It's hard to pick one photo from four weeks in Venice but this one of the Grand Canal from the vaporetto as we traveled back from the studio to the flat is probably my favorite. We did this trip everyday. A bus ride like no other!
Below are some of the magnificent houses along the canal. They were built by merchants because this a city built on commerce of the sea and the world beyond. This was a gate way to the Middle East and Asia. The Grand Canal was the front door to their palaces. One would arrive by boat! The bottom floor would contain the business, shop and workshops. The family home would be on the floors above. Some of these buildings go back to 11th and 12th century, to the beginnings of this great city. The upkeep is extremely expensive and ongoing. It has turned many of these architectural wonders from family homes and businesses into hotels, government buildings and museums.
Formelle is another type of marble sculpture/architectural decoration on buildings. These usually are larger and rectangular. They often are above doorways but not always. These pieces can indicate a society that the household is affiliated with, a talisman for harmonious living, a family crest or a patron saint. They are not as old as the patere but are also associated with Venice. I have included three lovely square ones we happened on in our wanderings These too seemed to closely related by themes to the older patere.
When we first arrived in Venice Traci Horgen, art residency coordinator,
was our guide through the city from the apartments to the scuola. She pointed out her personal fascination with the architectural decorations called patere . They are a wonderful piece of the architecture of the city. Starting in the 12th century, they were carved from slices of old marble columns to decorate exterior walls and act as talisman to protect the residence. Images two of birds are for harmonious living. Especially, the peacock, they represent Juno, the Roman Goddess of the hearth. It is believed that the images come from the Byzantine culture but they could be much older going back through the Romans to the Egyptians.
The last two images are two Egyptian sculptures. They were part of enclosed garden in Pompeii, 79CE. The aggressor is seen as the protector just like in the Venetian patere.