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

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About hickson1

Art historian, professor, Italian Renaissance and Baroque specialist
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