Saturday 26th July This morning we vacated our lovely tiny Venice boudoir, walked the tangled lanes back to the water-bus and floated down the gorgeous Grand Canal for the last time past palaces like the Ca d’Or and hotels like the Casino which has been there since the C17th.
We travelled first class in air conditioned comfort (for the first and only time on this trip) on the streamlined Freccia train from Venice to Florence stopping only at Venice mainland, Padua and Bologna. The only downside of training around Italy is that much of the journey is underground because their very fast trains go through the mountains and hills not over them.
Our hotel Giglio, again tiny and well hidden on one floor of a large building is well situated just a few blocks from the Duomo and we were greeted in Florence by the rare experience of light rain and a much cooler than expected day although still with high humidity. We were in Florence in the early afternoon and took the opportunity to find a laundromat and catch up with our washing.
There is so much to see in Europe’s real cultural capital (Malta doesn’t stand a chance really) so we will have to choose carefully. Our room looks out in two directions on treed gardens and we have our own Romeo and Juliet balcony so it is tres romantique! One of the joys of travelling especially by train is meeting up with many people from every nation under the sun. We travelled to day in the same section with two New Zealand women who have spent their lives since they were teenagers in Sacramento California.
I have been reading more of Ruskin’s view that art is only of value when it enlightens the human Spirit and gives glory and honour to Providence and has no value at all when it is simply the artist taking delight in his/her own skills. Writing at the time of the Indian mutiny I can understand his intense hatred of all things Indian in Art but I fear he has allowed his theory to be overrun by cultural bias. I am sure Ruskin wouldn’t get an invite to open any galleries if he was alive today although even in the 1850’s he seemed aware that his views would not be favourably received especially along with his very precise delineation of what is and is not good and intelligent design..(used in a sense very differently from Dembski, Behe and co!)
Tonight after a very indifferent and highly expensive meal in St Mark’s Square we are sitting writing our blog and emails in the foyer of the hotel because, as with Greece, the only decent wifi in the hotel is near the modem on the front desk in the foyer. Tomorrow it will be 35 degrees again so our one day of cool is over and out as am I! Cheerio for now!
Herewith Ann beside one of the local trains in which we toured to Mantua and Vicenza with but mostly without air con.