Venice a tired looking beauty!
Venice, a tired looking beauty!!!
by Henning Høholt, photos Tomas Bagackas and Henning Høholt
VENICE: As always, Venice, the famous former Doge capital in Italy is a pleasure to visit. The atmosphere is extraordinary.
The canals, to not have cars, scooters, bicycles flying around the pedestrian areas as we experience in many great cities today, including Oslo and Paris.
A real pleasure. We are watching one more exiting palace, after the other, with extraordinary decorations.
The beautiful Saint Marco Square, where, even in November live music is played outside two of the restaurants on both rainy and sunny days.
The extremely narrow street ending up in the square in front of the “new” Teatro La Fenice, which once again, like the bird Fenix, has been rebuilt, looking almost as it used to after the last fire in 1996, missing only some visual details.
The theatre performs an absolutely splendid line of great operas with outstanding soloists, choir, orchestra, headed by its music-master, the famous conductor Wyung-Mung Chung, and staged by leading directors from all over the world, often in co production with other world famous opera houses.
So with the new Otello in cooperation with Arena di Verona, and the new Tristan and Isolde with Ian Storey and Birgitter Pincer, Richard Paul Fink, and the outstanding Tuija Knihtilä as Brangäne directed by Paul Curran, one of the world’s leading directors today.
This gives it all an enchanting, nearly fairytal experience, as we have never felt in any other place.
However, Venice has its problems. The high tides, which often makes it impossible to pass throug the streets, getting to or home from the opera house, unless you have prepared yourself with hig boots, but who brings wellingtons to the opera-house in evening dress.?
After a performance you may have trouble with your favourite neighbour cafe, finding it locked, as there is no late sevice. Or the chairs have already been set up on the tables before closing. The only possibility is to stay as a large group surrounding the bar, inclusive a group of handsom marine cadets in uniform, who have also been enjoying the evening´s opera
. and then enjoying nice sandwiches, good wine, beer
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In Italy and France this kind of refresment can still be enjoyed at reasonable prices, when staying by the bar, giving a good feel to the end of an evening at the Opera.
However, it seems strange to me that the restaurant staff doesn’t take down the chairs from the tables thus earning more money by serving seated guests.
Venice looks tired, at least when the sun is not shining. Nearly every house needs paint, and most houses are placed so low that they have water rising up their walls. This causes great problems for the lowest 1-2 meters of the façade.
Venice looks like a rich city.
With all the tourists in Venice, and the usually very high price level of “normal” tourist restaurants and shops, the city has a healthy income, and could, – if they wished, make the city look more welcoming.
The price level at the restaurants in Venice, after having visited 18 restaurants and cafes during 7 days, has told me that if they advertise a Tourist Menu, it is often too highly priced, and not alway of good quality
As in most large cities, if you just turn the corner to a street with less traffic, and yo will find a small restaurant or café, full of locals and tourists, which is a good advert for quality service and a positive price level. So also in Venice.
Of course the Doge Palace: I must admit that after entering behind the beautiful facade, and enjoying the spectacular court yard, and the view from the gallery towards the St. Marco Square.
I found the apartments of the Doge and the representation rooms were not especially interesting. Nor did I find the expositions extraordinary
For example, some interesting books with illustrations, which reminded me of the similar from Ile Saint Michel in Normandy
. Preserved ceiling decorations. But when one has the possibility to enjoy the best museums in Europe, this is not unduly impressive.
In Venice there is published a lot of information about the newly opened and restored 10(?) rooms appartment of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth (Sissi) situated in Correr Museo, with a small garden behind.
It was a good beginning, but not good enough, Some rooms had new upholstery on the chairs, which looked really nice, but not quite the luxury feeling, as I had anticipated me by an imperial residence.
Compared for example with how Chateau du Versailles in France is presented, to mention only one outstanding example.
If you get tired of canals and bridges? Visit Lido or Murano, allways inspiring, well Murano has a canal too.