Vivaldi in Venice

Tours for January / February / March 2018

What we will see in Venice

Each day the tour explores a different aspect of Vivaldi and his relationship with Venice, but three of the areas of the city that will come up time and time again are

St Mark’s Square, St Mark’s Basin, and the Grand Canal.

View across St Mark’s BasinIMG_4723Palazzo Ducale – one of the views that we will see almost every day

Piazza San Marco looking towards San Giorgio MaggioreView to the Lagoon from the Grand Canal

On the Grand Canal with Santa Maria della Salute in the distance

The Ca’ d’Oro Palace

On the first day we will make our way down the Grand Canal to the Ca’ d’Oro Palace to view its magnificent art collection.  It is here, surrounded by art and sculpture, that Peter will introduce and discuss the key aesthetics of Venetian music and art, and how they impact on the music of Vivaldi and his contemporaries

Ca’ d’Oro Palace: Venetian Gothic tracery

Ca’ d’Oro Palace

La Fenice opera house

The Venetian opera house, La Fenice, is one of the finest in the world and has famously burnt down twice in recent years.  However in 2005, it was been restored to its former glory and today is looking magnificent both on the inside and out.  We will be given a private tour of the theatre and afterwards attend a lunch in one of La Fenice’s historic rooms that escaped the fires.

La Fenice: main entrance

La Fenice: the auditorium

Fondazione Querini Stampalia

The Querini Stampalia is a museum devoted to life in 18th century Venice and contains a range of periods paintings, sculpture, porcelain and furniture.  Below is the music room showing instruments ranging from violins and flutes to oboes and early piano.  On the walls can be seen paintings by Pietro Longhi – the Hogarth of Venice – showing scenes of city life.

Querini Stampalia Museum: the music room

Querini Stampalia Museum: Bust of a Boy by Michele Fabris

Ospedale della Pietà

The Ospedale della Pietà (one of four charitable institutions fin Venice or orphans and abandoned children) was the foundation with which Vivaldi had a lifetime connection (1703 -1739) and it was for them that the bulk of his concertos and religious music was written.  The musical standard reached in the Pietà Chapel – and those of the other Ospedali – was so great, that large congregations were attracted to them in order to hear the choirs and instrumentalists perform, especially in Lent, when music in other churches tended to be less elaborate.  After a wander through the museum, Peter will give an organ recital in the church.

Ospedale della Pietà: façade of the church

Ospedale della Pietà: the museum

Ospedale della Pietà: double bass in the museum collection

Ospedale della Pietà: the organ gallery in the church

Ospedale della Pietà: the organ

St Mark’s at night

We pay a visit one evening after dark to the Basilica of St Mark’s for a private viewing of the magnificent mosaics which adorn its internal walls and floors. The Basilica will be lit with arclights and this allows the mosaics to be seen at their most vibrant.  St Mark’s has over 4,000 square metres of gleaming golden mosaics, the earliest dating from the 12th century.

St Mark’s at night

St Mark’s: looking towards the apse above the high altar

St Mark’s: the crossing

St Mark’s: the tomb of St Mark

St Mark’s: a fresco in the crypt

St Mark’s: the crypt

San Martino

The church of San Martino (built between 1540 and 1619 by Jacopo Sansovino) is tucked away in one of the back streets of Venice.  We are going to pay a visit here because Vivaldi is known to have played the organ here and Peter is going to do the same.

San Martino: the nave looking back to the organ gallery

San Martino: the organ

Places seen on our walks through the city

As we make our way around Venice, we will have the chance to seeing a range of fascinating buildings and locations.  Here are a few examples

Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli

Scuola Grande di San Marco

Scuola Grande di San Marco: St Mark’s lion on the façade

St Mark’s Clock, St Mark’s Square.  The first clock housed in the tower was built and installed by Gian Paolo and Gian Carlo Rainieri, father and son, between 1496 and 1499.  It has had many restorations over the centuries, the last one in 2006.

Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Derelitti: the façade

San Giovanni in Bragora

Vivaldi was baptised in the church of San Giovanni in Bragora in 1678 and an entry in the baptismal register records the event.

San Giovanni in Bragora: Peter will give an organ recital here

San Giovanni in Bragora:the chamber organ which Peter will play

San Giovanni in Bragora: entry of Vivaldi’s name in the baptismal register of the church

Galleria dell’Accademia

The Gallerie dell’Accademia displays pre 19thcentury art in Venice and is housed in the Scuola della Carità on the south bank of the Grand Canal.  Here we will enjoy looking at works by Bellini, Longhi and Veronese.

Gallerie dell’Accademia: Giovanni Bellini – Madonna with Child, musical angels, St Francis, John the Baptist, and St Sebastian

Gallerie dell’Accademia: Giovanni Bellini – detail of crumhorn playing angel

Gallerie dell’Accademia: paintings by Veronese

Annunciation (left) and Mystical Marriage of St Catherine (right)

Gallerie dell’Accademia: Pietro Longhi – A musical Party

A day visiting the islands

We will spend one full day with a private boat trip visiting some of the local islands close to Venice. These include Isola di San Michele (Venice’s cemetery, where we see the graves of Diaghilev, Stravinsky, Luigi Nono and Ezra Pound), Torcello, Murano and Burano.

The coloured houses on the island of Burano.  The composer Baldesaro Galuppi was born on the island in 1706 and in the market square is a statue commemorating  Burano’s great son.  Peter will give an organ recital in the cchurch of San Martino of music by Galuppi.

Burano: statue of Baldesaro Galuppi in the market square

Isola di San Michele: grave of Diaghilev

Torcello: Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Torcello was the first lagoon island to be populated. However, in the ensuing centuries the inhabitants battled against malaria-carrying mosquitos and by the late 14th century most people had removed themselves to Venice proper and other nearby islands.  Today it has a population of 10 official inhabitants.  We will visit the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta to view the mosaics.

Torcello: mosaics in the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta


Torcello: setting sun over the lagoon

The Lagoon: returning to Venice from Burano