Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Can See Vesuvius from my Deck !!

I am in the little town of Acerra, 15 minutes outside of Naples, studio italiano.
The town was famous even in the time of Vergilius, who called it a 'jewel box'.  Vergil died about 50 years before Vesuvius erupted in 79AD.  That was also before this housing project was built about 10 years ago. It does have a few good things going for it, but 'jewel box' is not among them.  My immediate issue is with the yellow building blocking 90% of my view of Vesuvius.

We went in to town to check out Napoli, and first went to the Parco Vergiliano, a large treed park overlooking all of Naples and its surrounding bay and islands.

These are the islands of Procida and Ischia off  Bagnoli.  This large bay, a part of,  the greater bay of Naples was a runner up in the contest to host the America's Cup in 2007.
Valencia took the prize, but Naples has partlially cleaned up the old steel mills, built in 1900, and needs a plan to energize this beautiful site.

The close island is Nisida, the Patrician estate of Brutus (Et tu?), where he developed the plan to assassinate Julius Caesar.  Having one's own island may lead to delusions of grandeur...  Virgil describes the nearby area as the location for a new harbor built by Augustus safe inland via canal, named Portus Julius. This harbor was used for over 400 years and was rediscovered in 1956.
 It would be interesting to see America's Cup boats in this location, the highest point on Nisida is 105 m, about 3 times the height of the AC masts.

Nisida is now connected to the mainland by a short stone bridge.  The isola is the remnant of an old volcano, the flooded crater created a small circular harbor, hidden from land view.

Further along we see a cozzi farm, the grid of bouys off the park peninsula, just south of Nisida.

The coast here is fingered with accessable projections.  I notice an interesting building and take a closer look,

it seems abandoned.  The natural caves seem like lost aquaducts.

February in Naples is brisk, but usually sunny.  These roses are in bloom, by April and May this park should be on fire with blossoms of all sorts.

And through these gardens, can be seen the isola of Capri.  

Down at the waters edge Vesuvius seems a shadow in the mists.
Closer, from the top of the Castel del Ouvo,

the real presence of the historic volcano is manifest.
  Naples has boats, and harbors galore.

Here is one with a prime vantage.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Manhasset comes to Venezia

I rushed over to the Campo Santa Maria Formosa, a block away from my apartment on the Fondamenta Dose. It was close to 5 when the concert was to start.  The light across the Campo was soft and clear and there was the sound of a saxophone drifting through the air.  Exactly what kind of concert was this to be?  

The Manhassett High School from Long Island New York was singing in the chiesa, named for the beautiful virgin.   And there were no plans for a mounted on a pilaster next to the entry was this poster:

As I entered the church the choir was starting to set up as the audience was choosing their seats.

The choir director, Mark Van Schenkhof, was giving instructions to his charges as the church filled.

The great care and thought involved became apparent immediately as the choir started to sing.

S. Maria Formosa  is a Renaissance Greek Cross design and the center of is community.  The interior volume received the music from this young choir brightly and beautifully.

The choir worked through their program to continuous applause.

And then Mark left the climb into the rafters to play the church's organ.

The familiar sounds of Handel's Hallelujah 
Chorus resounded through the vast volume of the Formosa.

The Messiah was popular with the crowd.

Back to the remainder of the program, the choir performed at the highest level, always thrilling with their strong and controlled voice..

And finished to a standing ovation, which the photographer seems to have omitted.
The memories are strong, Manhassett made a great impression in this citta della mare.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Turner Mystery solved!

I ordered the book Watermark from an English bookstore for delivery at my studio apartment (monolocale) in calle del DOSE.  There seemed to be no English copies of this book in Venice, eventhough it is about Venice and was written in English.  Weeks after I received the book, I did find a store with a dozen copies, but they were the American version.  No words were changed to protect the innocenti as in the differing  Harry Potter publishing houses, but the English version of Watermark is hard cover and has a nice jacket with a detail of a Turner watercolor as its theme. (obviously an intelligent decision, they must have seen my blog!). The front cover shows the interior of a room with a view to the Campanile San Marco through the window.  The name of the painting is "The Artist's Bedroom in the Hotel Europa, Venice".

Nice view.  My hotel room in Tokyo looked right over the Tokyo tower... this view is much nicer.  The thought naturally seems to go to ,'Wouldn't it be cool to get in that room and take a picture of the view?'.  It turns out that I was not the first to think that thought.  For several weeks I have been thinking about how to approach the Europa to access a room I do not know the number to.  And I have corresponded with KdeS...

...shown here in front of her room at the Regina-Europa discussing the possibilities, especially, the fact that it does not seem as though the campanile can be seen from the Europa.  Considering that Turner stayed here 150 years ago, and that some buildings to the east may be taller now than they were at that time, etcetera.

I have occasionally searched Turner info on the internet..  It seems that the Europa does not occupy the same building as it did in 1840.  It was at the Ca' Giustinian then, just behind San Moise near S.Marco.  Turner's windows looked out in one direction towards the Campanile of San Marco to the east.  From the top of the building he could look down across the canal to the Dogano and the Salute.  He noted on the verso of some of the paintings that he was very excited to be in temporary possession of these views. So, the mystery has been solved a while ago by others.

"The Artist's Bedroom in the Hotel Europa, Venice".

Here is the watercolor of his room, showing the ceiling and so forth as well as the Campanile .  Another interesting view is this sunrise.

Venice at Sunrise from the Hotel Europa

It is always time for a good excuse to look at Turner's watercolors.

Storm at Venice

A view closer to the Basino...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ghiottoneria I

  Tidbits and delicacies unrelated to each other.

Thomas Moran's gondola, which not only is pictured at the beginning of this blog, has been recently restored in Venice and is going to the National Gallery as an exhibit in their new show:
Venice: Canaletto and his Rivals.
The show is open Feb 20 to May 30.  The Moran gondola is on view now!


Of course it would happen.  I leave the country and I end up in an ad.  
That is me at the New York Tretorn store (in the pink jersey) gaping into the display window.  
Alas, no residuals.


Just what you wanted to see: the view out my classroom window.  The sun finally came out 2 days ago and changed the nature of life here. Life in Campo Santa Martguerita is flourishing, as can be seen by the presence of cafe tables set out on the campo and a sun to inhabit them.

Sun on that window.


A new building at San Marco??

Recently I went down to the Piazzetta and noticed a new building, super post modern, with the top of a campanelli refigured as a viewing room on a red rooftop terrace!!
 Venice is rushing into the 
Ventiduesimo: XXII Century

Which, actually, brings us to the 

Robert Moses comes to Venezia!

Yup, a subway from the mainland to the Fondemento Nuovo. 
Why can't New York get a train from the airports to Manhattan?
This is controversial, there is not too much reason for it (Venice needs more people?) and it will severely  damage the Lagoon, as well as destabilize the whole understructure of the city,
 which is built on 500 feet of mud.

A referendum is being planned...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Juan Sebastian de Elcano comes to the Zattere

I was up before dawn to get over to the Zattere
to see the Spanish Training ship which sailed into Venice Friday afternoon.
Down at the Rialto I caught the vaporetto to the Accademia 

where it is short run over to the Giudecca canal and the Zattere, where the sun was scrapping the tops of buildings.

Walking west along the grand fondamenta della Zattere I caught a glimpse.

A little more than a glimpse, this ship is large.  113 Meters long with a beam of 13.2 meters.  48 meters tall.
I was in a rush to see the boat, and also to catch the early morning light, but it was overcast all day.  There were a few breaks in the clouds...  

Looking east, the sun is breaking through low clouds and the Zattere is still quiet.  The Elcano, as the crew calls her, is tied up to a floating dock attached to the Zattere for the modern purpose of extended stay.  In earlier days ships would be tied right to those marble bollards which are all along the Quay.

I got closer, but the pier was closed off till 10, when she was open for tours.

From the stern with the Giudecca on the other side of the canal.

The foredeck was busy in an orderly shiplike way.  Radar, communications, windless and those bow chasers...later, I realized that these guns were to shoot a heaving line to a dock or another ship.  Probably would not be welcome in many ports with bow chasers...

And the figurehead, elegant in a bronze-gold finish.

Then I noticed...

...that the jack was in place, it was 8 AM and the crew had placed it silently .

I had 2 hours to wait before the escorted tours began, so I wandered back to Rio Trovaso to check out the gondola shop, and catch a little breakfast.

As I went around the corner...ah!  Venezia!  Truly a view from the past.

Looking aft from the foredeck,
 She looks at home along this 500 year old quay.

Hoops, necessary on sailing ships, these are over a meter in diameter.

The Elcano was built in Cadiz, Spain and launched in 1927.  She carries out 6 month training cruises and has  circumnavigated the globe 10 times.  Named for Juan Sebastian de Elcano, the navigator for Magellan, who successfully made his way back to Spain, she is the pride of the Armada EspaƱola

This Commandantesseini was working on a mutiny 'till subdued with a cioccolato.

I went back to mia casa with fond memories:

And the thought that I would need to add an additional chapter to my projected
four  VeneziaMarina topics:  A fantastic ship arrives!