Snow-Covered Venice

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Snow does not fall often in Venice and when it does, it doesn't stay on the ground for long. Those few hours when the familiar sites are covered with the finest Burano lace make the city more magical than ever, if that's possible.

It may sound strange, but in my winter excursions to the city I've never seen acqua alta but I witnessed snow twice. I take it as a true gift from La Serenissima.

It's starting to snow as I walk past the Salute church. My stroll on the Zattere with the Giudecca and Il Redentore
on my left becomes a fight against the wind.


As I cut across to Campiello Barbaro I get some relief as the wind subsides. Microscopic snow flakes start to accumulate
on the stones.
It's time to head for the Piazza, to one of my favorite spots.

On a rainy winter day, from my favorite table at Caffè Lavena one can watch the rain fall against the backdrop of the Basilica.
It would be good for snow too.

The chocolate is thick and syrupy like only the Italians know how to make. True medicine for the soul.

After a while, the waiter, a suave Italian with a suntan more befitting to the Turks and Caicos than to snow-covered Venice and
who just delighted us with his very personal rendition of "Jingle Bells," asks me and my neighbors to pay the check.
I guess the meter for my favorite table, and the show, has expired.

As I head out, I see an almost deserted Piazza. The silence is overwhelming. Where are the few tourists and all the locals?

The lions in the Piazzetta have no choice but to stay

I love how Alberto Toso Fei in his "Secrets of the Grand Canal" describes the Casetta Rossa: 'A little shy and slightly removed
from the Grand Canal, as if it were afraid to look bad beside so many beautiful palaces...' Gabriele D'Annunzio and
Canova lived here.

Campo San Vidal looks so different today

I'm always so distracted by her beauty that I have a history of falling in Venice, canals being my favorite spots (you could also
say that I'm clumsy). So, if I'm going to walk on the snow, I'd better change my shoes even though the snow shoes I brought
weigh a ton and they would certainly slow me down.
From the hotel window.

Too bad that the garden doesn't belong to the hotel

I get onto the vaporetto towards the Rialto almost by instinct. I'll know where I'm going once I get there.

I get off at Ca' d'Oro and walk on the Strada Nova

It's Friday and it's snowing. What can be better when you are a kid? I'm not sure if Paolo Sarpi approves.

Who said you cannot get a live Christmas tree in Venice?

Campo de la Madalena. Snow and sky are one and the same.

Canal de Cannaregio as dusk is fast approaching

This is the place! I always wanted to see the Ghetto under a mantle of snow.

Rio de San Girolamo

Behind the church of San Marcuola

How many times have I taken a picture of this spot? I should organize them all by season and time of the day.

It's a clear day and the snow has not melted yet

Between an inch and two?

I'm off to see the Museo Storico Navale. Hopefully it would be open this morning. I always manage to get there after closing.

In the summer months, these shady benches by Rio de l'Arsenal are one of my favorite spots to relax

Campo San Martin

It's time to frolic in the snow

The old wellhead at San Zaccaria

At Campo San Barnaba, more precisely on Ponte dei Pugni, as I'm trying my right foot on one of the footprints (a perfect match,
by the way) an elegant and petite Venetian lady in a fur coat asks me if I know the meaning of the footprints. Stupidly,
I say I do and, on the spot, I forfeit the
opportunity of listening to what it probably was going to be a wonderful lecture on the
War of Fists by somebody too eager to
share with a foreigner some of the secrets of her city. I have traveled a bit,
but only in Venice have I encountered such a
bunch of alert citizens committed to giving a perfect stranger a tour of their
neighborhood. There is so much pride without
arrogance in their attitude that one must forever be grateful. Like I am to this
lady who before entering a hair salon tells me to get to
the top of the campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore to see the
whole of Venice under the snow. But I can't. Not right now.

There is always something going on at San Giacomo da l'Orio and this afternoon they are having an ecological, organic market.

Back in Dorsoduro, I take a stroll around San Trovaso and the Zattere. The air is calm and sweet.

I always marvel at the sunset lights beyond the Giudecca. Tomorrow promises to be another beautiful day.

The Sunday before Christmas finds me in the remote corners of Cannaregio: San Giobbe, Sant' Alvise, Madonna de l'Orto.
Here, crossing Ponte Canal on Rio de le Muneghete separating San Polo (on the left) from Santa Croce (on the right).

From Ponte dei Scalzi

Parco Pubblico Savorgnan is such a gem, hidden behind Campo San Geremia

As I stand on Ponte dei Tre Archi the bells of S. Giobbe call the parishioners to mass. Their long and rhythmic toll is
one of the sounds of Venice that I cherish the most.

Saca San Girolamo, as desolate as usual

As I walk towards Sant'Alvise I passed two older men elegantly bundled up and walking arm-in-arm slowly, very slowly. They

do it with sacrifice, dignity and purpose. I realize that one is much older than the other but they are both old. I enter the church
and wait for mass to
begin. Several minutes later, as the music starts and the altarchildren enter from the sacristy carrying
candles, I see the two men
coming into the church. Their resemblance is uncanny. I realize they are a very aged father and
his loving son. It is such a tender scene that my heart
melts and I find myself pretending I'm not crying.

The sky is turning blue and the snow starting to melt.

Before I leave Cannaregio I want to see the gardens of Palazzo
Rizzo Patarol, now the "Boscolo Hotel dei Dogi" on
Fondamenta Madonna de l'Orto. The concierge is very kind and let's me in (
thanks AnnaLivia for the tip.)

The hotel is far from the center of town, and that's part of its charm, but it can be reached from its own landing stage
on the north lagoon, behind the neoclassical loggia.

In the afternoon, under a beautiful blue sky, I take the vaporetto to Sant' Elena...

...where the snow has stayed for over two days.

Finally the next day I make it to the top of the campanile, San Marco, not San Giorgio.
The snow has melted and only
traces of the Burano lace remain. I will not get to see the rooftops all covered by snow
as my accidental guide suggested.
It's just fine. I always like to leave one or two things pending for the next time.