Taking in Venice…

My view of gondolas from the patio of Hotel Becher in Venice

There is almost delightfully too much for my senses to take in as I am experiencing Venice for the first time. Rather than try and capture the past three days I have been here, I will share with you these very moments…

View from my canal-side room…

Sitting in my Venetian style hotel room in the Hotel Becher, I look out my window and directly onto one of the small canals. A gondolier told me earlier today that it is the only canal that cuts all the way through the San Marco area that makes the center of Venice. Gondolas pass by with their passengers, some chatty and some peacefully quiet – every now and then music from a guitar or accordion is accompanying the passengers and the rich romantic sound of an Italian man singing echoes up and down the canal, reverberating off the ancient walls that narrowly form this water passageway. The water itself is a turquoise-green, but with a slight shade of grey. And now it looks more muted since the sky is still overcast after it recently rained.

The inner-courtyard of the Doge’s Palace…a must-see in Venice!

Today I experienced the Doge’s Palace with a new friend I made here in Venice who works full-time for the city’s museums. He was kind enough to get passes for us to tour some of them today. Adalberto taught me so much about the history that no audio tape or tour guide could have provided. It was an amazing experience to hear about the beautiful art I was seeing from someone born and raised in Venice and educated in the arts and history.

The Palazzo Fortuny, still partly under restoration

Earlier in the afternoon, we visited the Palazzo Fortuny, also known as the Fortuny Museum, which is currently under a major renovation and restoration project, soon to be completed. A special exhibition currently there is dedicated to Diana Vreeland, which displayed aspects of her work and style that made her a success in her years with Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. Before and after our museum tour, we enjoyed cappuccinos with small chocolate biscuits.

Coming back to the moment…there it is again right at this moment! Another gondolier I hear coming down the canal in a gondola…it is getting closer now and I can hear that he’s accompanied by a classical guitar…bellisimo! Beautiful! No wonder Italian is considered one of the most beautiful, enchanting languages and cultures of the world. And when it is to music, it is absolutely intoxicating…that and a handsome gondolier sailing by just spotted me through my window and blew me a kiss. Ah, Italy!

Endless beautiful scenes…

I’ve just opened my window to let in the damp cool breeze and hear the singing more. Now I can also hear the sound of church bells ringing from somewhere nearby. I wonder how old the church bells are and for how many years and decades they have rang out with the singing of the gondoliers wandering down the canals, the water carrying their music under the many small stone bridges…