Torcello and MUURano

We made our way via 2 vaporetti to the island of Torcello, my 3rd visit. First in 1992, then 1999 and now. Lots has changed, but not the main reason for visiting. Torcello is the northernmost of the “Northern Islands” of Murano,Burano and Torcello and the least visited, or it used to be little visited. One goes there to see the 11th century mosaic walls of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta. In ’92 and ’99, no one seemed to be watching what was happening on the island. Anyone could just wander into the church. Now, there is an admission charge and no photos are allowed. ( I did take a couple with my cell phone,just because. Besides, no flash and no mosiac is going to be hurt by a photo, and I did buy some postcards anyway!).

The main deal is the “Last Judgement”, which must be at least 25feet high and 20 feet wide, composed ,I read , of over 1,000,000 tesserae( the individual pieces of glass used to make the mosiac). In horizontal bands stories of good and evil, Christ’s miracles and that old devil and his Hell are depicted in beautiful shining gold, lapis lazuli blue , reds and lots of shades of Browns and black. If I could put photos in, I would. I urge you to go on -line and look it up.

At the other end of the small building is Mary holding baby Jesus, in a nearly solid gold field. It’s breath-taking! there are saints in a band below her, but she is the main thing. On either side of the curved area where Mary and Co. are located, in the corners,  is the Annunciation. The Angel is on the left, pointing to Mary. On the right is Mary, with her hand out, as if to say, Oh no! This doesn’t sound like a good idea at all!

And the floor is just exquisite- marble inlaid in complex patterns. All of this is nearly 1,000 years old. Sigh. Just lovely.

We looked around a bit more at some old stone carvings, including a “throne” which certainly dates to the early years of the church. It’s outside and everyone takes their picture in it, me too!(See Bill Fall’s Facebook page).

Lunch was next, before heading to Murano where I had never been. On the gently curving brick path from the boat dock to the church were 4 appealing restaurants. I don’t recall more than one before.(that really is about all that is on the island. No town, just the few people who take care of the historic stuff and I suppose, some of the restaurant people.)

We chose the place closest to the church, for no great reason, mostly because it was set way back from the path, in a lovely garden. Oh my, what a great choice! We sat outside in a kind of pavilion with matting on the “roof” and white light fabric hanging from horizontal bars all around. The fabric was gathered at each post, but the breeze caught it and it bellowed out. I only took pictures with my camera, not the phone and now I can’t add them darn it! The food was as lovely as the atmosphere. It is called Ristorante Villa ‘600 and I highly recommend it.

Lunch was just dreamy and we had to hustle to make the next boat to Murano, because they only run once an hour. As we got on , several people asked the deckhand if it stopped at Burano. He said, very slowly MUURano, not BURRano. I can only imagine how many times he is called upon to answer that same question. The vaporetto people are unfailingly polite and courteous, amazing given the crowds and difficult tourists.

My reason for going, finally, to MURano was to visit the shop of Mariana and Susanna Sent, sisters who design and manufacture what is to me the most intriguing glass in Venice.While I can’t bring home anything large( we just don’t have places for more physical objects), they produce fabulous jewelry! I knew the address from their website and figured, “how hard could it be to find on a little island like Murano?” Ha! After asking several different people, who gave us different directions, and walking for about 30 minutes, we finally found a woman walking her two dogs who knew how to get there. It involved another boat ride and then a short walk. Finally – we entered through a serene white marble courtyard containing a small pool on which “floated” several large clear glass bubbles. Their work is most known for the clear glass bubble necklaces that they sold to the NYMOMA a few years ago.They are lovely, ethereal and elegant.  Their aesthetic, clean, simple high contrast at times, excellent materials is very appealing to me. I did buy two necklaces and some earrings. I’m very happy! As we were about to leave the slight raindrops turned suddenly into a thunderstorm. We hung around chatting with the saleswoman, a native Venetian who lives between San Marco and Rialto, of all places! Eventually it seemed to lighten up enough to to head for the dock,only 10 minutes away. I had an umbrella, Bill had a big waterproof hat, so off we went. As soon as we came around the corner, the wind picked up and we got drenched!

Home finally, we took off our wet clothes and collapsed for a while. Out to dinner in our favorite Campo Santa Margarita- full of life and not too many tourists ( we don’t count, of course!).

Tomorrow San Rocco, Il Frari and then the Palazzo Grassi for an exhibit on Zaha Hadid, the amazing architect who died recently. And then, who knows?

Only 2 more days in Venice. I think I have Bill hooked, we may come back again, maybe for 2 weeks? 3?



Published in: on September 6, 2016 at 8:39 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] proper, famous for its glassworks (“Venetian glass”) and glass craftspeople. As Karen shopped, the predicted thunderstorms moved in and we had a good soaking on the dash to the nearest […]

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