Venetian Emoji #11

This one reminds me of the Cyclops from the tale of Odysseus. Can you see the resemblance?

So would the emotion being represented be a gigantic “OUCH!?”

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The Search for Hope

"A lockdown with imposed restrictions. For some this is a paralyzing situation, for others it is being given space to create. In the last thirteen years of his life, Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798) also found himself in restrictive circumstances: the money of the famous womanizer had run out and his lust for adventure was over. In 1785 he was forced to take on a position as librarian with Count Joseph Waldstein in Duchcov (Dux), present-day Czech Republic. One of his creations during that period was the writing of his memoirs: Histoire de ma vie. His life story is today seen as the most authentic source of European social life in the 18th century."

This is a Google translation of the opening paragraph by Rudolf Hunnik as he begins his exploration into the identity of “Mr. D.O.,” the wealthy widowed banker that Casanova visited in Amsterdam. Hunnik writes in Dutch, a language I don’t speak, so I relied on Google to translate it for me. I learned that Hunnik explored a number of avenues to try to discern Mr. D.O.’s identity, writing to scholars and museum staff, searching the internet, and of course re-reading the memoirs and other writings by Casanova. Hunnik’s search didn’t unearth a definitive answer, but he shares very compelling evidence that the true Mr. D.O. was probably Thomas Hope. This blog is not the place to share a full translation; I hope Mr. Hunnik might offer this article to the journal Casanoviana for publication.

Here is the full article from the site Reporters Online. And here is Hunnik’s second paragraph, to provide a bit more context for the beginning of his search:

When I saw the empty streets of Amsterdam on television during corona time, I thought of Casanova. He had also been to Amsterdam. For the umpteenth time I read the part of his memoirs when he visited Holland. What historians are sure of is that Casanova stayed in Holland from mid-October 1758 to January 1759, and again a year later from October 1759 to February 1760. His main preoccupation was business dealings and his infatuation with a girl named Esther. She was fourteen years old and the only child of a widower and banker, Mr. D.O. that Casanova mentioned. Who this high-ranking man really is, there is no conclusive proof of that. It gave me the idea and the impetus to write this article: Who really was Mr. D.O.?

And who was Esther? Hunnik explores this as well.

Copy of visitation visit Casanova La Bien Aimée, November 30, 1759 (photo Jac. Diepenbrock)

Hunnik’s article contains a number of images. I’m sharing this one that shows Casanova as a visitor to a Freemason lodge in 1759.

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Announcing: Riffs & Ecstasies Venice

I’ve announced this book before, by California author Rita Bottoms with paintings by her husband Tom Bottoms. But this announcement is for the new second edition, which has been reorganized and has new content.

What I love most about this book is its eclectic nature. One one page, a painting. On the next, a poem. Then a photo of the spice shop in the Rialto. Tom’s paintings always bring me back to a moment I spent in Venice, and the book is laid out with plenty of white space to let your mind wander back to other moments and thoughts.

As a bonus, Rita has included portraits of herself and Tom by Susan Saas. I won’t include an image of them here as an incentive for you to purchase the book! There’s also a photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti drawing a sketch of Rita and Tom. They were great friends, and Ferlinghetti spent a lot of time at their house.

As Rita was putting this new edition together, she was sharing the plan with me and then gifted me one of Tom’s paintings showing breakfast at Caffe Florian. Here it is, now in my house and in the book! If you’re in or near Santa Cruz, California, you can find the book on the shelves of Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Rita contributed to First Spritz Is Free and gives a shout out to it in Riffs & Ecstasies. She describes it as “A gathering of 35 writers telling how they were ensorcelled by Venice.” I love that!

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Gondola Stuff: Wave Fridge Magnet

It happened AGAIN! I am not making this up! How many times have I told you that I think I’ve found all the gondola things in my house, only to discover one more? This time, I was looking at a bag of fridge magnets that came off our old fridge a few years ago. And there it was–this magnet with a gondola swishing through the air on a Japanese wave. If I remember correctly, my friend Laura gave it to me.

What other gondola stuff is still lurking in my house?? And where is it hiding?

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Street Art / Venetian Stylin’ #4

Someone made good use of the frame that was already on this wall.

Happy New Year to you all! This image makes me feel calmer, much needed right now with so much changing all around us.

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Sharing: Making Limoncello

I now have a crush on Pasquale.

My friend Carol shared this video with me for how to make limoncello. But oh, the video offers so much more than that! If you want to brighten your day, click “play” and enjoy your time with Pasquale. I’d suggest turning on closed captioning for full effect. (You can do this on YouTube by clicking on the little “cc” box at the bottom of the video screen.)

Really, do it. But make sure you have some limoncello around so you can toast along with Pasquale. Zoom zoom!

Here’s Pasquale’s site if you want more from him.

From his website
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Sharing: La Venessiana’s “Postcard from Venice”

I hope you already subscribe to La Venessiana’s Postcard from Venice blog. It’s delightfully full of recipes, images, holidays, history, and so many other wonderful things from Venice. Her latest issue has just come out, and it features some lovely videos of Venice at Christmas time. I’ll share two of them here, but you should visit La Venessiana’s site to see everything she has to offer, including a menu for the Hotel Monaco, video of the Christmas concert, and a virtual walk around the city at holiday time. (I can’t wait to make a cup of hot chocolate and watch this one at leisure!)

Check out this video that shows a life sized creche built on the water at the island of Burano. I haven’t seen anything quite like it and wish I could see it in person!

And here you can see the magnificent, luminous Christmas tree in the Piazza San Marco in all its golden glory. I love how twinkly it is.

Image from

Buon natale, wherever you are!

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Dear Venice, Wish You Were Here #17

“Come out in our gondola this evening!”

Yes yes yes yes yes please! How I wish I were there with K. R. Elliott to take up this offer. Alas, I am decades too late. This card is marked “Aug. 20” though I can’t make out the year. Can one of my stamp aficionados identify the stamp and the year or decade to give us a clue? Is it 1920? The gondolier in his crisp whites and the felze atop the gondola indicate that it’s before the 1950s.

I haven’t seen many postcards from this perspective–from the Giardino Reale looking towards the Dogana and Salute church. Maybe that’s because nowadays this area is clogged with vaporetto stops and ticky tacky tschotscke stands, not nearly as picturesque and uncluttered as it is here.

“‘Tis as lovely here as possible and cooler than I’ve even known Italy to be,” writes K. R. Sounds like this person has traveled in Italy quite a lot in order to compare the trips’ temperatures.

I find the address fascinating. It’s simply addressed to Miss Eleanor Bragdon in Pocasset, Massachusetts, U.S.A. with no other street address or number given. In 2019, the population is listed as 2,893, so even today it is a tiny village, listed as part of the town of Bourne. I wonder if Eleanor has any relatives still living there?

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Venetian Emoji #10

This Venetian emoji comes from Vince Gratzer, a fellow Venetophile who was inspired to check out the mailboxes of Venice and see what they have to teach us. He calls this “The Eyes Have It.”

What emotion or expression is this emoji representing? Please share your thoughts!

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A Study

Spotted these guys lounging in the tiny calle adjacent to an antique store, just off Campo San Barnaba.

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