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We are so glad to invite you to the following free concerts organized by our One stage friends! Don't loose this opportunity :)
Friday October 14th: 5 PM Santa Maria della Pietà, Venice
Saturday October 15th: 9 PM Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Venice
 
Venerdi 14 ottobre: concerto pomeridiano ore 17:00 presso Santa Maria della Pieta’ – Sestiere Castello, 3701 – Venezia
Sabato 15 ottobre: concerto serale ore 21:00 presso Santa Maria dei Miracoli – Cannaregio
 
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16.09.20 www.freewalkinvenice.org LUCIA

 

 

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Regata Storica 2016

Sunday 4th September 2016 at 4 PM

On Sunday September 4th we are running only the FREE WALK IN VENICE -original free tour- at 10 AM. Why?

---> Because of the Regata Storica! I is the main event in the annual "Voga alla Veneta" rowing calendar. This unique sport has been practised in the Venetian lagoon for thousands of years and today it is particularly well-known for the spectacular historical water pageant that precedes the race. Scores of typically 16th century-style boats with gondoliers in period costume carry the Doge, the Doge's wife and all the highest ranking Venetian officials up the Grand Canal in a brightly coloured parade. An unforgettable sight and a true reconstruction of the glorious past of one of most the powerful and influential Maritime Republics in the Mediterranean.

Today there are four races divided in terms of age and type of craft. The best known and most exciting of these is the "Campioni su Gondolini" race, where a series of small, sporting gondolas fly down the Grand Canal to the finishing line at the famous "machina", the spectacular floating stage located in front of the Ca' Foscari palace.


For more info: Regata storica Venezia website

An interesting article by Salvatore Settis. The chairman of the Louvre Museum’s scientific advisory council and the author of the forthcoming book “If Venice Dies.”

PISA, Italy — A deadly plague haunts Venice, and it’s not the cholera to which Thomas Mann’s character Gustav von Aschenbach succumbed in the Nobel laureate’s 1912 novella “Death in Venice.” A rapacious tourist monoculture threatens Venice’s existence, decimating the historic city and turning the Queen of the Adriatic into a Disneyfied shopping mall.

Millions of tourists pour into Venice’s streets and canals each year, profoundly altering the population and the economy, as many native citizens are banished from the island city and those who remain have no choice but to serve in hotels, restaurants and shops selling glass souvenirs and carnival masks.

Tourism is tearing apart Venice’s social fabric, cohesion and civic culture, growing ever more predatory. The number of visitors to the city may rise even further now that international travelers are avoiding destinations like Turkey and Tunisia because of fears of terrorism and unrest. This means that the 2,400 hotels and other overnight accommodations the city now has no longer satisfy the travel industry’s appetites. The total number of guest quarters in Venice’s historic center could reach 50,000 and take it over entirely.

Just along the Grand Canal, Venice’s main waterway, the last 15 years have seen the closure of state institutions, judicial offices, banks, the German Consulate, medical practices and stores to make way for 16 new hotels.

Alarm at this state of affairs led to last month’s decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to place Venice on its World Heritage in Danger list unless substantial progress to halt the degradation of the city and its ecosystem is made by next February. Unesco has so far stripped only one city of its status as a heritage site from the more than 1,000 on the list: Dresden, after German authorities ignored Unesco’s 2009 recommendations against building a bridge over the River Elbe that marred the Baroque urban ensemble. Will Venice be next to attain this ignominious status?

In its July report, Unesco’s committee on heritage sites expressed “extreme concern” about “the combination of ongoing transformations and proposed projects threatening irreversible changes to the overall relationship between the City and its Lagoon,” which would, in its thinking, erode the integrity of Venice.

Unesco’s ultimatum stems from several longstanding problems. First, the increasing imbalance between the number of the city’s inhabitants (which plummeted from 174,808 in 1951 to 56,311 in 2014, the most recent year for which numbers are available) and the tourists. Proposed large-scale development, including new deepwater navigation channels and a subway running under the lagoon, would hasten erosion and strain the fragile ecological-urban system that has grown up around Venice.

For now, gigantic cruise liners regularly parade in front of Piazza San Marco, the city’s main public square, mocking the achievements of the last 1,500 years. To mention but one, the M.S.C. Divina is 222 feet high, twice as tall as the Doge’s Palace, a landmark of the city that was built in the 14th century. At times, a dozen liners have entered the lagoon in a single day.

The inept response of the Italian authorities to the very real problems facing Venice gives little hope that this situation will change anytime soon. After the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia in January 2012 off the coast of Tuscany left 32 people dead, the Italian government ruled that megaships must stay at least two miles from shore to prevent similar occurrences in the future. But the Italian government, predictably, failed to stand up to the big money promised by the tourist companies: A loophole to that law was created just for Venice. A cruise liner running ashore in the Piazza San Marco would wreck centuries of irreplaceable history.

Furthermore, after a corruption scandal over a multibillion-dollar lagoon barrier project forced Mayor Giorgio Orsoni to resign in June 2014, he was replaced a year later by Luigi Brugnaro, a booster of Venice’s tourism. Mr. Brugnaro not only fully welcomes the gargantuan ships but has even proposed the sale of millions of dollars of art from the city’s museums to help manage Venice’s ballooning debt.

The destruction of Venice is not in Italy’s best interest, yet the authorities remain paralyzed. Local authorities — the city and the region — are at odds with the government in Rome. Regardless, they have failed to diversify the city’s economy, meaning that any changes would put the few remaining Venetians out of work. To renew Venice’s economic life, new policies are strongly needed, aimed at encouraging young people to stay in the historic city, encouraging manufacturing and generating opportunities for creative jobs — from research to universities and the art world — while reutilizing vacant buildings.

No effective provision on Venice’s behalf has been enforced so far by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, although protection of environment and cultural heritage is among the fundamental principles of the Italian Constitution. Nor are authorities developing any project whatsoever aimed not just at preserving the monuments of Venice, but at ensuring its citizens a future worth living.

If Italy is to spare Venice from further violation by the new plague devouring its beauty and collective memory, it must first review its overall priorities and, abiding by its own Constitution, place cultural heritage, education and research before petty business.

 NY Times August 29th 2016

 

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Important advice for tourists



Venice is a city utterly over-run by tourists. But Venice is also home to thousands of people going about their everyday business (and they're not all dependent on tourists for their livelihoods). So visitors should bear in mind that that is what they are - visitors - and make an effort to behave appropriately.

Plaintive little pleas from the council are plastered around the tourist sights urging tourists to behave with decorum. There is even a new awareness-raising 'decorum week' with a parade of boats down the Grand Canal. And the threat of fines for picnickers and bare-chested men. I won't advise you not to drop litter; that goes without saying. But some local 'rules' of behaviour are less obvious so I've done my best to come up with some advice that will help you to give tourists a good name.

Walk on the right

This is the norm in Italy, and in several other countries too. Visitors from the UK, where we favour freestyle walking, can take a long time to tumble to this. In Venice, where the narrow lanes are thoroughfares used by all, tourists and busy locals, this is absolutely vital. You should keep to the right, always allowing room for others to pass (stick to single file when necessary). Keep to a brisk pace on busy paths. If you want to stop to look in a shop window or consult your map, pull in, removing yourself from the stream of traffic just as you would if you were driving. Spare a few moments to imagine what it must be like for those who have to take these tourist routes every day to get to their office or run urgent errands.

Don't block bridges and don't picnic

On a similar note, don't obstruct bridges. If you must stop on a narrow bridge to admire the view (and in picturesque areas, it's hard not to), keep out of the way and don't cause a traffic jam. Do not sit on bridges to eat your lunch unless you want to infuriate hundreds of passers-by. Public picnicking, incidentally, is frowned on in general and in some areas it's banned. From time to time the police threaten to fine people attempting to eat in public places around St. Mark's Square; I've seen picnickers being moved on. Try to find an out-of-the-way spot where you can sit decorously on a bench.

Boat etiquette

And next, be considerate on boats. Venice's ferries get very crowded. Boatmen will often urge passengers to move forwards ('avanti!') and to find space inside the boat. Tourists who hang around near the gangplanks will prevent other passengers from getting on and off, and will win themselves no friends. Don't be too worried about getting through the crowds when you reach your stop. Once your ferry has moved off from the preceding stop, head for the exit, uttering a firm 'permesso' when you need to pass someone. Take off your rucksack when you're on a boat.

Dress decently

This is necessary if you want to enter churches or monuments. Women and men should basically be covered from the collar-bone to the knee, or as near as possible. Shorts and bare shoulders will give offence and may result in you being barred from religious sites, though a scarf or sarong can save the day. I've seen tourists with sleeveless tops turned away after queuing at St. Mark's.

Don't dress for the seaside. If you're visiting the beaches at the Lido, by all means (un)dress appropriately. But away from the sea, Italian men do not go bare-chested, and both men and women tend to cover themselves up more than the British or Americans. (Women often dress provocatively but not in a whole-expanse-of-skin way like Anglo-Saxons). Some Italian towns are so offended by scantily-clad tourists that they have introduced by-laws banning bikinis and bare chests on the streets. Venice joined them in 2007: men - if you go bare-chested you will offend other people and you could get hit by a big fine.

Be polite

It’s only good manners to learn a few phrases in Italian - at the very least, you should master 'please', 'thank you' and 'do you speak English?'. 

 

Thank you : Italy Heaven

 

 

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Un altro giro di spritz in campo Santa Margherita, mentre qui davanti finisce una storia lunga cent’anni. «Guardate con i vostri occhi, se non ci credete. Non viene più nessuno. Trentacinque clienti in dieci ore di lavoro. 

Tutto è cambiato intorno a noi. Ha chiuso la libreria, si è arreso anche il fornaio. Vorresti tenere duro, ma a un certo punto capisci che se vuoi sopravvivere devi cambiare anche tu. O ti accoppi o cambi». E allora dai, slega il nodo «soraman», arrotola la tela verde del tendone per l’ultima volta. Tira giù i tre pali che erano l’impalcatura del banco. L’ultimo negozio di frutta e verdura di Venezia fatto con le regole antiche, più forte tira il vento più il nodo si stringe, chiude.  

 
 
 

Dove Yoko Ono veniva a comprare una banana e Susanna Agnelli era di casa, adesso arriva trafelata la signora Claudia Zanchi con un abbraccio da recapitare: «Eravate adorabili, voglio dirvelo. Portavate la spesa a casa della signora Renata che non può camminare. Mancherete a tutti, Mirco e Patrizia. Questa vostra decisione è l’ennesima pessima notizia per Venezia». Mirco e Patrizia Puziol sgomberano la cassa di fagiolini dell’estuario, i pomodori di Cavallino-Treporti, le insalate che non vuole più nessuno: «Perché al supermercato qui dietro te le vendono nelle buste già pronte, anche se poi c’è scritto che dovresti lavarle lo stesso». Cassetta dopo cassetta. Generazione dopo generazione. È un mondo al passo d’addio.  

«Sveglia alle 4. Al mercato alle 4,40. Per montare la tenda ci vogliono 45 minuti, un’ora per fare una bella mostra e mettere i prezzi. Abbiamo lavorato mattina e pomeriggio da quando siamo nati, prima c’era mio padre, prima ancora mio nonno. Io e mia sorella ci siamo resi conto però che, all’eta di 54 e 55 anni, non saremmo mai arrivati alla pensione. Adesso ci concediamo qualche giorno di riposo. Magari andiamo a fare i fanghi, oppure un viaggio. Non ne abbiamo mai fatti. Poi ci inventeremo una vita nuova».  

In  campo Santa Margherita restano due banchi. Non è colpa del bengalese Rakin Bhuiyan se  il suo, che vende maschere di carnevale, funziona anche ad agosto: «Sono fabbricate in Cina. Quelle piccole le pago 1 e 50 e le rivendo a 4 euro. Sono qui da undici anni, in regola e felice. Il Bangladesh è un posto pieno di problemi. Questa invece è Venezia». I motoscafi si infilano in coda sotto il ponte dell’Accademia. I fidanzati mettono i piedi a bagno nella laguna sporca. Di notte piazza San Marco è sorvolata da giochi luminosi lanciati in aria con gli elastici, mentre i violini si sfidano dai dehors dei bar contrapposti. 25 milioni di turisti nel 2015, stanno avvicinandosi quest’anno alla soglia dei 30 milioni. Una media di 80 mila visitatori al giorno. Però i veneziani stanno scomparendo. C’è un posto dove si può verificare la trasformazione. È la farmacia di Campo San Bartolomio gestita da Andrea Morelli. In vetrina c’è il «conta persone», come lo chiamano. Conta i residenti aggiornati in tempo reale dal Comune: oggi 55.065. Erano 65 mila nel 2011, 76 mila nel 1991, 174 mila nel 1951. Venezia si spopola, pur non essendo mai stata così affollata. Chiudono i negozi tradizionali a scapito delle grandi catene. «È un po’ il destino del mondo - dice il farmacista Morelli - non ci sono più fabbri, artigiani, bottegai. Ma ovunque gli stessi negozi e odori seriali. Vivere qui ormai costa una fortuna. Ma non possiamo parlare male dei turisti. Per l’Italia sono l’equivalente del petrolio. Dobbiamo trattarli meglio, smettere di avere una mentalità da rapina. E in cambio, dobbiamo chiedere maggior rispetto per la città.  

C’è così tanta gente per le calli, che gli scippatori entrano in azione come sui pullman nell’ora di punta. Servono più controlli agli ingressi. Ci vuole più cura da parte di tutti». I ragazzi veneziani hanno organizzato una manifestazione dal titolo «Ocio ae gambe, che go el careo!». Andare a Rialto a fare la spesa con i carrelli, questa è l’idea: provare a vivere una vita normale.  

Ma anche alle sette di sera è difficile attraversare il ponte di Rialto. Senti parlare in tutte le lingue del mondo. Venezia mette ancora in scena la sua bellezza unica. Scendi dal ponte e giri a destra verso Dorsoduro, cammini fra i nuovi locali della movida per arrivare in campo Santa Margherita. Cala l’ultimo tramonto sulle tende verdi del «soraman». «Ti mor, se stai fermo», ripete a tutti il verduriere Mirco Puziol. Un ragazzo dice: «Dai, non abbiamo fatto neanche una bevuta insieme». «Altroché una bevuta, un funerale dovevamo fare» ride lui. Lo vedi con la sorella Patrizia ritirare la roba invenduta dentro al magazzino, via le cime, il tendone, la foto in bianconero del padre Giuliano e della madre Paola mentre tagliano fondi di carciofi. È stato bello, è ora di andare.  

 

 

Niccolò Zanzan 

La Stampa, 24/08/2016 

 

 GRAZIE MIRCO E PATRIZIA ! Free Walk in Venice Team

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  Palazzo Fortuny is a Gothic palazzo in the San Marco district of Venice. It's a fifteenth-century building, once the property of the Pesaro family, and also known as Palazzo Pesaro degli Orfei. It's an imposing building and largely unrestored, its shabbiness giving it a real sense of history. At the beginning of the twentieth century it belonged to Spanish fashion designer Mariano Fortuny, also a photographer, artst and the inventor of a successful method for printing luxurious fabrics.

Although it comes under the umbrella of the Venice Civic Museums, Palazzo Fortuny does not currently have permanent displays, and is open only when a special exhibition is taking place. The two piano nobile floors, with lofty reception rooms, Gothic windows and rooftop views are lovely spaces, decorated with a clutter of Fortuny fabrics, paintings and objets d'art as well as temporary exhibits. You can see the environment in which Fortuny worked as well as admiring the evocative state of the building itself, with its faded fragments of fresco, carved beams, external staircase, loggia and small courtyard.

Mariano Fortuny equipped the palace to be an atelier; employing the large rooms as an exhibition space as well as a workplace, for his varied interests: photography and painting as well as fabrics and fashion. In 1956, a few years after the designer's death, his widow donated the building to the city of Venice.

There is still a Fortuny factory and showroom on the Giudecca where you can buy incredibly expensive fabrics printed with Fortuny's special techniques.

Palazzo Fortuny is near the Sant' Angelo vaporetto stop. It's rather hard to find, being hidden between the main Rialto - Accademia thoroughfare and the Grand Canal. The front entrance is in Campo San Beneto , and can be reached by taking a right turn (look out for the small sign) between Campo Manin and Campo Sant'Angelo. Opening times and admission charges depend on the current exhibition; check for discounts (Venice card holders, over-65s, students etc.) and note that the last admission is usually an hour before closing time.

 

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The Venetian diarist, Marin Sanudo (1466-1536), summed up one of the paradoxes of Venice when he wrote: "Venexia è in aqua et non ha aqua" (Venice is in water and it doesn't have water). 

Fondaco dei Turchi (Natural History Museum), 11th century. One of the oldest surviving well-heads in Venice.
Natural History Museum
 
Given the location of the city, the sinking of wells was out of the question.
Well-head (vera da pozzo), Ca' d'Oro, Venice
Ca' d' Oro
 
And so the Venetians had to solve the problem of providing fresh water for its large population (in the 14th century Venice was the fourth largest city in Europe) by collecting rainwater. 
Early 15th century well-head (vera da pozzo), Corte Gregolina, Venice. A rare example of a basket-weave design.
Corte Gregolina
The city's numerous campi and cortili were turned into extremely efficient water-storage facilities. The ground surrounding the well-head (vera da pozzo) sloped away so that the rainwater would flow though small stone drains (gatoli or pivelle) into large underground cisterns (up to 5 metres deep). There the water was sifted through sand to remove any impurities.
16th century bronze well-head (vera da pozzo), Palazzo Ducale, Venice
Palazzo Ducale
 
The well-heads in the campi were locked and the keys held by the local parish priests; it was the priest who decided when the well should be opened. This all changed in the 1880s with the advent of piped water from the mainland. The wells soon became surplus to requirement and thousands of well-heads disappeared. 
 
Vera da Pozzo, Corte S. Andrea, Venice
Corte S. Andrea
Many were sold off to foreigners, some were broken up, and some found other uses, often as rather elaborate plant pots. 
Well-head (vera da pozzo) Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Venice
Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo
Taking many forms (round, square, hexagonal, octagonal, cylindrical), most well-heads, which date from the 9th to the 19th century, were carved out of Istrian stone, a few out of Verona marble and at least two were cast in bronze. Some are elaborately carved, others less so.  
 
Well-head (vera da pozzo), Campo de l'Abbazia, Venice
Campo de l'Abbazia
According to a census of 1858, there were 6046 private wells, 180 public wells and 556 disused wells in the city. Assuming that each well had a well-head, that cones to a grand total of 6,782. I wonder how many there are today. Alberto Rizzi in his fascinating and fact-filled volume, The Well-Heads of Venice, comes up with a figure of 2,500. 
Well-head (vera da pozzo), Hotel Stern, Venice
Hotel Stern
What do you think about this well-head  in the garden of the Hotel Stern? It is over a thousand years old.
 
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