4 different Veniceblog readers who have been in Venice recently have sent me a total of over 50 pictures of Lasse Hallstrom's Casanova shoot in progress. ( (UPDATE: the reviews are trickling in. See this post.)) I have posted most of these pictures in a special photo album located here.
The sets and actors look absolutely wonderful, and it's great fun to poke through the album. I love the anachronisms ... guys with cell phones standing next to nobles in 18th century regalia.
Thanks a million times over to J.L., Anne, Margaret and Stephen.
Bring a bag of carrots with you next time you take in the glassblowing factories on the island of Murano. The Gazzettino reports today that the Muranese rabbit population has surged to a troubling new level.
Not only has Pietro Coniglio and his legion of furry friends despoiled garden after garden, but, according to reporter Manuela Lamberti, "they have created grave hygenic worries" and have left a "carpet" of pellets and scores of holes on a local soccer field.
They seem to number more than a thousand, and may have swum from nearby Sacca San Mattia. Roberto Di Biasi, head of a local citizen's group, is not feeling warm and fuzzy about the invasion. He is urging the city to construct a barrier to keep the bunnies at bay.
UPDATE: mystery solved ... we have a winner. Announcement coming soon in the next post. Thanks to all of you who contributed (many, many folks wrote to me). Watch this space.
I have to admit to being stumped. Is the image above, scanned from a glass slide made circa 1890, really of Venice, as the handwritten inscription on the slide's edge suggests? (Click the picture for an enlargement.) If it is, exactly where? I've quasi-methodically scoured my photo archives and books and have not been able to identify the campanile or bridge. Perhaps you can do it in a snap. If you can, there's a cool prize. Read on.
The bridge in the photo is unusually wide, and seems to lead to a campo with the church in it. I looked closely at a present-day Venetian map, hunting for the bridge/church/campo combo, but every promising lead fizzled. I also tried to ID the (apparent) 5-story building in the background on the right. My theory was that it was looking onto the Canal Grande from the opposite side. No luck.
So here's where you come in. Successfully ID this photo, and you win a copy of Vincent Brunot's "Laguna, Fragili Testimonianze d'Authentica Vita Veneziana", published by Mare di Carta, the nautically themed Venetian bookstore (my favorite). This little 70 page, hardcover volume is a brilliant watercolor diary of Brunot's journeys though the Venetian lagoon during the summer of 1998. It's in Italian, but I've translated it into English, and will send that along (assuming I can find it!).
Guesses, of course, are of no use, since I don't know the answer. So send me verification. A snapshot. A link. Anything that proves it.
It's a fun photo, the more that you look at it. Lots of little riddles. Like the shoes and the furniture in the foreground ... are they for sale? What's that dude handing that lady at the top of the bridge? What's that lady with the fruit bowl hat turning around to check out? Note the insignia on the campanile ... I don't recognize it, but it could be a clue to the order that erected the church. A frog, perhaps ... sign of the Jesuits?
The winds, seas and moon have conspired to put Venice at risk of a flood emergency tomorrow, with the possibility of tides as high as 140 centimeters. This would constitute an official flood emergency.
At the moment, the city is seeing sustained daily tides of between 85 and 90 centimeters, the lower end of the flooding scale at which annoying, but manageable, amounts of water can be seen in the Piazza, the city's most vulnerable point. These sustained tides may be experienced through the weekend.
These sustained tides are exceptionally dangerous because they leave to city vulnerable to any other meterological factors that can raise the seas past their already high levels. And there is trouble brewing. Possibly very serious trouble.
At the moment, Venice is trapped in a low pressure system that is being encroached on by two immense areas of high pressure, one on the Atlantic, the other from Northern Russia. This has given rise the malignant combination of intense scirocco winds out on the Adriatic and, in Venice, blustery bora winds from the northeast.
They call this unfortunate confluence of events "scontraura", at it has led to some of the worst flooding in Venice's recorded history. Let's hope for the best.
At times, according to various press accounts, the water surged over the passerelle, the raised wooden sidewalks that are provisionally set in place to keep the city alive during otherwise crippling floods. Someone was spotted in a kayaking through the Piazza. The transportation authority, ACTV, actually stopped operating for an hour during the day, adding to the chaos. Shopkeepers have, no surprise, reported losses, but the real concern is damage that these waters can cause to fragile structures and the unspeakably precious art inside them.
Near the Lido inlet of the Adriatic, a huge motonave (passenger ferry) slammed into a briccola (wooden channel marker) and the passenger dock at Punto Sabbioni, when a powerful sirocco wind overcame the pilot's control.
Before this enormous flood, Venice had been experiencing smaller acqua altas for the last 5 days, as it has been buffeted by a persistent storm system.
As of this posting, the floods have mostly receded, and you can again move through the Piazza without a naval escort, though predictions are for the water to reach 110 centimeters at 1120AM. That's annoying, but manageable, and isn't expected to last long throughout the day.
A special cell phone system has been set up for Venetians, whereby typing the word "marea" (tide) into an SMS text message and sending it to the phone number 041/2411996 , the latest tidal predictions will be sent back.