The Venetian light was slow in appearing. Rain soaked bags up and down campos, after a ferry ride to Rialto, lugging heavy luggage up and down stairs, nearly into a canal, up narrow dead-ends and back over cobbled streets, finding 'Planet Bar', a rendezvous for the landlord... finally.
The 10 hours of travel from Casole d'Elsa
Trains changed platforms of departure continuously - while waiting for one train at #5 - it was changed to #3 and #1 within 15 minutes. One station - Pisa - had elevators. Florence, and the station on the mainland before Venice did not. Kind strangers felt inclined to assist with hoisting the heavy suitcases with me some of the time - up & down stairs, and onto and off trains, sometimes. Being a working artist, and carrying garments for 2-3 season and tools is a daunting journey, especially when there is any distance to be made en route to the destination.
The crisp autumnal air pervades, and sitting with an espresso dopio and vino rosso, there is some solace knowing where my designation is. After a 3 hr. search or the address, I found the gallery/residency/workspace, SPIAZZI.
Situated near Campo San Martino, at the end of a bridge on an estuary of a canal, it is an inauspicious doorway, signified by a fading print of its name on the side of the ancient door. The door number refers to a whole area of the Arsenale district.
Large felt curtains greet the visitor before entering the gallery.
Sitting in a plaza opposite a naval museum, one cannot help wondering if the patio this cafe is situated on was reclaimed from the canal. Porticoes seem eroded by the former waterways. A water taxi passes under a re-articulated bridge made of wood and metal steps, easing to the plaza with rounded stone steps. Cafe dwellers shoe away the birds, which seem to b uninhibited enough to light on tables and would perch on glasses, if allowed. Vegetation is scarce in Venice. A sad tree, some pots of flowers is all that is seen of any natural foliage, and habitation for the flying creatures.
Corroded and encrusted doorways, the smell of stagnation, giant lions and shlepers of boxes, creates, pictures and bags jostle between tourists hoisting cameras and knapsacks.
A parade of people looking upward - onward, staring unabashedly, drinking in history - the marvel that this place exists at all - and I am one of these.