Best memories of Venice are back!
My best memory of Venice by Val De Furrentes
I have many, many happy memories of Venice, but one that lingers is the recollection of what happened when I was staying in the north of the city at Palazzo Contarini della Porta di Ferro in Castello.
From my window I could see the bell tower of San Francesco della Vigna, one of Venice’s tallest, built in the late 16th century and modelled after the one in St Mark’s Square.
Eager to know more, I went to the monastery and began to shoot pictures to add to my photographic archive.
I’d been there about for an hour when a man approached me and asked if I’d like to take photographs from the top of the campanile. He went on to explain that the tower was not open to the public because it was dangerous, but he could ask for permission on my behalf. Within a few minutes he returned with a Franciscan monk who opened the heavy door at the base of the tower with a large key.
We entered a cluttered gloomy space and started our journey up the brick staircase. Stone steps projected from the walls, leaving a dark central shaft without railings. I climbed carefully, retaining my balance by keeping in touch with the walls, while gingerly stepping around the gulls’ nests at our feet.
It was with a sense of relief when we emerged from the shadows into the strong sunlight flooding the belfry. From the large arched openings beneath the bell chamber I could see in every direction. To the North I could see the cruise ships on the lagoon against the backdrop of the port of Mestre. Nearby I caught sight of the Powder House and the abandoned warehouses of the Arsenale.
In the distant panorama I recognised the onion dome of Sant’ Antonin, the leaning bell tower of San Giorgio dei Greci, and Il Redentore on the island of Giudecca. Directly below, the wild vegetation of the abandoned 1920s gasometers sat incongruously next to the tidy patchwork of the monastery gardens.
I’m so glad I have the photographs to remind me of that extraordinary day – otherwise I might think it had all been a dream.
Thank you Val for sharing your wonderful experience!
Did you fall in love with Venice too? Would you like to share you experience?
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