Finally we have Sansovino’s mint, now S. Mark’s Library, with the steamboat bridge for passengers for the Giudecca and the Zattere in front of it, and then the corner of the matchless Old Library, and the Molo with all its life beneath the columns.
And now that we have completed the voyage of the Grand Canal, each way, let me remind the reader that although the largest palaces were situated there, they are not always the best. All over Venice are others as well worth study.
ISLAND AFTERNOONS’ ENTERTAINMENTS. I: MURANO, BURANO AND TORCELLO
The Campo Santo—The Vivarini—The glass-blowers—An artist at work—S. Pietro—A good Bellini—A keen sacristan—S. Donato—A foreign church—An enthusiast—Signor “Rooskin”—The blue Madonna—The voyage to Burano—The importunate boatman—A squalid town—The pretty lace workers—Torcello—A Christian exodus—Deserted temples—The bishop’s throne—The Last Judgment—The stone shutters—The Porto di Lido.
The cheap way to Murano is by the little penny steamer from the Fondamenta Nuova. This side of Venice is poor and squalid, but there is more fun here than anywhere else, for on Sundays the boys borrow any kind of craft that can be obtained and hold merry little regattas, which even those sardonic officials, the captains of the steamboats, respect: stopping or easing down so as to interfere with no event. But one should go to Murano by gondola, and go in the afternoon.
Starting anywhere near the Molo, this means that the route will be by the Rio del Palazzo, under the Ponte di Paglia and the Bridge of Sighs, between the Doges’ Palace and the prison; up the winding Rio di S. Maria Formosa, and then into the Rio dei Mendicanti with a glimpse of the superb Colleoni statue and SS. Giovanni e Paoli and the lions on the Scuola of S. Mark; under the bridge with a pretty Madonna on it; and so up the Rio dei Mendicanti, passing on the left a wineyard with two graceful round arches in it and then a pleasant garden with a pergola, and then a busy squero with men always at work on gondolas new or old. And so beneath a high bridge to the open lagoon, with the gay walls and sombre cypresses of the cemetery immediately in front and the island of Murano beyond.