We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Dear O's and Raven's - I still love you, but I'm watching soccer now

Soccer is a big thing over here. There is just no way I can get around it, but I admit, I have tried. I have tried (a few times) to watch and understand the game, but the thrill has alluded me. I've tried to avoid it, but there is  no way that is  possible. People in my neighborhood watch soccer matches (calcio) outside in Campo Santa Margherita. Everyone is outside screaming and yelling during all the matches, and when this happens, I have actually started to feel a little left out of things. The solution was to try a little bit harder.

The whole world is watching the Euro2012 matches, and so I joined in. I made sure I was aware of which teams were playing who, and kept track of how Italy was doing.  Last night, being the semifinals between Germany and Italy, I even watched the entire match.

I surprised myself- I learned a little about the game. By mid game, I was wishing I had painted my face green, white and red! Already by half-time (hmm, is that what it's called?) Italy had scored 2 goals both by Mario Balotelli.  If Mario Balotelli was not already a household word all over Italy before last night, it certainly is this morning. Even I now know who he is! I would not be surprised if this guy is short listed for sainthood this week.

Italy held off Germany for the entire match, right up until the last 4 minutes of - what was that, overtime? We didn't understand how extra time was added on, and it seemed unfortunate, since the score was 0-2 Italy by the end of regular time.  Germany squeaked in a goal, ending the game at 1-2.

Italy's Mario Balotelli - photo by ANSA

Italy will face off against Spain in the finals on Sunday. I WILL be watching. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

First festa of the season- Festa di Sant'Antonio

Last week it was the Festa di Sant'Antonio at Campo San Francesco della Vigna over in Castello, the first festa of the 2012 season. I love local festivals here in Italy. They remind me of Fireman's Carnivals back in the US, but on a smaller scale. In Venice, the local churches and associations sponsor a celebration (festa) in the neighborhood campo. During the festa, the locals all pitch in to cook food and sell drinks to raise money for the church. 

It was a beautiful evening last Friday when Mike and I walked over to Castello to catch the last night of the Sant'Antonio festival.  Everyone in Castello must have had the same idea, because the line at the Cassa (where you pay for your food) was huge, and moving VERY slowly. After a long long wait, it was our turn. We made our choices, paid the woman behind the counter, and were handed several colorful pieces of paper coupons. 

Next we had to queue up in the even longer food line, to wait our turn to order our food at the food tent. I love watching the action inside the food tents at these events. Old men are manning the grills and deep fryers, women are making pasta, and the younger people are running back and forth from the counter to the back area filling orders.  Mike ran to the beer tent to grab us something cold to drink while we waited, and waited, and waited. 

For the rest of the people around us, waiting in the food line was half the party. They all seemed to know each other. Conversations were buzzing in all directions around me.  As I stand in line, I wonder if someday I will be part of the conversations too. Someday!

 This guy was running all over the place- back at the grills, out at the tables. He was everywhere at once, and busy laughing and visiting with everyone as he passed by.

 Busy at the beer/wine tent!

 The crowd at San Francesco della Vigna, and the bandstand. Different musical groups were on the lineup each night. 

 Even the local dogs get to enjoy Festa di Sant'Antonio

 San Francesco della Vigna

No Ska-J performances this week, unfortunately. I'm always on the lookout though. Hopefully they will be back at the San Giacomo dell'Orio festival later in the summer.

Next festa on the calendar-  Giovanni Bragora also in Castello June 20-24.  No Ska J on their lineup either :(

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Venice Weather

We've had our share of strange weather this year - unusually low tides, freezing canals, aftershocks from all the earthquakes in the vicinity (including another one on Sunday morning), but I think today we've hit a high point. Around noon today a tornado touched down on Sant'Erasmo and Certosa islands, just off of Venice. 

  (Photo courtesy Venessia today) Damage to house on Sant Erasmo

(Photo courtesy Venessia.com)  A view of the twister from St. Mark's square around noon today. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see this firsthand. I was over near Campo Santa Maria Formosa at the time with no view over the water.  I consider myself lucky, I might have been a bit panic ridden had I witnessed this!
Another view of today's tornado (photo courtesy Net1News)

The weather has been freaky to say the least!  Recently we've felt so many earthquake aftershocks we've become a bit too nonchalant at our house. Sunday morning when I went running to find Mike when the chandelier in the living room was rocking back and forth, he commented that it was not another shock, but rather the upstairs neighbors exercising. On Monday, talking with friends in Mestre I discovered it was in fact an aftershock that they also felt at their apartments. Next time, I'm sticking to my guns!

Friday, June 8, 2012

New sculpture on Murano

The other day I had a chance to wander over on Murano with friends for a few hours.  The magic the Murano glassblowers create never ceases to amaze me, and this day was no different.  As I turned a corner on the street leading to the Faro vaporetto stop, I came face to face with the newest sculpture in the square.

I loved it instantly. I wasn't particularly keen on the sculpture it replaced- a large glass bride done in all whites and silvers. But this one- it's perfect. Sheer magic. It instantly reminded me of the intensely hot glowing fires I see in the kilns used in all the glass foundrys.

Now I need to figure out when to get back to Murano at night, to see this one lit up.