VENICE : Prelude to revival in Venice : A giant violin floats down the Grand Canal in a city no longer closed. 

In its 1,600-odd years, any number of phantasmagorical vessels have floated down Venice's Grand Canal, often during regattas or elaborate  ceremonies  dedicated to the sea.

On Saturday morning, a decidedly unusual head turner took a spin, a gigantic violin, carrying a string quartet playing Vivaldi's ''Four Seasons.''

The craft called ''Noah's Violin'' set out accompanied by an escort of gondolas, and in no time a small flotilla of motorboats, water taxis and traditional flat bottomed Venetian sandoli joined the violin as it glided from city hall, near the Rialto Bridge, to the ancient Customs House across from Piazza San Marco - about an hour's journey.

The vessel is a faithful, large-scale model of a real violin, made from about a dozen different kinds of wood, with space for motor. In addition to the artistry involved, it took a lot of tinkering and nautical expertise to make it seaworthy, its makers say.

''It was a novelty for us, too,'' said Michele Pitteri, a member of the Consorzio Venezia Sviluppo, which financed the boat and built it along with Livio De Marchi, a Venetian artist, who conceived the idea during last year's lockdown.

'' The violin is a sign of Venice restarting'' after the lockdown, De Marchi said Friday during an interview in his art-filled workshop off a narrow Venetian alley in San Marco district.

De Marchi named the work ''Noah's Violin'' because, like the ark, it was meant to bring a message of hope after a storm, in this case a message that promoted ''art, culture and music,'' he said.

It's no coincidence that the journey down the Grand Canal was plotted to end beside the church of La Salute, Italian for health, in the Dorsoduro district, which was built as votive offering to the Virgin Mary for deliverance from plague that decimated the city in 1630.

Why a violin? De Marchi is a big fan of Vivaldi, who was the native of Venice and is venerated in the city. De Marchi added that he always regretted not having learned to play an instrument.

The gigantic simulacrum was the next best thing, he said.

The boat was steered by a helmsman dressed in a black cape and wearing black tricorn hat, like those popular in the 18th century. ''I wanted him to channel the spirit of Vivalsi,'' De Marchi said 

The Venice branch of the National Confederation of Artisans [CNA], which represents small business interests, helped with contacts and permits, said Roberto Paladini, the director of CNA Venice.

Financing initiatives like ''Noah's Violin'' helped shine a light on artisans in a city  where tourism has overtaken other activities, Paladini said.

People gathered over the Ponte del-IpAccdemia and along the paved banks of the Grand Canal to watch the floating concert that included works by Bach and Schubert. Bemused travelers took photos from  vaporettos, the large public transport boats.

The World Students Society thanks author Elisabetta Povoledo.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!