Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Gondola Ride - Magnificient, Magical Venice

(Venice, Italy) That image you see is by the photographer Carlo Naya, taken in 1875, and is the best one I could find to evoke the magic that happened to me late this afternoon.

I had gone across the canal to do some business. On the way back, I joked with the gondoliers. They said, "We want to give you a ride." I said I had no money. They said, "We want to give you a ride." I said, "Oh, okay, very nice, in the future." They said, "We want to give you a ride RIGHT NOW. Right now is the time. Right now there are no customers. Now is the time." Of course I got in the gondola.

We made our way up the Grand Canal and under the Rialto Bridge. The people at the top waved to me and took photos; I waved back. It slowly dawned on me the significance of what we were doing. A single woman riding alone in a gondola is almost unheard of in Venice, and it will attract photos. But more importantly, that the gondoliers would give me a ride... it was a signal of solidarity. It was a great honor.

The gondola took me to places I had never been before, down thin, quiet canals nearly impossible for the sleek, black boat to navigate -- but these gondoliers have the Venetian water running through their veins, like blood, and the vessel slipped easily through the arteries. We burst back onto the Grand Canal, and the sky was Venetian Red, a Magic Color sent down from Heaven. The silvery Moon was almost full. It reflected the setting Sun. Dark storm clouds held their tears, as if painted only for effect by an omniscient artist. They held their tears, but I could not hold mine.  I had tears in my eyes... I had tears in my eyes... the very strong message this beautiful, strong culture was sending... that Venice... and Italy... is sending to you.

When the voyage was over, the gondoliers apologized for speaking to me in the familiar "tu" and not "Lei," but they said, "You seem too young for us to call you 'Lei" -- which, of course, appealed to my vanity:)  I thanked them, and thanked them... then I told a few people what had just happened... and they were stunned. I don't know how to describe, exactly, the enormity of the gesture because the gondoliers never do such a thing (well, sometimes they do if they think they will get lucky, but this was absolutely nothing like that -- this was done with the utmost respect). One person said, after a long silence: "That means the entire energy of Venice has changed." I said, "Yes. We must respect this new power."


Ciao from Venice,
Cat
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog

AFTER I wrote this, I found that photo that you see on the left on the website of Gondolieri Travel, an agency that, apparently, the gondoliers have created themselves. No one whatsoever asked me to do anything for that gondola ride -- it was given from the heart. For me, telling you about their site is like buying them a rose. Click here to visit their site:

http://www.gondolieri.it/en/index.php

"Gondolieri Travel is a branch office of the historical Cooperativa Gondolieri of Venice, the cooperative Daniele Manin was born with a different name in 1868 on 12th July, setting up the Mutuo Soccorso society in support of the gondoliers of Venice.

The Daniele Manin company name officially were registered on 1948, initially to give assistance and support to the gondoliers, then developing into a bigger company, enlarging the gondola transport service to other different activities: gondolas and piers maintenance, the construction and restoration of gondolas in their own Squeri (shipyards for the hand craftmanship of boats), such as the Squero Ognissanti of San Trovaso and the Giudecca shipyard, and on these days new administration and payment offices.

The gondoliers category were helped in the past by this company also from the cultural way, as the company arranged historic lectures and foreign languages courses, in order to help gondoliers work better, expecially because during summer season gondoliers work with foreign tourists.

From the year 2006 the Cooperativa created their Travel Agency, in order to have the own booking office, and as they receive many different requests, enlarge their services offering any kind of private or collective excursions, selected hotels reservations, private transfers with water taxi and cars, and tailor-made solutions for any requests and needs."














Sunday, February 14, 2010

Venice Carnival - Blast to the Past

(Venice, Italy) As I enjoy Carnevale 2010, here is a blog rerun from the cache of my Authors' Guild account -- the original, unfortunately, no longer exists -- of the Carnival three years ago, back in 2007.

22 febbraio 2007
CARNIVAL IN VENICE AND MORE


Director, Bruno Tosi, right, and Lucio Bisutto, singing owner of Trattoria Giorgione on Via Garibaldi with "The Marys" Festa delle Marie, Feb. 9

Venetian artist Maestro Ludovico de Luigi

Costume by Dominique Brunet

Sunglasses by Ottica Vascellari
Jewelry by Ganesha
Russian performers at the Casinò - February 11, 2007

How did they get the horse to La Fenice? La Cavalchina Ball - February 17

The crowd jumps on stage and La Fenice rocks - Feb. 17

Cat at La Fenice
Costume by Dominique Brunet 

Irene Bello, THE Mary - winner Festa della Marie




I'll try to get a more recent photo!

7 febbraio 2007
THE JURY IS IN


I have to say that being on the jury for the Festa delle Marie was SO MUCH FUN. Not only was I the first straniera, there were only a couple of women. I think I finally figured out why I get along so well in Venice: I have a Venetian sense of humor! Ha! VENETIANS GET THE JOKE. Marino Folin, who is a Very Distinguished Professor by day, had us laughing so hard -- he was really on target. I was sitting between Sig. Folin and the artist, Ludovico de Luigi -- if you can imagine. Sometimes things get a little heavy over here on the island, but, ultimately, everyone remembers it is the Divine Comedy, not the Divine Tragedy.

Anyway, it was fascinating to watch the difference in the girls, who were aged 16 to 27. The contest was amazingly fair, funny and respectful -- somehow we all came to an agreement and picked the top twelve without much effort. For the first time in Il Gazzettino, the girls' astrological signs were listed, as well as their other vital statistics. You can thank Yours Truly for that.

Bruno Tosi, who is directing Carnevale, kept the whole thing on track, and Roberto Ballarin, the director of Il Gazzettino, held up his end on the other side of the very long table.

Afterwards, Tommy Vee, who is a Very Cute International DJ, as well as being Venetian, was mobbed for autographs.

I am going to blog for Carnevale. I will let you know if it will be here, on Myspace, or both.


31 gennaio 2007

FESTA DELLE MARIE


Today I am going to be lazy and just put up my press release:

PRESS RELEASE


AMERICAN AUTHOR FIRST “STRANIERA” ON JURY OF ANCIENT VENETIAN BEAUTY CONTEST

CAT BAUER, YOUNG ADULT NOVELIST - ON THE PANEL OF JUDGES FOR

LA FESTE DELLE MARIE



Venice, January 31, 2007. Award-winning author, Cat Bauer, will be the first foreigner on the jury that selects the most beautiful, or virtuous, girls in Venice.

La Festa delle Marie originated from a pirate raid in 943 a.d., according to Venetian legend. In ancient times, Venetians married on only one day each year. A water procession from the Arsenale on the canal “delle Vergini” started the festivities. All the brides-to-be were rowed across the lagoon in decorated boats brimming with dowries, while their future husbands waited at the Church of San Nicolò at the Lido.

That year, pirates raided the procession, kidnapping the brides and the booty. An enraged Venetian rescue party executed the pirates and brought the brides back to the ceremony.

To commemorate the victory in the past, every year twelve patriarchal families would present twelve virtuous young women from poor Venetian families with a dowry, and the designation “le Marie,” or “The Marys.”

Today, the popular Carnival director, Bruno Tosi, together with Il Gazzettino, the local Venetian newspaper, sponsors a contest where Venetian girls aged 16 to 27 can enter to be a “Marie.” On Friday, February 2nd, the jury will convene at the Venice Casino to select twelve candidates.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be the first foreigner on the jury,” commented Cat Bauer, creator of the teenage protagonist, Harley Columba. “It’s a tribute to all ex-patriots who live here and who love and respect this city.”

Miss Bauer added, “My protagonist is a young artist who comes from the New Jersey suburbs. She must pass many tests of character in order to achieve success in New York City. To me, being virtuous means exploring all the colors life has to offer while maintaining a childlike innocence. In his book entitled, ‘With Peggy Guggenheim,’ Paolo Barozzi, who is descended from one of Venice’s oldest noble families, says: ‘I am convinced that real nobility comes from the heart.’ La Festa delle Marie reflects that message.

“In addition, the festival on February 9th nearly coincides with the publication date of my books in America on February 13th, which makes it especially poignant.” Knopf, a division of Random House, will republish Miss Bauer’s first novel, “Harley, Like a Person,” as well as a new companion novel called, “Harley’s Ninth.”

La Festa delle Marie takes place on opening day of the Venice Carnival, February 9th, at 3:00 p.m., starting at the church of San Pietro di Castello. The procession then makes it way to Piazzo San Marco by way of Via Garibaldi and the Riva degli Schiavoni. All the contestants will be treated like nobility during Carnival, participating in historic processions and exclusive palazzi parties. Then, on Fat Tuesday, one girl will be crowned with the title “Maria dell'Anno” or "Mary of the Year" in Piazza San Marco, winning a one-week vacation for two.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit Cat Bauer at: www.myspace.com/catbauer and www.catbauer.com


Ciao from Venice in the Year 2010,
Cat

Mask by Sergio Boldrin

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Venice Carnival 2010 - Carnevale Venezia 2010

Click HERE to go to Venice Carnival 2011.

(Venice, Italy) For those of you who are in Venice this Carnival season, which starts today, now is a great time to support some of Venetian Cat's sponsors!

Incentive Harmony - Carnevale balls  and other gatherings in an authentic Venetian palace. That is one of the owners, the gracious and elegant Jeanne-Bénédicte Arnitas, you see over there on the left.

Click to go to Incentive Harmony website:
http://www.incentiveharmony.com

Click to read the Venetian Cat - Incentive Harmony blog:
http://venetiancat-incentiveharmony.blogspot.com/


Stop at La Bottega dei Mascareri at the foot of the Rialto Bridge for all your Venetian mask needs. (That is a photo of Sergio Boldrin before his hair turned gray! I am quite sure I contributed a hair or two:)

Click to read the Venetian Cat- La Bottega dei Mascareri blog:

http://venetiancat.blogspot.com/2008/03/venetian-masks.html

You will need a place to stay while you are here in Venice, so why not rent an apartment instead of staying in a hotel? That calls for Views on Venice! The grandmother of the personable (and gorgeous:) owner, Filippo Gaggia, used to entertain right in that image you see of the piano nobile.

Click here to go to the Views on Venice website:
http://www.viewsonvenice.com/

Click here to read the Venetian Cat - Views on Venice blog:
http://viewsonvenice.blogspot.com/

Next, you will need some place to eat, and that is where the authentic Venetian food and extensive wine list offered at the Bistrot de Venise will serve you well. Sergio Fragiacomo is a real gentleman, and one of the most compassionate people I have ever met.

Click here to go to The Bistrot's website:
http://www.bistrotdevenise.com/eng/index.html

Click here to read the Venetian Cat - Bistrot blog:
http://venetiancat-bistrot.blogspot.com/

If you look over there on the column on the right, you will see the rest of my sponsors, if you are in the market for eyeglasses (Vascellari) or jewelry (Arcobaleno)or (Ganesha), or even a short film about one woman's Carnival fantasies (StudioAC). The great thing about supporting any of my sponsors is that if you have any problems whatsoever, you can speak to me about it. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that is enough to strike terror in the heart of any evil company:) So you can be sure that all my sponsors are absolutely genuine and that you are getting good quality for the money you spend. Plus, they happen to be very nice human beings that are a joy to meet!

Ciao from Venice,
Cat

Cat Bauer

Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog