Crisp and sunny....and empty! Some tourists - inevitably - around Saint Mark's ....but the quiet side canals of Dorsoduro and Canareggio were largely deserted, apart from locals en route to the market or else snatching a quick coffee and a minute or two of autumn sunshine. Venice was so quiet, in fact, that we actually went inside the Basilica, for the first time - always previously having been put off by the queues outside, and, seeing nobody waiting in line as we crossed the Piazza on Monday afternoon, we seized our chance and nipped inside. To a mess of drugget strips and guard ropes and signposts, the gloomy interior illuminated by pools of light wherever a dickensian prelate sat hunched over a cash desk, ready to sell access to some other part of the inner sanctum. We ventured inside the Treasury - three euros each - to find a rather tatty display of saintly body-parts encased in gimcrack and generally dented silver-gilt containers; all against a background of the low murmer of several hundred people all simultaneously observing the regulation 'silenzio'. We didn't stay long. Gennaro assures me that the place is magical by candlelight, for midnight mass on Christmas Eve. I'll take his word for it.
Conversely, San Sebastiano, on Monday morning, and the dalmatian Scuola di San Giorgio, on Tuesday were quite spectacular. In the former, we'd gone specifically to look at the recently restored Veronese ceiling panels (in practice, I thought they'd been overdone, and the effect is clumsy) but the church as a whole is a gem...as is San Giorgio, with its painted ceiling, and Carpaccio's panels of Saint George and Saint Jerome. We had both places to ourselves, and luxuriated accordingly. As was the case also in San Rosario, where the reflection of the sun on the waters of the Giudecca Canal outside shimmered over the foreshortened images in Tiepolo's incredible ceiling.
Art, and ozone, and walking (and walking!) and food and drink....and, before our train had even reached Bologna on the return journey, yesterday, I was out for the count!
Scaloppine alla Milanese (with prosciutto and cheese inside); braised fennel
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