Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Italy - The Fogs of Venice

Dedicated to J Ruskin

It has been yet another day of exquisite ornaments, regal palaces, swift gondolas, little bridges, atmospheric alleys, expensive food carefully avoided and outstanding artworks visually overloaded.

I have only a few minutes to scribble this little note, as I have to dash across the Campo (they have only one Piazza here) to a Renaissance church hosting a Vivaldi concert tonight. He's bigger than Megan Gale here, and that's saying something. He even has a dedicated merchandise shop - more Vivaldi paraphenalia than I know what to do with. They support their local prodigies here... Particularly Tintoretto, who I think is represented in galleries the same way as Al-Assad in Syria. The authorities won't take you seriously unless you can point to at least two of whis works in your collection.

The Ducal Palace (Doge's palace) was sensational, and I didn't realise it was possible to walk through the Bridge of Sighs. I thought it was like Vasari's Corridor in Florence that way - special permission must be sought in advance. HUGE rooms of gilt and ceiling paintings, inlcuding a 22m by 7m oil on canvas, contrasted superbly with the bare and obliante' like cells in the prison across the canal.

Sadly, I have commited a sin of Italian travellers, and fear that I cannot live with this secret. So let us speak of it now and seal our lips of it forever. I ate at Burger King.
I know you'll all damn me to whatever takes your fancy for this (I've seen a lot of H. Bosch today if you'd like some inspiration), but it was cheaper and better value than the measly ataglio scraps of dubious origin and possible antiquity. Plus the restauarnt was pumping and it is freezing outside.

Must be off. Forgive me!


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