Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A glimpse of Carnevale Venice 2014

Masks-Carnevale 2014
Traghetto Molo, San Marco

Carnevale, for many who live in or around Venice, is a time when you either stay away from St. Mark's square and the crowds that fill the city's only piazza or you wait to view the marvelous costumes and masks on an 'off day'. 

This year the festivities officially opened on Sunday February 23rd with the traditional Volo dell’angelo or Flight of the Angel. It was reported that 105,000 people attended. I, intentionally, was not one of them.

A beautiful mask, Venice 2014
The origins of the Angel, interpreted in the 1500s by a Turkish acrobat and known then as the Svolo del Turco, now stars a selected damsel dressed in costume who, securely belted to a robust pulley, slowly descends from the ledge of the bell tower, over the crowd, and into the welcome arms of the honorary Doge awaiting her on stage at the far end of the square. Over the centuries the Flight of the Turk became known as the Flight of the Angel, until a tragic accident in the mid-1700s caused the human Angel to be replaced by a Colombina (dove) carved from wood. La Colombina remained the opening Carnevale attraction until recent years. In fact, the first few Volos I attended in the late 1980s, and if my memory is correct into the 1990s, were indeed la Colombina. Many Venetians still refer to the opening Carnevale ceremony as il Volo della Colombina. However, some years ago, thanks to modern day safety techniques, the more exciting descent of a ‘real’ Angelo has, once again, returned. 

Court Jester
However, as I stated, I stayed away and instead chose, as I've done for more years than I can remember, to take a walk through Venice's back alleyways on Monday, a quieter Carnevale day. Of course, I ended up in St. Mark's square-- which around our home is also known as my husband's office. 

While waiting for my dear husband to mettere la barca da notte (put the gondola away for the night), I snapped these photos. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. 

My favorite this year. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

10 random things Italy has taught this native Southern Californian...

Today marks 27 years since I left Los Angeles and moved to Venice, Italy—a lot of changes have occurred in my life, on the inside and out. So, just for fun, I’d like to share a few of the random things Italy has taught this native Southern Californian:

Piazzetta San Marco, Venice

  1. Walk or take public transportation. They’re easy options that help your wallet, waistline and the environment.
  2. Unless there’s a deadline, it’s okay if you leave it for tomorrow.
  3. Traditional Italian lasagna is made with besciamella cream sauce and lots of Parmigiano cheese, not mozzarella.
  4. Neighborhood clock towers and church bells are great time telling instruments.
  5. As an alternative, a scoop of fresh gelato makes a healthy summertime meal.
  6. No other country designs and makes shoes, handbags or clothes like Italy. No, not even France!
  7. Stop an average Italian on the street and he or she will probably know more about the world’s current events than an average U.S. citizen—even when it comes to U.S. foreign affairs.
  8. Wine or water, and sometimes beer, are the only beverages that should be consumed with food.
  9. National Healthcare works well for everyone.
  10. No matter how trying the economy, how disorganized the government, Italians resiliently move forward and, somehow, make life work.