More from our vacation .... Why, you might ask, did we decide to have a vacation in Venice? Well, it all started six years ago, when we bought a CD for Kate, Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery. This is an audiobook, set to Antonio Vivaldi's music, about an orphan girl who arrives at the Ospendale della Pieta in Venice. There, she and the other girls are taught to play in an orchestra by Vivaldi. Eventually, after a series of adventures that take place on the streets and canals of Venice, she discovers that she is the long-lost granddaughter of the Duke. The story is fictional, but Vivaldi really did teach orphaned and abandoned girls at this church (shown in the photo above) for several decades of his life.
Kate and Julia both loved this story, but Kate was particularly taken with it and asked for violin lessons, which we started shortly afterward, when she was six-and-a-half. As regular readers of this blog will know, she is still playing today and taking lessons from the same excellent teacher with whom she started. Not content with just violin lessons, she has been asking every year if we could vacation in Venice. A couple of years ago, a friend brought home a souvenir from the city, and that made her even more eager to go. Finally, we decided it was time for all of us to see Italy!
The Ospendale was our first visit after we arrived in Venice. To our dismay, it was closed throughout the entire length of our stay and was to reopen hours after our scheduled departure by train. This should have been no surprise, as our guidebook warned us that churches and museums (other than the most important and popular ones) set their opening hours in a rather unpredictable way, and these are prone to change according to the whim of the caretakers. Still, we were able to visit this shrine for violinists and admire the historic building from the outside.
As consolation, we were able to visit the Museum of Music, housed in the San Maurizio church and open to the public free of charge. There, we read about Vivaldi's personal life and many accomplishments and saw a number of beautiful instruments, many of which were from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Finally, I have to mention the Bridge of Sighs, not because it has any direct connection to Vivaldi or music, but because it is mentioned in a memorable scene from our beloved audiobook. The bridge connects the interrogation rooms in the Doge's palace to the prisons. It is named for the sighs of condemned prisoners as they take their last look at the beautiful Venetian lagoon through the little windows in the enclosed bridge before entering the prisons.