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Venice reminds me of an old, old lady, still beautiful despite the obvious signs of ageing, and slightly resentful of the attention her beauty still attracts
She is also a bit down on her uppers and not adverse to ripping people off, if she can get away with it.
Even in March, and a chilly March at that, there were crowds in the main tourist areas; what it must be like in the summer, I dread to think.
However you donʼt have to go far off the beaten track to find a real city going quietly about its business.
Actually not that quietly. For a city with no roads it is surprisingly noisy.
Mostly the sound of tens of thousands of people all talking volubly and excitedly at the same time
The adjoining warehouses are the Saloni del Sale; vast premises that used to be used to store salt.
In 2009 part of these buildings were converted to form a new centre for contemporary art, the Punta della Dogana, after fourteen months of renovation.
On the tip of the point is (or was) a statue of The Boy with the Frog by Charles Ray.
He looked like he could do with something a bit warmer than the Perspex box he was enclosed in at the time of my visit.
External Links and References
Punta della Dogana
Interesting article on the conversion of the Saloni del Sale. http://www.arcspace.com/features/tadao-ando/punta-della-dogana/
In 1516 the Council of Ten decreed that all Jews should be confined at night to an islet in the Cannaregio region
that had originally been home to a foundry (or geto in Venetian).
Reprehensible as it seems today, compared to the waves of anti-Semitism that were engulfing many European cities at the time, this was a very tolerant attitude.
Over the centuries the Jewish population grew to over 5,000 and the ghetto grew upwards and outwards to cover the adjoining areas.
It was not until 1866 that it was abolished, and Jews were allowed to live were they liked.
As a rail fan I was more or less reconciled to the idea of a holiday without trains,
or at least nothing more than a glimpse of one crossing the causeway.
Then I discovered that Venice has recently acquired a People Mover (pronounced "Pea-polly Move-err" in Italian).
This two-car cable-hauled railway connects the parking island of Tronchetto with the Cruise Terminal and the Piazzale Roma Bus Station for a fare of €1.
Not hugely exciting, unless you are desperately in need of a rail fix.
As far as I am aware, there are only two bridges in Venice or the lagoon that have no parapets:
one is the Devilʼs Bridge on Torcello,
the other the Ponte Chiodo which spans the Rio di San Felice in Cannaregio.
Although many early Venetian stone bridges were originally built this way, all of them have had parapets added, except for these two.
In the case of the Ponte Chiodo that is probably because it only leads to the door of a single house, number 3749, now a well-known guest house.