Other Doges who lie here are the two Contarini, Francesco (1623-1624) and Alvise (1676-1684), but neither was of account; and here, too, in his own chapel lies Alvise’s predecessor, Niccolo Sagredo (1674-1676) who had trouble in Candia for his constant companion. Of the Giustiniani only Marcantonio became a Doge and he succeeded Alvise Contarini not only to the throne but to the Candia difficulty, giving way after four years, in 1688, to the great soldier who solved it—Francesco Morosini.
ON FOOT. III. THE MERCERIA AND THE RIALTO
Walking in Venice—The late Colonel Douglas—Shops—The Merceria clock—S. Zulian—S. Salvatore—Sansovino—Carlo Goldoni—the Campo Bartolommeo and Mr. Howells—S. Giovanni Crisostomo—Piombo and Giorgione—A Sacristan artist—Marino Faliero’s house—SS. Apostoli and Tiepolo—Venetian skittles—A broad walk—Filled in canals—The Rialto Bridge—S. Giacomo di Rialto—The two Ghettos—The Rialto hunchback—Vegetables and fruits—The fish market—Symmetrical irony—S. Giovanni Elemosinario—A busy thoroughfare—Old books—The convivial gondoliers.
The best of Venice—Venice itself, that is—can never find its way into a book; and even if it did, no reader could extract it again. The best of Venice must be one’s own discovery and one’s own possession; and one must seek it, as Browning loved to do, in the narrow calli, in the tiny canals, in the smaller campi, or seated idly on bridges careless of time. Chiefly on foot does one realize the inner Venice.
I make no effort in this work to pass on any detailed account of my researches in this way. All I would say is that every calle leads to another; there is hardly a dull inch in the whole city; and for the weary some kind of resting-place—a church, a wine shop, a cafe, or a stone step—is always close by. If you are lost—and in Venice in the poorer populous districts a map is merely an aggravation of dismay, while there is no really good map of the city to be obtained—there is but one thing to do and that is to go on. Before very long you must of necessity come to a calle with more traffic than the others and then you need but flow with the stream to reach some recognizable centre; or merely say “San Marco” or “gondola” to the first boy and he will consider it a privilege to guide you. Do not, however give up before you must, for it is a privilege to be lost in Venice.
For those who prefer exercise to sitting in a gondola there is the stimulating and instructive book by the late Col. Douglas, Venice on Foot, which is a mine of information and interest; but I must admit that the title is against it. Youthful travellers in particular will have none of it. If Venice is anything at all to them, it is a city of water, every footstep in which is an act of treachery to romance.
Even they, however, are pleased to jostle in the Merceria.