In the height of the bathing season the Lido becomes German territory, and the chromatic pages of Lustige Blaetter are justified. German is the only language on the sea or on the sands, at any rate at the more costly establishments. The long stretch of sand between these establishments, with its myriad tents and boxes, belong permanently to the Italians and is not to be invaded; but the public parts are Teutonic. Here from morning till evening paunchy men with shaven heads lie naked or almost naked in the sun, acquiring first a shrivelling of the cuticle which amounts to flaying, and then the tanning which is so triumphantly borne back to the Fatherland. The water concerns them but little: it is the sunburn on the sands that they value. With them are merry, plump German women, who wear slightly more clothes than the men, and like water better, and every time they enter it send up the horizon. The unaccompanied men comfort themselves with cameras, with which, all unashamed and with a selective system of the most rigid partiality, they secure reminders of the women they think attractive, a Kodak and a hat being practically their only wear.
Professional photographers are there too, and on a little platform a combined chiropodist and barber plies his antithetical trades in the full view of the company.
The Lido waters are admirably adapted for those who prefer to frolic rather than to swim. Ropes indicate the shallow area. There is then a stretch of sea, which is perhaps eight feet deep at the deepest, for about twenty yards, and then a sandy shoal arises where the depth is not more than three to four feet. Since only the swimmers can reach this vantage ground, one soon learns which they are. But, as I say, the sea takes a secondary place and is used chiefly as a corrective to the sun’s rays when they have become too hot. “Come unto those yellow sands!” is the real cry of the Lido as heard in Berlin.
ON FOOT. IV: FROM THE DOGANA TO S. SEBASTIANO
The Dogana—A scene of shipping—The Giudecca Canal—On the Zattere—The debt of Venice to Ruskin—An artists’ bridge—The painters of Venice—Turner and Whistler—A removal—S. Trovaso—Browning on the Zattere—S. Sebastiano—The life of Paul Veronese—S. Maria de Carmine—A Tuscan relief—A crowded calle—The grief of the bereaved.
For a cool day, after too much idling in gondolas, there is a good walk, tempered by an occasional picture, from the Custom House to S. Sebastiano and back to S. Mark’s. The first thing is to cross the Grand Canal, either by ferry or a steamer to the Salute, and then all is easy.
The Dogana, as seen from Venice and from the water, is as familiar a sight almost as S. Mark’s or the Doges’ Palace, with its white stone columns, and the two giants supporting the globe, and the beautiful thistledown figure holding out his cloak to catch the wind. Everyone who has been to Venice can recall this scene and the decisive way in which the Dogana thrusts into the lagoon like the prow of a ship of which the Salute’s domes form the canvas. But to see Venice from the Dogana is a rarer experience.