ROMANCE ABOARD A GONDOLA
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Hi, I’m glad to greet you, I’m Yael Yancelson and it will be a pleasure to take this tour together with you, today we are going to make a trip as beautiful as it is romantic, we will visit the beautiful city of Venice in Italy by gondola—-So breathe, close your eyes, Give me your hand and let yourself be guided, let’s begin. Located in northeastern Italy, the city stands on a group of islands on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. We listen to the chimes, the splash of water, and the song of the gondolier while we take a gondola ride through its canals, to live a magical experience and discover the most beautiful corners of the capital of Veneto.
Carlo, our guide and gondolier on this beautiful trip, tells us that it was from the Renaissance when this region was filled with life with the music of churches, festivals, and processions that mixed with the singing of visitors and merchants. He tells us that the first step to enter the Venice of yesterday and today is the Santa Lucía train station, from whose stairs we can already see the Grand Canal, the buildings on the other side, with the church of San Simeon Piccolo. At the height of the station the vaporetti sail towards Rialto and San Marco. We turn left to see how a path opens up for one of the less crowded neighborhoods (sestieri) of Venice, Cannaregio. We pass the Ponte degli Scalzi and continue along the Rio Terà Lista di Spagna and the Ponte delle Guglie, scene of the sensational carnival regatta.
Behind there begins the Ghetto, the Jewish quarter, with its bakeries, its five synagogues, its museum, and its silent squares. Starting in 1516, the neighborhood was closed every night, like a city within a city. Today it is still equivalent to accessing a timeless world marked by Yiddish, peyets, and kippahs. Cannaregio surprises us with the grandiose baroque church of Santa Maria Assunta or of the Jesuits, in which the painting by Titian, The Martyrdom of San Lorenzo, stands out. From here, there is nothing left to do but get lost among the sottoporteghi, the squares, and the little streets of the San Marco sestiere.
The time has come to head towards the Rialto sestiere, and for this, it is advisable to pass through Le Mercerie (Mercerie dell Orologio, Mercerie de San Zulian, Mercerie del Capitello, and Mercerie San Salvador), a group of streets that are home to elegant boutiques clothing and footwear, jewelry, and leather goods. Center of the textile trade for centuries, at Le Mercerie silks, coexist with the sound of violins, listen.
We arrive at Campo San Salvador, a few meters from the Rialto Bridge, the oldest in Venice. Before in the 12th century, it was a floating bridge, and now it is splendid stonework –from 1591–, one of the four that cross the Grand Canal. In addition, it becomes an exceptional viewpoint when the water rises. Here in Rialto, we will go to craft shops and bars that offer the famous spritz, the quintessential Venetian cocktail. It is advisable to continue walking through the San Polo neighborhood or cross the bridge again to take the Vaporetto that goes up the Grand Canal and passes in front of beautiful Renaissance palaces.
Venice also has a rich cultural and architectural heritage in which St. Mark’s Square stands out above all else. This beautiful square that Napoleon himself defined as “the most beautiful hall in Europe”. The basilica in the square is a true marvel of Byzantine architecture. Opposite stands the famous campanile, a symbol of the city that acts as the bell tower of the basilica and which can be climbed to contemplate the beautiful views. Gothic, Renaissance, and Neoclassical coexist with the Byzantine influence of the Basilica of San Marcos, with its flattened domes and golden mosaics. It is accompanied, among others, by the Ducal Palace, the Campanile, the Clock Tower, and the Correr Museum. And cafes with three hundred years of history where time seems to have stopped.
The gondola is much more than a boat: it is a work of art in motion and the symbol of a city linked from its birth to water. It is interesting to learn about the process of building a gondola since each one is different and is built according to the preferences of the gondolier, who actively participate in its design and development.
With eight different types of wood, the frame is built: then it is waterproofed, and painted. The last phase of construction consists of placing the irons -one at the bow, one at the stern, and one at the keel- that protect the boat from blows; it is the iron of the bow, in addition, it has a meaning: The six front teeth represent the sestieri (neighborhoods) of the island of Venice; the back tooth, the neighboring island of Giudecca; the arch over the upper front tooth, the Rialto bridge; the upper part takes the form of the hat of the doge, the highest leader of the Venetian Republic; and the lower part, which joins the keel iron, has the shape of the Canal Grande.
When the gondola is already built, the parecio is incorporated, which is the space for passengers right where we are sitting and consists mainly of a divan for two people and stools for the rest of the passengers. And the forcola, which is the scale on that rests the oar, made by a specialized craftsman called rower, of which only a few remain in Venice; Its shape is specially designed for rowing with one hand, reducing the necessary effort and improving the maneuverability of the gondola. Finally, the gondolier adds the decorative elements, either commissioning them from specialized craftsmen or, in some cases, participating himself. Interesting data, don’t you think?
Let´s get aboard!!
And it is so that between the walls of the narrow canals you can hear the song of the gondoliers, who guide their boat with firm but elegant movements through the narrow aquatic labyrinth.
Let’s go now to Desdemona’s house and Mozart’s house. Afterward, we will pass by the magnificent theater “La Fenice” and the canal “De Le Ostreghe”.
We continue to the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, and some of the beautiful Venetian palaces along the banks, such as Ca’Dolfin, Ca’Loredan, Grimani Palace, and many others.
It gives us time to explore the beautiful Venetian islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello to go to the glass factory and learn how master glassmakers create their masterpieces with a glass blowing demonstration. As we leave we see the huge basilica of Santi Maria e Donato, one of the oldest churches in the Venetian lagoon originally built in the 7th century.
On the island of Burano, we see these picturesque and colorful houses that according to legend get their rainbow appearance from the fishermen who painted their houses in bright colors to find their way home when returning from the sea.
Torcello Island was the first settlement in the Venetian lagoon. So let’s enter the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, founded in 639.
We return to the Correr Museum, located in the Plaza de San Marcos. Originally the building was designated as Napoleon’s residence, and over time it became the Venetian residence of the King of Italy.
Do you want to do something different? We go to a carnival mask-making workshop and learn the ancient techniques of making paper-mâché masks and interesting facts about the use of masks in Venice in the past.
You can also discover how to paint and decorate your own mask with an expert teacher. Choose a mask to decorate and take it with you as a very special souvenir.
We have to enter The Gritti Palace hotel, which definitely has one of the most fascinating views of the city from the lagoon, famous for hosting great personalities such as the writer Hemingway, it was Duke Andrea Gritti, who ordered its construction in 1475 and gave its name to this palace that centuries later, exactly in 1895, became a hotel. Just look at the quality of their artwork, antiques, and glorious Murano glass chandeliers wow!!! and I had to reserve a table at the Club del Doge and savor an exquisite Hemingway risotto, the author’s favorite dish.
To follow the journey of great artists such as Carlo Goldoni, Antonio Casanova, Stendhal, Wagner, Nietzsche, Charles Chaplin, Andy Warhol, and Gabriele d’Annunzio, we enter the Caffè Florian, in whose rooms the history of the lagoon is collected from the century XVIII. Describing it as “a boiling black water” or “the wine of Islam”, Venice was one of the main ports where the first shipments of coffee beans arrived in Europe, where it was considered a spice both to impress and to market due to its high value. Coinciding with the growing popularity of coffee on the European continent, the Florian became a meeting place and literary discussion that was the heart of the revolution (in the columns at the entrance you can still read “Viva San Marco Long live the Republic”). Over the years, also in a mythical place, and even sacred; in a coffee temple.
A temple that is also a museum. The interior, originally made up of two rooms, has half a dozen rooms, all of them decorated in a romantic style, faithful to the 1858 restoration in which the main artists of the city of canals participated, who drew medallions with personalities and allegories. Cradle of the Biennial, the venue actively participates in the city’s agenda, organizing cultural events with special emphasis on contemporary art.
Finally, we will stop at one of the most fashionable canals among the Venetians. The Fondamenta Misericordia, located in the Cannaregio sestiere, where we will go to delicious restaurants and lively bars to delight ourselves with a bigoli in a sauce that we will then cook while enjoying street concerts and a great atmosphere.
If you like to cook, I think it’s time to prepare our ingredients to go to the kitchen and make a typical bigoli’, click on the button or if you prefer, keep traveling.
And that is how we leave this beautiful and interesting region of the planet with the desire to return. We will travel every week to another corner of this wonderful world, to discover, enjoy and fly with the imagination, I wait for you every Friday and I ask you if you like me to share the content with your friends and give me a like and a review of your comments because with that you help me a lot to raise the ranking of this podcast, ALTERNATIVE REALITY A UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT SPACE THAT CREATES COMMUNITY if you are interested in knowing how the foundation works Include me in the labor and social inclusion of people with different abilities, go to www.incluyeme.org
We make a difference. And as I always tell you when helping others, we mainly help ourselves. Until next week and thanks for traveling with me
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