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Murana and Burana

I now know why it is called the leaning tower of Pisa; it is to distinguish it from all the other leaning towers (such as the leaning tower of Castello, the leaning tower of Murana and the leaning tower of Burana, to cite three we have seen up close in the space of a couple of days).
Something that the histories do not make clear is what a destructive, thieving pest Napoleon was. Visiting Malta and Venezia in quick succession (and going to the Museums and reading the exhibitions and guide book) makes it clear how much thieving Napoleon got up to and how destructive he was (particularly in Venice).
Have been struck by the scale of medieval building. Some of the cathedrals are enormous, for example.
In Venezia, the scale of the Arsenale is striking; it covered a ninth of the city at its full extent.
In Padova particularly, one gets a real sense of the vigour of the Northern Italian emergence from the Dark Ages, a sense of emerging cities full of bustling purpose and underlying confidence about the possibilities of the future.
Have been impressed with how well-socialised Venezian children are--cheerful, well-behaved, affectionate and un-self-conscious. Watching a maybe 5 year old boy happily dance with himself down the Via Garibaldi, apparently not caring in the slightest that he could be seen by a couple of hundred people, mostly strangers, expressed the last particularly.
We keep running into school groups. I suppose excursions are easy when you can mostly walk places of interest. (Also, I doubt they suffer from the consequences of a litigious society as the Anglosphere does.)

Took the 4.2 waterbus to Murana, the glass-making island. Had a very pleasant pork sandwich and a proscuitto-and-extras toasted roll for breakfast (they had provided two rolls and N only wanted one) in between wandering through various glass shops and the streets and across the canals of Murana. The glass work generally did not do it for me, and the official glass blowing exhibitions are on Tuesday and Thursday and require a booking of at least 20 people. Found the Glass Museum of more interest, particularly as it had Roman glass. It was fairly clear, looking at the exhibits, that the medievals had caught up to Roman glass standards by the C15th and exceeded them in the C16th. We did find an actual medieval church (rebuilt in C12th on a C9th Eastern Roman church), which was a fine thing. (N and I are a bit over Baroque churches.) One of the factories near the main waterbus stop had a wide open door, so tourists could gawk at glass-blowing being done. Murana was very Venezia, with canals, bridges and only pedestrian roads, except a bit more spacious.

We had lunch at Ristorante Dalla Mora. N and I had a mixed grilled seafood for two; the serving of half each onto our plates by the waiter was an engaging spectacle in itself, as he expertly divided and de-boned the fish. The grilled seafood was delicious. We also shared a mixed salad and a half-litre of vino bianca.

Next to us was a table of four, who became a table of five, gay guys; all in their 30s or older. Did not understand a word they said, but reading the body language was engaging. There was the Daddy (who looked like a typical middle-aged Italian man, until he stood up, when he was much trimmer than the norm) and the Rough Trade who was apparently with him and either was conflicted about that or surly was his way of playing the relationship (or both). There was the Friendly Guy who was paired with Socially Awkward Guy. They were joined by Charming Guy, who got along particularly well with Friendly Guy, which seemed to make Socially Awkward Guy feel left out and a bit nervous about how well Charming Guy was engaging Friendly Guy. Not understanding a word they said probably did make body-language stand out more.

Then we took a very crowded route 12 waterbus from Murana to Burana, the lace making island. This turned out to be (rather surprisingly) more fun for me than N. We both enjoyed the way houses were all painted (various pastels--though there was one in Agro Green--and obviously they had to be different from each neighbour). It made Burana a charming pastel village.

The island also had space for gardens and various parks. Passing the smell of cut grass in one was a nice change. I was quite taken with some of the lace on display. Also, with the Lace Museum (which had almost as many costume pieces as the Costume Museum), a film on loop where the main piece that had been put together was hanging in a display case next to seats you watched the film from. There were paintings (and photographs) showing people in lace, displays of laces you could pull out and have a look at and elderly women making lace in a light, airy room near a window overlooking the square. I have a new appreciation of lace.

We then took a number 12 waterbus back to the main waterbus terminal. The large crowd of people waiting to get on was a bit of a worry, but it was one of the large waterbuses I had seen but we had not yet been on and it was fine. We stood in the front cabin and had a good view. Both to and from Murana, passed Cimenetaria stop, which is the cemetery island (since Napoleon). The water hearse N had pointed out early in our stay made so much sense.

At the main terminal, we changed to a 4.1 waterbus back to our stop. Passed the main hospital, which had a floating ambulance outside it. For the first time, there was a guy checking tickets. It was obvious the students/children all had permanent photo id tickets. It made me glad I had been validating mine each time.

Wandered back home for some quiet time.

During our wanderings, had passed a boat with crane unloading gear at the end of our street. The bit of the road that just ends at the canal turns out to be the "services entrance". Had also passed a lifting device being use to put furniture in through a window; that is how you move in Venezia.

After a while, wandered out to the Via Garibaldi for dinner; at Ristorante Biennale again. I had spaghetti with cuttlefish sauce (which was lovely), H had lasagne (which looked like "real" lasagne and he said was good). We shared some vino bianca and then a formaggio mista (mixed cheese). Cheese plates in Venezia make what passes for cheese plates in Melboune just look sad.

Then a mildly circuitous wander back home.


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