Sunday: Today we visited a church of a very different kind - the Peggy Guggenheim Museum devoted to modern art. It is housed in Peggy’s villa on the Grand Canal where she is buried along with fourteen of her beloved dogs. We also heard a short talk about her life and times. Seems like Peggy was quite a gal. Once when asked how many husbands she had had, she replied “Do you mean mine or other peoples’?”. Nevertheless, she collected an impressive amount of art from the mid to late 20th century. We saw Warhol, Dali, Pollock, Picasso plus many names that we did not know. As for the modern art, it is really not our cup of tea (might be the result of too many churches!). One piece which was experimenting with combustion of plastic I thought looked like an accident in a kitchen.
Getting to the museum was a long walk through San Polo and into Dorsoduro and on the way we popped in briefly to the Frari. This was the very first church we saw on our first visit and it blew us away. This time, hundreds of churches later, it was still beautiful but not so overwhelming. We were hot and dry when we arrived at the museum and drank a large and expensive bottle of water. Afterwards, we backtracked a little to see the quaint old Squero di San Trovaso, a very ancient gondola building yard and workshop, the only one left in Venice.
By then it was well and truly lunch time and we were near the front of the lagoon where a lovely cool breeze was blowing. We sat at an outdoor restaurant and shared a pizza and grilled vegetable dish with a beer. Then it was a wander through some back parts looking for a particular textile shop. Being Sunday little was open and it was hard to find so we meandered our way back towards Rialto. On the way we found a good co-op and stocked up for the next couple of days. With dinner we enjoyed some of the lovely Prosecco we bought the previous day.
Monday: We made an earlier start today to see the Rialto markets just down the street. It was all fruit and vegetables as the fish market does not open Monday and as we are leaving tomorrow there was no point buying anything more. So we just admired all the wonderful produce, especially the huge red crinkled tomatoes which taste like nothing we get in Australia. Then we set off into San Croce and sat watching pigeons having a bath under the running fountain in Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio. Attempts to get a traghetto across the canal failed as the marked traghetto stop seemed to have been abandoned. So it was even more walking back to the big bridge near the station and over into Canneregio. Because we were so early there were few people and it was very pleasant.
Our walk took us through the Jewish Ghetto quarter where we saw one of the memorials to the holocaust. Our stroll took us down the Fondamenta de la Misericordia before we had to join the throngs again. We stopped for a coffee just around the corner from Calle Prati where we stayed the first time. Heather’s watch had stopped and we were told of a watchmaker just beyond Rialto so that was the next port of call. He was extremely efficient - had the old battery out and the new one in with all adjustments made before you could say “How much?”. That was quite reasonable too.
For lunch we headed back to a little restaurant in the next Calle to ours and ate a very traditional Venetian meal - Bollito (boiled meats) for me and tripe for Heather with a plate of vegetable and a half litre of house white. We then slipped home to pack for a couple of hours before setting off again mid-afternoon.
As we jostled through Rialto, Heather spotted Tiedeschi, the big department store opened recently. A stunning old building has been done up for it and you can even get up onto the rooftop for view of Venice. But it was quite expensive and we had other things on our minds so we skipped that experience. This time we did find the specialty textile shop we were looking for and made a small purchase.
Then we strolled back through San Marco, took one quick look at St Mark’s square but as we only had sixteen and a bit euros between us we could not afford a drink there. We still had tickets purchased when we arrived and used them to catch the vaporetto back to Realto Mercato. It was a very nice final view of the Canal with all its craft and the mansions lining it. At Mercato where drinks were cheaper we lashed out ten euros for aperitifs hoping that we could still buy a coffee at the airport with what was left.
And that was the end of our last day in Venice and Italy! It’s all been wonderful and, who knows, we may be back again some day. Till then it will be good to get home to dear old Oxenford and be among family and friends again. Arrivederci!!