Categories
Italy (Venice)

Going to the hospital in Venice

H is for Ospedale

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Ospedale SS Giovanni e Paolo Venice

I’m betting that the question, “Wonder where the hospital is around here?” passes through the minds of most visitors to Venice… at least those visitors who stay on the island and think about where they would go if they twisted an ankle or suffered whiplash doing a double-take at an especially handsome gondolier.

Last Sunday, my daughter and I wound up at the hospital without really meaning to. We intended to go see the church, Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo (the Basilica of St. John and Paul). In 2017, I had purchased a little folding picture book of the top ten Venice sights and this church was on that list.

During the week that we visited back then, we simply didn’t get everything accomplished. Back home after our trip, I realized that if I was ever to return to Venice, this church would be on my list of sights to see.

And when one sees this church, one also has the opportunity to see the Venice hospital, the Ospedale SS Giovanni E Paolo Venice. That’s because the church is literally connected to the hospital building. You can enter the hospital from either the black front doors (as seen in the photo above) or you can enter from the backside, which borders the waters of the lagoon.

My daughter and I decided to take the water route around the back of the island. My daughter had never actually ventured on the vaporetto route past her Santa Elena stop, so this was a first-time experience for her, too.

Here’s the sign in the vaporetto bus stop that shows the stop for the Ospedale (Italian for hospital). Note the international symbol for hospital, “H,” below the line.

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Signs like these are posted inside the vaporetto bus stops.
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My daughter has become especially adept at navigating around Venice on water buses, known as vaporetti.

We traveled around the backside of the island to eventually arrive at the church; we didn’t realize it at the time, but the church is joined to the hospital.

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This map is courtesy of The Venice Insider. The “3” in the picture above marks the hospital’s location. Santa Elena is included in the area inside the green oval.

Here are some more pictures from the vaporetto ride around to the hospital and the basilica.

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The park-like Santa Elena neighborhood of Castello in Venice features lots of bright red wooden park benches.
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This is a view of part of The Arsenale, the area within Castello that was once included shipyards and armories.  The unique “Building Bridges” hands sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn has been installed to commemorate the Venice Biennale.
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Almost there! More of the Arsenale area.

According to The Venice Insider, the hospital grounds are not open for tourists. That being the case, I hesitated to take lots of pictures. However, I did snap a few. Here’s a picture of a modern-looking inner garden area you’ll walk through after leaving the vaporetto and walking through the first doors you come to.

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I took this picture after walking through this inner courtyard.

Katherine’s roommate had told us to look for the gardens with all the cats. We thought that this was the garden she meant. We were wrong, as you will soon see.

Before we would find the garden full of cats, we walked by the Emergency Room doors. Here it is, for all you ankle twisters or gondolier gawkers:

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The E.R.

Keep walking past the ER and you will eventually arrive at a beautiful garden, surrounded by loggia walkways and filled with about a dozen stray cats.

Residents and visitors alike care for Venice’s many feral felines. The kitties are quite comfortable during the warmer months. I’ve read that the cat population can become a problem during cooler temperatures and that there are volunteer groups that help with the problem.

 

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Notice the black and white cat sleeping under the flower pot in the center of the photo. Photo: Katherine Yung
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Photo: Katherine Yung
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This cat is so relaxed we thought he was sick, or worse. No, just very content. Photo: Katherine Yung

After you exit the cat garden, you’ll pass through an exit where you can continue on to the wards of the hospital or turn left to the Scuole Grande, which leads eventually leads outside to the campo with Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

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This is a photo looking back outside from the hallway leading to the Scuole Grande, religious and social groups that provided charitable services, including hospitals. If you turn to the right outside these doors, you will return to the cat garden.

If you continue down these steps, you will enter this grand entrance hall. There are doors and hallways that lead from this hall. This is the Scuole Grande (see caption above). At the end of this hall, is the front door of the hospital shown in the elaborate facade in the first picture of this article.

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Entrance hall just inside the front facade entrance to the hospital. The cat garden and ER are at the far end of this hallway. Most people needing ER services would, I imagine, enter from the backside along the main waterway.

And this brings us to the front entrance of the hospital on the campo, the large square that is the “city center” of this area of Castello.

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In effect, this post has brought you to the hospital from the backside along the water, to the very front door, which is shown in this photo at the far left (see the oval-topped dark door that blends in with the light post).

And this also brings us to the close of this post. I will continue this post tomorrow with our visit to the basilica where you will meet a die-hard Venetian who gave us some very good and timely advice on how to be “better tourists.”


Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow for the continuation of our Sunday morning in Venice. Click like, leave a comment, and be sure to follow my blog for the next installment. 

Categories
Art & Architecture Italy (Venice)

A Visit to the Venice Biennale 2019

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A photo of my daughter from the Venezuelan pavilion.  I liked that she was out of focus.

“May You Live in Interesting Times”

In interesting times, artists create. In uninteresting times, artists still create. Regardless of the global political climate, the Venice Biennale—the Olympics of art where countries each exhibit in their own pavilion or exhibit space—continues. Sure, some countries may decline to participate from year to year or may be late in readying their exhibits (such as tumultuous Venezuela this year); however, for the Biennale… the show must go on.

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A ticket good for entry at the Giardini and Arsenale portions of the Biennale cost 25€. You purchase them at a row of red ticket counters shown at left in this photo.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Venice Biennale, here’s a quick summary from the Biennale website:

The Venice Biennale has been for over 120 years one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world. Established in 1895, the Biennale has an attendance today of over 500,000 visitors at the Art Exhibition. The history of the La Biennale di Venezia dates back from 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. In the 1930s new festivals were born: Music, Cinema, and Theatre (the Venice Film Festival in 1932 was the first film festival in history). In 1980 the first International Architecture Exhibition took place, and in 1999 Dance made its debut at La Biennale.

An over-arching theme characterizes each Biennale. This year’s theme, “May You Live in Interesting Times,” encourages people to avoid the quick judgment, the stereotype, the single-lens viewing of current world events.

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A collection of brochures I collected during our visit. The Biennale brochure reads, “May You Live in Interesting Times.”

According to Biennale President Paolo Baratta, “the expression ‘interesting times’ evokes the idea of challenging or even ‘menacing’ times, but it could also simply be an invitation to always see and consider the course of human events in their complexity, an invitation, thus, that appears to be particularly important in times when, too often, oversimplification seems to prevail, generated by conformism or fear.”

Another way to put it: allow art to show you the many ways of looking at the world.

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Inside the Swiss Pavilion, we watched the video entitled, “Moving Backwards.”

Last Friday (June 14), I visited the Biennale with my daughter, who is an intern in the United States Pavilion. The United States’ participation is primarily a function of the Department of State, which “supports official U.S. participation at select international art exhibitions called biennales. The Department’s support ensures that the excellence, vitality, and diversity of American arts are effectively showcased abroad and provides an opportunity to engage foreign audiences to increase mutual understanding.” In other words, exhibiting at the Biennale is another way to build and maintain positive relationships around the world.

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The Canadian Pavilion is shown on the left in photo above. Their media company showcasing inside is called Isuma. The German Pavilion stands on the far right.

As for the U.S. Pavilion’s intern program, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a well-known modern art museum in Venice, handles the hiring of the interns who provide guarding of the exhibits, inform visitors about the various works, and generally are the main points-of-contact for visitors touring through the pavilions. (Two years ago, my daughter served an internship at the museum; when they issued a call for former interns interested in returning to work the Biennale, she quickly applied.)

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The German Pavilion exhibit: industrial, cold, and futuristic.

We arrived at the portion of the show held on the ground of Venice’s Giardini (Italian for garden). Visitors can see another section of the show at the adjacent Arsenale. In addition, more pavilions are scattered throughout the city. For example, we walked by the door to the Mongolian exhibit in a dark, narrow street somewhere in the San Marco area of the city.

From the Russian Pavilion. These figures were only one component to the entire Russian offering, which was inspired by Flemish painters.

During our three-hour visit, we saw fourteen exhibits out of the 79 participating in the Biennale this year. That doesn’t sound like that many, does it? Especially when you know there are art lovers who allot several days to see all the exhibits. To them, I say, “Go you!”

However, since I only had four full days in Venice, and one of those was spent in Bologna (see my next post!), we prioritized.

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Waiting in line to the British Pavilion.

Plus, we knew that a visit to the best gelato in town, Suso, was in order for the afternoon. This would require a thirty-minute vaporetto ride down the Grand Canal from the Giardini. Sheesh… the price we pay for good gelato!

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Works by Cathy Wilkes inside the British Pavilion.

Enjoy these photos! I’ve attempted to add some details in the captions and, looking back now, I should have written this post immediately after our visit to better capture the ambiance of our visit. But when one is in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, you want to get out and see it—not stay in and write about it.

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The front of the U.S. Pavilion, which features the work of Martin Puryear.
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And now, the back of the opening piece.
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A red Phrygian cap, also known as a French liberty cap. This is made of wood. My daughter says everyone wants to touch it.

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A Confederate Civil War cap. Look in the crosshairs to see yourself.
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Bronze, but doesn’t look like bronze.
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Detail of the bronze.
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The gallery label for the Martin Puryear exhibition inside the U.S. Pavilion. I do not have photos of every piece in the show. There were several more.
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I figured that if we are visiting Greece this summer, we should probably go see the Greek pavilion.
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Walking on glass cups inside the Greek pavilion.
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Countries from around the world participate. Here’s the Uruguay Pavilion. Not sure why I don’t have a photo from inside. No offense, Uruguay.
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Work inside the Czechoslovakia Pavilion.
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The Nordic countries participate in one exhibition hall. Every Biennale, one of those nations also has its own additional pavilion. This year, it was Finland’s turn, but I did not take pictures of that show. 
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Inside the Nordic Pavilion.
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This assemblage inside the Belgium Pavilion was eerily irresistible.
This installation within the Belgium Pavilion was eerily fascinating. Every figure is moving and making something… pottery, bread, cloth, music, a painting. The taskmaster controls it all with the ringing of the bell.
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The Egypt Pavilion
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Japan Pavilion
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A video piece inside the Japan Pavilion.
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We walked over this canal to see the back portion of the Giardini area of the Biennale.

Thanks for reading! As you can see, there is too much to see at the Venice Biennale without spending days there. In addition, to really study the art and understand its motivation and full message deserves much more time than we were able to devote. Still, if you have the desire to see art on a global scale, the Venice Biennale is where you need to go. Click like if you enjoyed this post, and feel free to leave a comment or follow my blog for my next post from Bologna!