood above him".  

Lions are popular and many look alike so I tried to find lions that were different.  This lion doesn't look too fierce, in fact he looks a little scared or maybe surprised!  He does have huge fangs holding the ring in place.

This one was larger than most that we saw.  The gentleman looks like a nobleman with two sweet cherubs (does a cherub have to have wings?) supporting him.  The lower weighted pull is also elaborately detailed.

One more lion.  I liked his mane that waved around his face and the details of his whiskers.

All these were from our first full day and E. was as patient as could be with my stopping at random whenever I saw a knocker that called to me to take a photo.   

Monday, April 2, 2012

Visual Memories....

 Those horses..... the authentic Roman horses that proudly stand inside protected from the air and birds.  It seems sad that they can't be out overlooking the Piazza where they did once stand.  Here they stand in a dark corner with lights shining down on them for the tourist to view. 

This is another view looking from above down into the sanctuary and it is an incredible view. 

We could stand close to the mosaics and admire their detail and wonder at how long it might have taken to do all the walls.  In comparison to the Duomo in Florence this church is considerably small and intimate.  I wish I could hear a choir sing in here.  Back in 2001 we visited the church Sant'Agosino in San Gimignano where I listened to a traveling youth choir from Ipswich which is north east of London, sing.  It was a memorable evening for me to sit in that very old church and hear it filled with music.  I thought what a wonderful experience these young people were having going from one town to another and singing in places of such history. 

Back to the more view up close.

We walked out into the bright sunshine and took off without a plan or a direction.  It was liberating to do this!  

Little bridges we crossed and a scene of charm would be there.  Balconies of rod iron railing, some with flowers some empty and forgotten.  A gondola slowly making it's way down a narrow and empty canal.  The hush.....

 Another crossing of a bridge and two empty gondolas sit.  E. and I looked down studying how different their interiors were.  Which one did we like the best?  A third sat back behind, all awaiting their gondolier who in turn will await for customers.

Sometimes we would be walking and off to our right another narrow calle would go off somewhere.  So of course we had to take that path and sometimes it would lead to an opening such as this.  A tranquil spot right to the briny water.  I suppose this would be a spot a boat would let someone off at or pick someone up. 

Once you leave the tourist zone there is an immediate silence of sound.  Amazing that most people who visit here never venture far.  We may not have gone to see all the main historical sites but we were richer for taking the quiet scenic byway.