S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

A visit to Big Ben

For the last year or two, the Torre dell'horologio (Clock tower) in the Piazza S. Marco has been under restoration. Now in the last several years, one of the nicest features a set of Venetian scaffolding can offer is a life-sized photo of what the building underneath the scaffolding looks like. It not only makes the scaffolding look better, but is a useful service to tourists who can't see what the building is that is there under wraps - at least they have a sense of it. But something else entirely has been happening with this tower - a series of tower-sized photographs of other major tall towers in Europe and New York. Having worked their way through the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Eiffel Tower, we're now up to a large multi-sided scaffolding depicting Big Ben. It's not quite like being in London for Boxing Day.

Today, we were a group of nine, three of us being eight years or fewer in age, pushing our way through the St. Stephen's Day crowds on a prolonged walking visit of the city. We passed through Campo S. Stefano, partially for convenience and partially in honor of the day - no going in the church, since we were such a motley crowd. Campo S. Marco was looking good, especially since the scaffolding on the left side of the basilica was removed only a week ago. The marble was luminously blue-white in the evening's shadows and fluorescent lights. In the Calle Large XXII Marzo, a musician played music from The Nutcracker on the glass harmonica, the notes as crystalline as the glasses from which they rang. On the Rialto, an Albanian choir sang French Christmas carols.

With my medievalist/history of science hat on, the most exciting gifts I received were copies of Alexander Neckham's De naturis rerum and Al-Fragani's Il ‘Libro dell’aggregazione delle stelle’, both from La Finestra editrice. Most of the other gifts I received are less condusive to helping me with research, with the possible exception of a nice selection of chocolates - including windmill-shaped ones.
Tags: holidays, venice

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