The last days in Italy (sigh).
Day 121: About an hour from Brescia is Verona – where I will make home base for a a couple of days. From the station, I can catch Bus 23 Bus towards Via Pasa 1 Cap and ride for 7 minutes (6 stops) to Via Diaz 2, then walk 5 minutes up Via Scala to the Accademia Hotel.
The visit here is focused on the Castelvecchio, a prominent example of Gothic architecture of the Middle Ages. I am here to see two portrayals of Judith: dal Sole and Ricchi.
closed Mon; Tues-Sun: 9 am -7 pm (Ticket Office closes at 6 pm)
However, the other attractions deserving attention in Verona are the Roman ruins and the setting of Romeo and Juliet.
- On my way to the Museum, I will walk past the Arena – an enormous, spectacular Roman amphitheater from the 1st Century AD, crumbling on the outside but still functioning today. The outer ring was damaged during the earthquake of 1117 but the inner part is still intact. Where I get off the bus, the Porta Borsari is the remains of a Roman gate from at least the 2nd Century AD, but is almost certainly older.
- Juliet’s House (Casa di Giulietta) is a major destination, although the house has no connection with Shakespeare’s fictional characters. The balcony was added in 1936 and declared to be “Juliet’s house” to attract tourists. It worked: I will walk 3 minutes form my hotel to see it.
Day 122: Next expedition will be about an hour day trip from Verona in Trento to visit the Buonconsiglio Castle. From the station, Bus 7 towards Gocciadoro Arcate will take 4 minutes (2 stops) to get to the Castle. Here is where Girolamo Romanino painted Judith into the corner of the Loggia del Cortile dei Leoni of this VERY LARGE edifice.
(Apr-mid Nov) closed Mon; Tues-Sun: 10 am – 6 pm;
(mid Nov-Mar) closed Mon; Tues-Sun: 9.30 am – 5 pm
Then back to Verona for the next leg of the trip. To spend the night and pick up my bags.
Day 123: To Padua takes a little over an hour by train. Hope to leave my bags at the station and take Bus 10 about 15 minutes to the first stop but it may be tricky. I want to see a fresco of Judith by Guariento di Arpo in Accademia Galileiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (formerly Reggia Carrara – or palace of the Carrara’s). It is on the first floor of the Accademia, in what is today the Sala delle Adunanze (Assembly Hall) decorated with frescos telling episodes from the Old Testament, made between 1349 and 1354. But since it is not a museum, per se, do I have to join the Academy to get in?
for an appointment, call the office Mon-Fri 9am to 2pm
About 12 minutes back towards the station is the Musei Civici Agli Eremitani. I am looking for Orazio Marinali‘s marble Head of Holofernes and the poster by Max Bolden, My sweet Holofernes, that goes with it. But iIshould also visit the emotional crucifix by Giotto, with Mary wringing her hands as Jesus’s blood drips through the rocky earth – right into the empty eye sockets of a human skull.
Mon – closed; Tue-Sun: 9am to 7pm
Then onto the station and the next train that takes about an hour to Venice
Day 124: Venice. Sparking, stinking, sinking Venice. My first visit here as a young woman brought to mind a dirty version of Disneyland. Magical, but without the talking animals and with a lot more trash. Judith is smattered all over town in four different museums, so I will start with a central location in Oltre Il Giardino. It is a 10 minute walk from the station but lots of twists and turns so I will need that GPS to get around.
I hope to have time for three destinations today, starting with the Scuola Grande dei Carmini which is 10 minutes from the hotel. This is the location of Piazzetta‘s Judith – a small piece among opulent decoration of stuccoed ceilings, carved ebony paneling, and Tiepolo’s nine great canvases of religious themes in dynamic displays of color and movement. What vow of charity?
But I need to leave plenty of time to see another to view the wealth of the Gallerie dell’ Accademia, where there is not only a Judith by Giulia Lama but one of my favorite works of art EVER – DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man. Perfection. Plus a few other masters who portrayed Judith at some point in time: Carpaccio, Pietro Gaspari, Luca Giordano, Giorgione, Johann Liss, Lorenzo Lotto, Mantegna, Piazzetta, Preti, Tintoretto, Titian, and Veronese. Not too shabby for company.
Mon: 8.15 am – 2.00 pm; Tues-Sun: 8.15 am – 7.15 pm
One more stop: Ca’ Rezzonico. Museum of 18th-Century Venice. The goal is a Judith by Jacopo Amigoni. But in general, this museum is a window into the frivolous lifestyle of Venice 200 years ago – seen through the tastes and fashions of the wealthy Rezzonico family of merchants. It is also noteworthy as the last home of Robert Browning after the death of his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Tues – closed; Wed-Mon: 10am to 6pm (April-Oct) ; 10am to 5pm (Nov-March)
Then 20 minutes back to the hotel – if I can find it in the winding streets and canals.
Day 125: Starting out this morning, I have to see Piazza San Marco. It’s a “must” when you are in Venice. So I will begin with a 20 minute stroll through all the twisting streets to have breakfast in the shade of the tower. From here, it is only 15 minutes to Fondazione Querini Stampalia. This museum has a substantial art collection, specially of masterpieces of Venetian Baroque and Rococo, as well as a collection of twentieth century art representing Venice from the donation of the post-impressionist Venetian artist Eugenio Da Venezia. However, I am here looking for the enigmatic Judith by Vicenzo Catena.
Next 15 minute walk: the Ca’ Pesaro – a baroque marble palace facing the Grand Canal of Venice. Today it is the city of Venice’s museum of Modern Art, containing paintings or works by Bonnard, Chagall, Kandinsky, Klee, Rouault, Matisse, Moore, Morandi, De Chirico, Boccioni and others. The other I am here to see is Judith II by Klimt (the scary one, not the slutty one).
(Apr-Oct) every day 10 am – 6 pm; (Nov-Mar) every day 10 am – 5 pm
Day 126: Farewell to Venice and hail to Trieste – about 2 hours by rail, along the northern coast of the Adriatic Sea. What a strange location. A skinny long finger of Italy, that curls around the edge of the Adriatic that is the Gulf of Trieste. Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Austrian, Italian, Yugoslavian, free state under the UN, and finally Italian again: Trieste has had many governments. It’s artistic and cultural heritage includes old Roman architecture (the Roman theater, Arco di Riccardo, Museo di Storia), Austrian empire architecture and an atmosphere of metissage of Mediterranean styles.
The object of my travels is Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica di Trieste – to see Judith by Simone Brentana. A small museum with a nice cross-section of art, including Rubens, Velazquez, Canaletto, Cranach the Elder and Fra Lippi and an ornate salon “the Piemontese” used from the 15th to the 19th century with period pieces inside.
Mon – closed; Tues-Sun: 9 am – 1 pm
Nearby I can stay at the NH Trieste, just 5 minutes away on Corso Cavour. Last night in Italy. I already miss the place.