Gondola Stuff: Wooden Puzzle

I picked up this puzzle at a tobacco shop in Venice and had some fun putting it together.

First the body of the gondola, with the ferro on one side and the popa di ferro on the other.

That’s quite a jaunty gondolier! He’s even wearing the requisite striped shirt and straw hat. His oar looks more like a pole, but lest there be any confusion, gondoliers don’t push the boat with a pole–they row with an oar.

The finished gondola, gliding on the glossy black lagoon.

You can even buy this gondola unpainted. But what color would you paint it but black? It’s been black for hundreds of years, ever since the Senate decreed it must be so in the Sumptuary Laws.

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Join me for an Evening at Gabriella Cafe!

Happy Spring! I’d like to invite you to come join me for an evening of talk and thought. I’ll be offering a “salon” event at Gabriella Cafe in Santa Cruz, on Thursday, April 6 from 6:00 to 9:00.

A literary salon like this is an evening for discussing ideas–in this case, I’ll be talking about women’s changing roles in the Renaissance and early modern period. Titled “Redefining Beauty,” I’ll review the role of women salonnières in Venice–from when this was a man’s role to the shift towards women’s ownership of this space. From early proto-feminists like Modesta Pozzo, Lucrezia Marinella, and Archangela Tarabotti to later leaders including Isabella Albrizzi, Marina Querini Benzon, and Caterina Dolfin Tron, Venice saw women challenge the societal norms and center women’s voices. Join me for a reading from my book A Beautiful Woman in Venice as well as discussion of how these women redefined beauty.

Gabriella Cafe on Cedar Street in Santa Cruz has long been one of my favorite restaurants, so I’m very excited to be offered a chance to hold this event there. The food and wine are superb, so make your reservation to be sure to get a spot. The evening will also feature a few paintings by my friend Tom Bottoms whom we lost recently but who was particularly fond of Venice. The event runs all evening–stay as long or as little as you like, but we hope to see you!

Rita and Tom Bottoms when they gifted me one of Tom’s paintings
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Murano or Bust!


Can I say Murano titties or will I offend someone? It just seemed like the right word for the photo (though my auto-correct wanted to write “kitties”).

Is this what glassmakers do with the odd ends of their glass rods?

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Street Art / Venetian Stylin’ #13

In Castello, at the far end of Via Garibaldi, on the way to the church of Sant’Anna. It looks like Banksy to me, but I was told it’s not.

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Dear Venice: Wish You Were Here #23

March 10th. Thought you might like to see the style of palace we are living in at the present. Two ticks over one of the upper rooms (indecipherable) where we are situated and as you see we overlook the Grand Canal. We arrived about seven thirty last night. While dressing for dinner we were serenaded. Such a (something). We spent the morning in a gondola. She was perfectly happy & we enjoyed it. Hope you are a little better. Love to all. M.W.L.

You can see I had trouble with a few words here, but I think I got most of it correct. I want to be these people. This style of palace! Overlooking the Grand Canal! Dressing for dinner! Spending the morning in a gondola! Being serenaded! Such a something!! Give me a room two ticks over from theirs and I’ll be quite happy.

The postcard identifies the site as Grand Canal e Grand Hotel. I’ll let my readers tell us which palazzo this is. I know you’ll have fun identifying it!

Thanks to hobbylark.com, I learned that this kind of “undivided back” postcard is one of the oldest types, before this space was divided in two, for the address and for the message. So senders had to squish their message into the white space of the image side. Great Britain was the first to divide the back side in 1902, so this postcard is indeed an old one! Sent March 25, 1905, if I’m reading that correctly, to 107 Simpson Street, Montreal, Canada. (Thank goodness for internet searches! I couldn’t read the address, but when I typed in something close, Google did the rest and found it for me.)

Based on the Google map, it looks like the original house is long gone, replaced by condos and office space (but this was just a quick search). Please write and let me know if you have other information!

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To Dream of Living in Venice

As you know I sometimes while away some minutes watching video walkthroughs of apartments in Venice. Today I offer not a video but some photos for an apartment with the most amazing terrace.

Of course, the interior ain’t too shabby either! The color scheme in the living room is unique. What do you think of all those couch cushion colors?

There are so many other lovely details, too. Those inlaid wood floors! The wrought iron over the glass on the door windows. The stained glass by the breakfast nook. The sunny bedroom. The bookshelves in the library. The views of the canal. (Does the gondolier permanently hang out there?)

Okay, I’ll take it! Umm, can anyone give me the money for it? Hihi! Enjoy a few minutes of scrolling through the photos.

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In the News: Casanova Nurse

I mentioned recently that I have set up a daily Google search for the word “Casanova,” and it get some pretty interesting suggested readings. I’ve repeatedly seen journalists like Amanda Casanova and Stephanie Casanova who write many articles for their respective papers.

But then I kept seeing the name Casanova Nurse.

What image comes to mind when you hear this name? I pictured maybe a sexy nurse Halloween costume, something like this.

Costume image at the website Delightfully Vixen

So I was surprised to click on a link and find that Casanova Nurse is the Chief Meteorologist for ABC 27 news. Here he is in action with recent news about the winds buffeting the Chinese “weather balloon” floating over the US for the past few days. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Nurse, just sharing one more of the ways the name Casanova shows up in the modern world.

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Street Art / Venetian Stylin’ #12

Yet another series of street art images. I posted one previously, then came across more on my 2022 trip. There was another that was very badly damaged. Have you seen others? Please share photos and I’ll post them.

Can you name or explain the allusions in each piece? Who is the person depicted? Or what artwork is being alluded to?

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In the News: Casanova the Navy Sheriff

Here’s the newest headline in my series of the name “Casanova” showing up in a Google search: “Ventura County gets new ‘Navy Sheriff’”

Usually, Casanova is a last name, but here it’s a first name. Lt. Casanova Love has taken on the position as Navy Sheriff. His smile in his photo makes him look like someone who has embraced his name. I wonder if he’s ever read Casanova’a memoirs? You can read more about him here.

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View Through (8)

Last one in this series! I bet you didn’t think I’d have so many views through. I was on a bit of a jag. And there are actually a few more I didn’t post!

Layered through
My foot through
The garden through
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