Again we thought about going to the cemetery but we just didn’t. Instead we headed west into Cannaregio in order to find some of the free collateral exhibitions of the Bienalle. You could probably stay here a month and not see it all. It’s everywhere. Coffee first–we stopped at Al Leon D’oro, got into a great conversation with the 2 women who were working there and consequently got our 2 double espressos for 3 euro. I even went back in and asked if they undercharged us, but no–that’s just what they wanted to charge us. And when were we coming back?? We wandered around for a while looking for the Romania exhibit to find it was closed. Took some photos on the walk:
First place we stopped was the Graham Fagen exhibit for Scotland, set in a private home, the Palazzo Fontana, right on the Grand canal. I liked the size of this one. Not so much that it’s overwhelming but enough so you can dig your teeth into the themes (and teeth was one of his recurring themes) The paintings were very interesting, inkblots with subtle eyes and very unsubtle teeth. The clay work “about gripping and holding on” set in the room of the palace with an enormous blue Morano glass chandelier were captivating but my favorite part were the 4 video screens playing a sad song about slaves leaving Senegal to an irresistible slow swaying beat, which was a takeoff of a Robert Burns poem. There was a native Reggae singer and three string instruments playing with close ups of all of their emotional faces and fingers and teeth. And the music was haunting with the bass beat and the cello song. We sat and watched the screens for quite a while.
Outside, on the balcony, you get a view of the canal that’s magnificent. Again we had a nice talk with the art students from Scotland who were there supporting the art.
Almost right across the street is a building with a bunch of small country exhibits–I remember the Phillipines and Mongolia were in there and a few independents, too. It took a long time to go through all of the works, There were a bunch of videos and we only took time to watch large parts of 2 of them. It all starts to run together, but I remember a room sized boat covered with crimson velvet cloth and buckles. And the funny falling-off-the-face-of-the-earth ship full of gold Hello Kitties. There was a lot–maybe too much
For lunch we walked back towards home–we could tell rain was coming. There’s a cicchetti bar, called Sbarlefo, near to our house so we tried it. I got a glass of Lugana and pointed to a bunch of different bites in the case. We snagged one of the 2 tables outside and there we were. Lunch was going great until it really started to rain…and thunder…and lightning. Turned out the awning wasn’t so waterproof. So we finished up and made a run for it to home–totally soaked but laughing.
Word of the wise about Venice eating. You really have to reserve and maybe a few days in advance. I called my first 4 choices, yesterday for dinner tonight and they were all full. For just 2 people!
Anyway, we started to get our packing organized and the the “last-day-in-Venice-blues” has set in. We took the vaporetto from CaD’oro to Accademia, crossed over, loving the clear bright view.
We went into the Istituto Veneto di ScienzeLettere edArti. It’s the big mustardy yellow place just across the bridge to your right.
Because it was “Artnight” in Venice there was no charge after 5 pm. We got there at 5:05! There were a lot of people there too. We went straight to the top floor and it was by slow food. It was all about heritage seeds and growing. There were lots of seeds and plants, and you could plant a seed of your choosing in a small ball of damp clay in which it will grow and they promised to then plant it. This floor of the building used to be a bank and it still had a lot of the original wood structures left.
Downstairs was a hodgepodge of contemporary glass work and ancient objects from St. Petersburg, Russia–religious artifacts and lots of armor. I didn’t quite get it.
We still had 2 hours until dinner and we were “arted out” . We wondered into another palazzo with paintings and music but we just mostly were amazed at the original building and went on.
We sat for a while in Campo San Stefano–busy with tourists, walked over to San Barnaba for some fine people watching. At this point people were streaming in with dark Blue “Artnight” shirts and maps. We walked to the source at the University at Ca Foscari. Lots of excitement there.
Before our 8:00 dinner we had a wonderful sit in our old campo, San Polo. We saw some dogs and people we recognized from our 3 week stay last year.
Dinner, at Veccio Fritolin, was very good just not great. Something felt off with the service and most likely it was all me. We did have a fantastic salad of local greens, herbs and flowers. Ken had a spaghetti we both loved with a dark smokey brothy sauce and mussels. I got the Fritto Misto which I just had to have for our last night but I really wasn’t in the mood for something so heavy. We drank a really nice Soave with the meal and they brought a little plate of cookies with my coffee.
Walking home I was kinda blue. My love for this place has not diminished. We’ll be back!