Saturday, 19 September 2009

'The greenest island of my imagination' (Byron on Venice)

Le Vignole is an isolated island dotted with farmsteads and vineyards and literally, wildly different to its neighbour, Venice. Its vineyards gave the island its name. The Isola di Sant'Erasmo (St. Erasmus) is the largest island in the Venetian lagoon, but it's only sparsely populated. It comes as a surprise, after days of exclusively floating past water transport to see vehicles including agricultural tractors near the shore and a small car park full of scooters near the vaporetti stop. The mind leaps to questions of logistics, ‘how did those get there?’ The island is particularly renowned for it’s artichokes, carciofi and is known as Venice’s market garden.
We had hoped to take a temporary mooring at Le Vignole (free short-stop moorings being clearly marked on the navigation maps) to ride the vaporetti to Murano to restock the kitchen cupboards, but meet with an irate workman with his boat demanding our space, his manic shrugging of shoulders and tutting and clucking and our lack of a shared language made an argument redundant, we gave way. He indicated a mooring under a low bridge but to get to it we had to circumnavigate the island. The mooring turned out to be nonexistent, a ploy to remove us, no doubt, but the trip around the island most pleasant. That still left us provision less, so we decided to head for Certosa. In recent times the island was used for the manufacture of gunpowder and its disused buildings are being slowly but lovingly restored.
Out of adversity one can find perfection and the mooring we found at Certosa turned out to be a little haven, a safe harbour from any miffed locals gesticulating storm. It's virtues include unhindered views of Venice (from our mooring), the helpful and willing staff of Vento di Venezia, the surrounding parkland full of monumental artworks and an amazing pontoon out into the lagoon holding a ‘request only’ vaporetti stop. The marina has a free water-taxi service after 9pm, an exciting high-speed zoom across dark and churning frenetic waterways (real men are expected to balance and stand in the wind and spray, love it). By the way, have I mentioned the Venetian men yet;-)Huge poster outside the marina offices of Vento di Venezia showing the island, its parkland and the extraordinary pontoon (left) leading to the request vaporetti stop. We have the first mooring at the mouth of the inlet overlooking Venice, fantastic.
Views of Venice from the mooring on Certosa.
On the way 'home' from provision shopping on Murano.
A long exposure of the night lights of Venice from the boat after a water-taxi has rippled by.
Monumental art work, part of the Venice Biennale, on Certosa. The coloured lozenge shapes are glass and the interiors of the posts light up and shine through the glass at night.


Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Fay I'm mildy jealous. OK, truth, very jealous, It might sound a little mad but I could do with a holiday right now.

Murano, where the fabulous glass comes from, right?

If you get a min, tell me more about the food.

Woodland Fay said...

You certainly sound from your blog as if you will have earned a holiday! It is said the nobody ever visits Venice for the food, but there are some great classics to be had, especially the sea food.
Will be back by next weekend and I'll be visiting a good fishmongers in Watford Market (you may know it, not as romantically placed as the Venice Fish Market in the shadow of the Rialto) to try to reproduce a couple, particularly the octopus, langoustine and sardine dishes. In haste, with sgroppino in hand, cheers F

dogenzenji said...

Nice to see you blogging Fay

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder how wonderful Italy is. Loved reading about your trip.

Linda Richichi said...

Thanks for the reminder how wonderful Italy is. Loved reading about your trip.

Woodland Fay said...

dogenzenji - love you photo blog, just having trouble leaving you feedback. Don't get too attached to those dam clever filters though!
Linda Richichi - thanks for popping by, yes Italy, swoon!! Back now and have a wine harvest to gather. And a tomato harvest. And a squash harvest. And a bean harvest..............etc phew.