Glass Walls Do Not a Prison Make

Just sharing some interesting news about Venice’s latest efforts to combat the acqua alta. I saw them working around the Basilica last June but never asked what was going on. Well, this is the result! And it seems to be getting results.

Here are a few photos I took in June 2022, as the pavement was being torn up. Read the article to hear more about the process and how this will protect the Basilica in the future.

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In the News: Ima Casanova

This is someone’s name. No, I didn’t make it up, though it sounds like something a adolescent boy might come up with. Here’s the headline and the link to the short article about gold valuations. The real news is the name. What were Ima’s parents thinking?

Actually, it’s not quite as funny as it sounds. “Ima” is short for “Imaru.” I won’t post her photo out of respecting her privacy, though you can find it easily by googling her name.

“Gold stocks are trading at historically low valuations: VanEck’s Ima Casanova”

I get updates from Google for the word “Casanova,” and you’d be amazed at the things that come up. There are multiple journalists with the last name Casanova, and a politician in Southern California, a boxer, an incarcerated rapper, and a wealthy family who are always posting where they’ve had their latest bagel or suntan. I’ll share some of the more interesting ones with you in this new series.

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View Through (7)

Through glass to brick and glass.

All these views through are from the Arsenale.

Through and through to through.
Light view through
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Dear Venice: Wish You Were Here #22

Not a very old postcard: April 14, 1983. But the view is unusual because it’s so far back from the Bridge of Sighs and the Canonica. As usual, a bunch of gondolas are jammed up jockeying for position. I started getting to know gondoliers in 1996 and knew a few of the guys who worked this area. I wonder if any of them are in this photo?

Mom and Dad write:

“I mailed cards a few days ago & found I didn’t have enough stamps. Lack of communication. You may never get the first so tho’t I’d start over. Have been to surrounding cities and Tues. we went to Venice. Very unique. We may go back next week. My cold is still with me & I hope each day it will leave. Have bought a few items. Hope it won’t run like pink when I get home. Have had only 2 sunny days. Sort of raw. It is all great to see but no place like USA. Hope all is well with you. Think of you weekend of 15th. Love, Mom & Dad

Okay, I might have gotten some of that wrong. “Run like pink?” Help me out here, dear readers! And the final line, did I get that right?

And I must ask: Why do some people write such banal things on postcards? Why use such precious space to admit that you ran out of stamps? Why not instead wax poetic about your gondola ride, or the moonlight on the water, or the crooner at your canalside restaurant, or your spaghetti alle vongole or your first bellini?

Zillow provides this photo of the house with the weird address: 4442 E. Air Libre, Phoenix, Arizona, 85032 USA
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The Smithsonian Does Casanova

Thanks to Dayna for letting me know about the upcoming “Casanova’s Venice” program being offered by the Smithsonian Associates. This hour and a quarter lecture will be presented via Zoom on Wednesday, January 11, at 12:00 EST. (That’s 9:00 am for me in California and, sadly, when I’m teaching!)

Here’s what the website says about the program:

“The Settecento Venice of Casanova was very different from the Venice of the Renaissance. No longer a center of international trade and an empire whose holdings stretched across the Mediterranean, by the 18th century the city’s international status had plummeted in the face of a changing political landscape in Europe and beyond, as Venice faced a period of decline and decadence. At the same time, however, Venetians took part in a spectacular cultural flowering.

Who better to represent this rich and complicated period than Casanova? Historian Monica Chojnacka explores this tumultuous time and the ways in which Venetians responded socially, politically, and artistically to the decline of the Renaissance and the birth of a new era, and examines the way Casanova reflected this period of both decadence and cultural dynamism.”

I hope many of you will be able to attend and tell me all about it! I’m also really curious to know if the speaker used my book Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Venice during her research. It sounds like her focus is the 18th century in general, while my book is about the specific places Casanova lived and visited, but still, I help to bring the C’s real city to life.

Image taken from the Smithsonian Associates website. The Bucintoro Returning to the Molo on Ascension Day by Canaletto, 1732.

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View Through (6)

Green room as seen through green room.
Through metal through brick through netting.
Through the star to the dock.
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Sneaking into a Palazzo

A conference room at Ca’ Foscari. Classes aren’t held here now because the weight of all those students might make the building collapse. Or so I was told. Waves from motorboats have damaged the underwater foundation of the building, a more common problem that most of us ever hear about.
The view from the balcony of Ca’ Foscari, at the turn in the Grand Canal.
A conference room with chairs that make me think the room is used for the inquisition.
The balcony has this lovely detail–the stone is carved straight through!

I’ve long wondered what it was like inside Ca’ Foscari, the palazzo that houses Venice’s main university. Last summer a friend took me on a brief, partial tour to see some of the rooms. Here’s a peek!

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View Through (5)

Sometimes the view through is accompanied by an artist’s statement.
Brick wall through brick wall
Disco ball through glass window. (Okay, I fudged this one a little, but I am biased towards disco balls.)
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Coach Me, Casanova!

Well, don’t coach ME, Casanova! It’s actually the name of a new novel by New Yorker Roger Feuerman. Here’s the description:

“Can a dating zero become a romantic hero? All I had to do was fall into a different century. “Okay, my name is Jason Tryon, I’m a 21st century college freshman. I’m mastering in robotics, but when it comes to ladies, I’m a master of disaster.So, after another crushing rejection, (who’s counting) I needed a break and went to Venice to try to keep my love from sinking. Instead, I fell off a gondola and was really sinking until I was pulled to the surface by a man in a carnival mask…Casanova! And, unbelievably, he also seemed to have pulled me into the 18th century. Hey, I’m no dummy, I’m now in the city of sexy signorinas. And maybe, just maybe, this legend can transform me from a lovable loser into a babe magnet. So, please, Coach me Casanova.”

Roger reached out to me during his writing process to talk about Casanova’s life in Venice, so I got to see this book as Roger developed it. It’s a fun, flirty, romp in an imagined universe where Casanova coaches a modern-day protégé. Roger wrote a wildly creative chapter for First Spritz Is Free where he sat down for coffee at Caffé Florian with Attila the Hun. Roger has a way with dialogue, and his puns and wordplay often make me smile. Here’s Roger’s author page where you can find more information.

Here’s Roger on a recent trip to Venice where he got to walk the calli that his protagonist walked!

Author Gregory Dowling also helped Roger out with some details about 18th century life. They’ve met up a few times when Roger could be in Venice. Here they are sharing a spritz in Campo Santa Margherita. Gregory wrote one of the reviews on the back cover of Coach Me, Casanova.

Roger shared this fun thought recently via email: “My book starts in 1775 after Casanova’s memoir ends in 1774. Though we’ll never know, maybe he did take on a protégé. He was one to keep secrets.”

You can find Coach Me, Casanova on Amazon. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Venetian Emoji #16

Sucking on a lemon makes my mouth look like this!

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