Venetian life filled with culture and friends

Mama & Me on the Accademia Bridge

Mama & Me on the Accademia Bridge

We’ve been settling into Venetian life quite happily. Mama simply glows here. Living here (even temporarily) brings her to life, and it is wonderful to see. Venice is a much better cancer treatment than anything the doctors have proposed! We are now at the halfway point — having been here for a wonderful two weeks, with another two spread before us. If you know us Marks women, you won’t be at all surprised that we made a chart mapping out our days here and adventures we don’t want to miss!

mikhail hulu dance image

Traditional Hulu Dancers photographed by Mikhail Baryshnikov

At the Contini Gallery, we enjoyed a dance photography exhibit called “Dance This Way” by Mikhail Baryshnikov so much that we went through the gallery twice! The blur of movements and the moments of stillness were captured beautifully. This hulu dance photo (shown left) is one of my favorites.

Mama’s Venetian friends invited us to join them for a couple of free concerts. The first was in a church with a man who sang with a beautiful voice that sounded like a woman’s, apparently called a countertenor. A sweet Venetian lady explained to us (mostly through gestures and a bit of Italian) that it requires massive strength of the throat, neck and chest muscles. Here’s a little VIDEO I created so you can hear too (we were sitting way off on the side so it was hard to see him).

Mama & friends post concert

Mama & her Venetian friends Elisa, Ana & Bruno

The second free concert we attended with Mama’s Venetian friends was a wonderful band playing outdoors in the gorgeous gardens at a hotel on the island of Giudecca. Here’s a little VIDEO with clips of my favorite pieces, plus a post-concert view of Venice at the end!

Some lovely new British friends, Deborah and Colin, dragged me out of bed for an early-morning adventure to a market on the Lido where they sold everything from fresh produce, meat, fish and cheese to fleece blankets and quilts, designer clothes, embellishments/trim and home items. It was fascinating, and I picked up a couple of great sweaters for us that were quite inexpensive!

Another evening we were enjoying a spritz and a bellini (traditional Venetian happy hour) at the cafe next door when Mama’s friend Ana appeared. She told us about a large Autumnal Equinox celebration in the campo (square) just around the corner from our apartment. I loved the dancing shadows on the church facade while the woman performed, as well as the magical labyrinth of tiny lights set up on the ground. Here’s another little VIDEO of that celebration.

Stone lion at Arsenale

Stone lion guarding the Arsenale

We’ve been enjoying getting lost and wandering the streets of Venice — a feast for the eyes around every turn. Visiting with friends here has also been incredibly heartwarming. It’s fascinating to see how different cultures influence friendships and relationships. Here, we are all family, and it feels as if we’ve returned home.

Daily gelato is still an absolute must. We are loving trying new recommendations and flavors. Abby loves it too (as long as it’s a non-chocolate flavor, we often give her a wee taste); check out her crazy, bugged-out eyes in this little VIDEO I created.

Please also check out Mama’s blog “Giuditta in Italia” to hear more of our travel stories.

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