Another calle, the Cavalli, and then a comfortable-looking house with a roof garden and green and yellow posts, opposite which the fondamenta comes to an end. Fenimore Cooper, the novelist of the Red Man, made this palace his home for a while. The pretty little Palazzo Valmarana comes next, and then the gigantic, sombre Grimani with its stone as dark as a Bath or Bloomsbury mansion, which now is Venice’s Court of Appeal. The architect was the famous Michele Sammicheli who also designed the Lido’s forts. Then the Rio di S. Luca and the Palazzo Contarini, with rich blue posts with white rings, very striking, and two reliefs of horses on the facade. Next a very tiny pretty little Tron Palace; then a second Tron, and then the dreary Martinengo, now the Bank of Naples. In its heyday Titian was a frequent visitor here, its owner, Martino d’Anna, a Flemish merchant, being an intimate friend, and Pordenone painted its walls.
Another calle and traghetto and we come to a very commonplace house, and then, after a cinematograph office and another calle, to the Palazzo Benzon, famous a hundred years ago for its literary and artistic receptions, and now spruce and modern with more of the striking blue posts, the most vivid on the canal. In this house Byron has often been; hither he brought Moore. It is spacious but tawdry, and its plate-glass gives one a shock. Then the Rio Michiel and then the Tornielli, very dull, the Curti, decayed, and the Rio dell’Albero. After the rio, the fine blackened Corner Spinelli with porphyry insets. At the steamboat station of S. Angelo are new buildings—one a very pretty red brick and stone, one with a loggia—standing on the site of the Teatro S. Angelo. After the Rio S. Angelo we come to a palace which I always admire: red brick and massive, with good Gothic windows and a bold relief of cupids at the top. It is the Garzoni Palace and now an antiquity dealer’s.
A calle and traghetto next, a shed with a shrine on its wall, a little neat modern house and the Palazzo Corner with its common new glass, and we are abreast the first of the three Mocenigo palaces, with the blue and white striped posts and gold tops, in the middle one of which Byron settled in 1818 and wrote Beppo and began Don Juan and did not a little mischief.
THE GRAND CANAL. V: BYRON IN VENICE
The beautiful Marianna—Rum-punch—The Palazzo Albrizzi—A play at the Fenice—The sick Ballerina—The gondola—Praise of Italy—Beppo—Childe Harold—Riding on the Lido—The inquisitive English—Shelley in Venice—Julian and Maddalo—The view from the Lido—The madhouse—The Ducal prisons.