Friday, December 10, 2010

Third Avenue in Venezia...

Third Avenue is the major uptown delivery street for New York, busy all night ,as is 2nd Avenue doing its job as the downtown delivery street.  New York has to get its provisions, for stores, for groceries, for whatever is needed, but is poorly designed  to allow easy, that is easy, access,  for the regeneration of the city as it needs on a daily basis.
Well, you may imagine, Venice, with only canals, may be in a similar situation.  It is.

Here, on a foggy boats are going both ways on the canals....

This spot is at a cross 'street' to the avenue that is the Grand Canale beyond.  We missed the pic with the GC traffic, but, the 4 arched accesses on the left are actually berths for the Venice Fire Department and their fire boats, not a flooded Piransi drawing...but the bypassing traffic does intersect with the Grand Canale and requires some clever piloting...these pilots don't seem to understand slow, but everyone has lots of fenders...they need them.

Here is the Rialto Bridge, early in the morning.  It is probable that very few have seen this bridge with so few people.  It has been raining and Acqua Alta for over two weeks now, (it started the day I arrived), and today was/is predicted to be sunny, so I left the apartment before sunrise to capture the activities of Veneziana early in the morning.  Fog, boats, activities...that is the mission today to discover.
So, I left early for class, which begins at 9AM, so I could photograph some of the activities which keep this Citta alive.

I have focused the study on the area surrounding the Rialto Bridge, not only because it is on my way to class, but it has an active tourist market, and , additionally, the largest food market in the city. Vaporetto stop: Mercato. (Clue one!)
Here is a delivery barge, tied up at the fondamenta of the  Rialto, setting up to unload.  This type of  barge (boat) is similar to most utilitarian boats in Venice, hearses, fireboats, DHL, UPS, FedEx, all work, along with Verdure suppliers (vegetables), fruit, fish, and so forth...All trades have their own fleets.  Here, at the break of light, is a delivery for some stores along the Rialto/San Marco fondamenta.
Looking over the delivery craft, we see the hints of sunlight on the tops of the palazzo on the western side of the Grand Canale.
Here, at the top of the bridge, people start to gather to catch the early morning views, presumably before work on this first sunny day in weeks.  It is hard to explain the emotional balance of the city, dependent as it is on sunlight,  for its financial security, emotional security, and its physical survival, and the character it gives is citizens.  Today, in the end, was a very very happy day according to the merchants I talked with.  Note, additionally,  the beginning of Christmas lighting in the tourist area.

On the San Polo side of the Great bridge, looking toward the San Marco side, the pilaster, of plaster imitating the Istrian stone, which is so sensitive to the water and the sunlight, making dark streaks in the moist shade areas of the stone...

The Mercato, the great market at the Rialto, which as fresh fish, Verdure, meat, and whatever else is being sold, is hidden away from the tourist route, in full view.  The beauty and efficiency of city planning at its best.

Christmas trees being delivered.  No familys come down from Canada with their trees and park out on some 3rd avenue corner for a month and a half, these trees are ordered and boat.


The Marcato... these open air courtyard and covered markets, have been working the the same way for centuries.  Like the South Street Seaport fish market in New York, which until the late 1970's had the exact market with cutting counter and knives used to prepared fish, for our President George Washington on his way home from his office downtown, (He lived at what is now the base of the Brooklyn bridge), as well as the Newport  "Brick Market", designed in 1762 by Peter Harrison, both beneficiaries of the design of urban markets, like these still in existence in Venice.
We are getting "up close and personal" now, an early morning vendor setting up her market to look well when her customers arrive shortly.  Note the sign on the building, "Campo de la Pescaria", courtyard of the fishermen.  At least a half a milennia, or more, it has been working the same way, with the same families...

Looking down the Canal Grande, with a traghetto, which has just ferried several passengers across the Canal to get to the market area.  Seagulls swarm overhead with the scent of fresh fish.  Note: for people, the Ca'd'oro on the right, just across from the mercato.   It was planned at the center of the mercantile world when it was built.

Fishmongers bring in and cut up the fish daily for restaurant chefs,  store owners,  as well as those of us who want fresh fish for dinner;

these ells, crayfish and scungilli are ...m o v i n g..  I neglected to videotape the market...
And, there is always the vacuum packed Scottish smoked salmon, for those too squeemish to get into the real thing.  After all, these merchants are here to please.
Just a final shot (lots of pics here), to show that the columnar based building we saw facing the Canal, is the same one as the Gothic arched structure facing the Citta...(squint and see the market inside).

So, on my route to my class, I leave the Rialto Marcato, and follow the calle and ponti to the Campo d'San Margherita..  above, is a victim of the constant acqua alta.   Basically,  acqua alta is the rising of the high tides about 1.5 meters above normal.  5 feet at most, which can and does flood the various Campo, the lower floors of building, stores, apartment buildings, houses, hotels, restaurants, I can go on...  It also affect boats, they have to be docked somewhere, and if the owner does not adjust his docking lines, those lines can pull the boat under.  Here the boat is partially ripped apart, flooded, and probably worthless.  Several days earlier I saw the fire department using a high powered rescue pump on a boat of this size, to little positive effect, they couldn't get the gunnels above the water level.  Pumping water into water, a sad state of affairs.

On the Campo San Polo, the rising sun just hits the highest buildings and reflects off some windows..while early birds are wakling their dogs.
I ran back down to the Grand Canale to see what was happening , and caught the Polizia boat, just leaving for a patrol.  Glad I'm not driving.
And at Campo Santa Margherita, where my school is, wholesalers and vendors are delivering and setting up shop.  Here, after a delivery, the wholesaler is running his cart back to the boat.

Just down the Campo, the 2 fishmongers are starting to sell fresh fish to the locals.  Note that little blue fin tuna.  One of the greatest fish, fresh and ready to be cut up properly for those in the Santa Marghereta area.  Lots of other choices as well, but it is a sight to see the whole fish, and then, to see it so young.

On my way home from school, several stops along the way at the tailors, and Japanese stuff  retailers, I pass this display, in a bakery/restaurant a block from my apartment in the San Marco area.  Are we not all happy to be doing whatever we are doing?  That is the thing.


  1. the color and light! thanks for this gorgeous post, something I sorely needed this gloomy Cape Cod week.

  2. Martha,
    It is generally warmer here than in surrounding areas. Rain rather than snow and so forth. I apologize for the delay- the not seeing- and have a wonderful Christmas with your family.