giovedì 30 settembre 2010

Venice is a fish

Sarà un weekend impegnativo. Ai miei studenti di Urban & Global Rome voglio far vedere Venezia da una prospettiva alternativa. Andremo a piazza San Marco, certo, passeremo il ponte di Rialto, ci mancherebbe, ma incontreremo anche Ludovico De Luigi che ci racconterà la sua Venezia onirica, andremo a visitare Sant'Erasmo, con i suoi campi di verdure e l'apicoltura del signor Elio Mavaracchio (miele di carciofo! miele "salso"). E poi incontreremo nel suo laboratorio un "forcolaio" veneziano, e andremo a vedere in fondo alla Giudecca le case popolari costruite negli anni Settanta a Sacca Fisola. A tutti ho dato da leggere la traduzione inglese di Venezia è un pesce, di Tiziano Scarpa, come viatico di un modo diverso di guardare a questa città.

Dear Urban and Global students,
with this I'm sending you some relevant information for our trip to Venice. You may want to print a copy of this mail for further reference during the weekend.

 We leave by train at 8.45 am, please be at the station Termini (metro line B towards Rebibbia, third stop) about 8.15. We gather at the beginning of track number 1 (since we don’t know yet the track number of our train). If you miss the train you miss the tour I suppose, so be in time!

We arrive in Venice Santa Lucia at 12.30 pmImmediately I’ll buy the boat tickets for everybody. It’s a 48 hour ticket. You’ll get yours and you’ll always take it with you during the whole weekend. Important: remember to return it to me on the train on our way back to Rome, since I’ll need the tickets for the reimbursement.
From the Station we take the boat line 1 to our hotel, (Hotel Messner, Fondamenta Ca’ Balà, Dorsoduro, tel. 041-522-7443). It takes approx. 45 minutes so we should be at the Hotel at 1.30 pm. Check in, leave your bags in the rooms and at 2.00 we gather for a tour of the city. Firstly we visit the Chiesa della Salute, then we cross Accademia bridge and we go towards San Marco square. We visit the Basilica, then we go to Rialto, crossing the bridge we head to San Polo and Chiesa dei Frari. In time to be at Campo Santa Margherita by 5.30 pm, where we’ll visit the painter Ludovico De Luigi in his atelier. We are done by 7.00 pm. From there you are free to have your dinner wherever you prefer. I’ll suggest you two or three places where you can eat.

Saturday morning we gather after breakfast at 8.40 am. On foot we go to Fondamenta Nuovecrossing the Gran Canal on the cheap “traghetto”. We have to be at the boat stop in Fondamenta Nuove in time to catch the boat number 13 at 10.05 am to the island ofSant’Erasmo, where we arrive at 10.45. We rent bikes (better ones than what we got last week, sorry!) and we tour the island and visit a beekeeper and maybe a farm. At 12.30 we bring back the bikes and go to the restaurant. After lunch we take the boat back to Venice at3.30 pm. From Fondamenta Nuove we go on foot to Santa Maria Formosa area, where at 4.45 we meet in his workshop the “forcolaio”, a very special kind of carpenter who builds the "forks", ie he wooden supports for the the oar of the gondola.
After the visit, about 6.00 pm, we go together for a short and mild “bacaro tour”, where bacaro is the traditional Venetian pub. We collect some money (I’d say that 10 euros each would be enough) and Elia (a former Venetian student and now artist, anthropologist and good friend of mine) shall take us to the secrets of the Venetian art of enjoying friendship while sipping some good wine and tasting “cicchetti” (Venetian appetizers). Just in time to be back at the hotel at 8.00 pm for supper.

Sunday morning we leave the hotel at 9.00 am. We can leave our luggage provided you packed everything and freed your rooms. We cross on boat the Canale della Giudecca and we visit the island Giudecca (and maybe its two churches, if we have time) up to Sacca Fisola, the westernmost part of the island (actually, another island connected by a bridge), where you’ll see some public scheme (housing) buildings while I’ll tell you something about Venice, industrialization in the 20th century and its ecological and social impact (pollution, “acqua alta”, depopulation).
Then (about 10.45) you’ll have some time for shopping or strolling around. My suggestion is that you go back to the hotel, collect your bags and go for a walk towards the train station (Santa Lucia), otherwise go around without luggage, but allow enough time to pick your staff at the hotel and catch the boat to the station (it takes 35 minutes by boat from “salute”, the stop closest to our hotel, to the train station).
We have our train at 2.27 pm but if we manage to be together at about 1.00 pm I’ll take you to a place where you can have a very good and relatively cheap lunch with “tramezzini” (Venetian sandwiches).

Do not forget a raincoat and proper shoes, as there will be rain on Friday afternoon and possibly Sunday. Venice is not Rome, and the weather in October can be rather annoying.

I’ll bring photocopies of the city maps for all, your insurance and some useful phone numbers. Write back if you have any questions or doubts.

For your information, this is a summary of meals and possible extras:
  • Boat tickets: paid by TC
  • Accommodation and breakfast in Hotel: paid by TC
  • Friday lunch: picnic lunch by the nuns, paid by TC
  • Friday supperon your own
  • Saturday lunch: at the restaurant, paid by TC
  • Saturday “bacaro tour”on your own (about 10 euros)
  • Saturday supper: at the Hotel, paid by TC
  • Sunday lunchon your own 

That’s all, folks, see you Friday morning!