Tuesday, 20 December 2011

San Francesco della Vigna

My favourite Church in Venice is San Francesco della Vigna.

A bit out the way but once you’ve either enjoyed  the long round trip by Vaporetto around Castello or negotiated the labyrinthine trek from the centre, you will find, behind the Palladian facade a perfect interior, by Sansavino, which would be much more at home in Southern Tuscany or Umbria.  

In Vienna, I was horrified to find a Franciscan Church which even outdid the Jesuits in Baroquery, and elsewhere, there are any number of large preaching barns, but, generally, if you are marooned and in need of a place for quiet contemplation, then it never does any harm to seek out the parish Church of St Francis. You will seldom be disappointed; that is certainly the case in Venice.

But Venice is really about facades. If I have a favourite Venetian Church, then how much more so do I have a favourite Venetian walk. Behind the Salute and along the the bank of the Guidecca. Il Redentore; Le Zitelle; above all San Giorgio Maggiore each standing in array on the far side. The best time to enjoy it is undoubtedly on a diamond clear Winter day, when the low sun ripples across the water, but my most memorable negotiation was in deepest Autumn fog, when you couldn’t even see the further bank. On the No.5 back to San Marco, the individual church facades at each stop loomed out of the fog like monuments in a Dickensian graveyard and any potential step ashore was discouraged by the thought that Daphne Du Maurier’s red coated dwarf was almost certainly  lurking down a Calle the minute you stepped away from the crowd.

So, anyway, you might say, what has any of this got to do with the usual topics of my blog? Nothing and everything is the answer.

Since the Scottish Labour Party has clearly to immerse itself in self indulgence for the next four and a half  years, with no interest in returning to power, I have decided that I might as well do so as well. And to have more fun in the process.

So, this week, Venice. Next week, the delights of Puglia: Romanesque Cathedrals and heavenly seafood. Only 233 weeks, and 12 first the post seats still to lose, until normal service is resumed.

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