Calle delle Botteghe

Venice does not have streets – it has ‘calle’, long corridors that extend like silk filaments, joining the squares (not called ‘piazze’ but ‘campi’) – this network superimposed on the veiny canals – warp and weft, tensile strength disguised as gossamer trails.

‘Botteghe’ are shops of course – a route of shops off the corner of the broad Campo Santo Stefano, one of my favorite campi – home of Le Cafe, a coffee and tea shop with the most heavenly-flaky marmelatte-laden morning brioches, frothy caffe latte, foam licked from long-handled silver spoons. This is the window of ‘Arcobaleno’ which, appropriately, means ‘rainbow’ – ground pigments for artists’ palettes.  

Lord Byron, in whose Venetian digs I was living, wrote “be thou the rainbow in the storms of life” – I don’t think of Byron as someone who introduced much sunshine or many rainbows into the lives of others, but I suppose that was precisely his point. I did like to imagine him with his monkeys and foxes wandering the halls of Palazzo Mocenigo and contemplating the cantos of Don Juan.Image


About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist, Italophile
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