Monday, November 10, 2008
Venice Memories and Musings
I find myself thinking of Venice and Venetians. It usually begins when I am working on the gondola. A combination of temperature, the smell of ocean life plus a hint deisel exhaust will transport me to Venice.
One of the common themes of my Venetian musings is consideration of the real Venets, the real city dwellers who lived after Napoleon up until the recent migration of the majority of its citizens. These were the folks who, before a rain, would clean their sandolo and let it fill so they could enjoy a treat of fresh water. These were people whose Arsenale was no longer building boats. These were the people who lost everything and still remained a people. I seek the people who struggle and work to keep the art, culture, and spirit of the Lion City alive.
I have been lucky enough to meet some of these Venets. I got to sing for Gastone Sandri, composer of Venetian songs, who could tour the world with his music but won't. There's Roberto Vianello, gondolier, who endevors to keep and pass on the traditions of his trade. My rule of thumb is that the more Venetian you are the less you can understand me and no one understood me less than Roberto Dei Rossi, master gondola maker who has a very busy squero. These people are not Carnivalle fluff but the flesh and bones of a great city.
In Venice I love to take off alone and find the forgotten. The photos shown here were taken on the Lido near Diadora rowing club. I can't help but wonder who build these vessels, who rowed them, who repaired them. I can imagine the club rowers in the sandolo, or the motor boat owner, fussing because his wife's out of town visitors missed the last boat from the lido, rising from his chair to fetch her friends. Even the wood pile calls out stories of alpine loggers, river journeys, vessels banging and the ceaseless lapping of the lagoon waters.
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