Today we set the record for our earliest call time yet. We met at 6:30AM to catch the sunrise (and avoid the crowds) in the morning. This experience was really special because it felt as we had all of St. Mark’s Square to ourselves. The only people up at this hour were men tending to the boats and a few stray tourists here and there. The sight before us was beautiful as we were able to enjoy it in peace. We all completed a watercolor painting and were able to soak in Venice in all its glory.
Later in the afternoon we arrived at La Fenice for our guided tour. This truly was an amazing sight to behold. The interior was composed of intricate woodwork adorned in a dazzling gold leaf that caught the eye. The soft velvet pink of the furnishings perfectly complemented the lagoon blue green in the viewing boxes. This was the epitome of pure decadence. Despite all of the elaborate garnishing I found myself drawn to the simplicity of the restorations.
As we learned La Fenice had to overcome to devastating fires. In these unfortunate occurrences many of the original infrastructure had been destroyed. Luckily however, they were able to salvage certain aspects and use it towards the repairs. In many of the upstairs rooms there were large portions that had been damaged. But, in the process of rebuilding they had kept the fragments of the room and framed the new interior around it.
Our tour guide Nadia pointed out that you could detect the original from the renovated by simply looking at the color. The older pieces seemed a bit worn with slight greying from being charred. Whereas the more current fragments were a bit brighter and even. Artwork had also been damaged in some of the fires. An interesting aspect was they had added a recreation of what was missing to complete the painting. But it was more of a sketch than anything, leaving a phantom of what was.
These small details really added to the experience, it made everything seem perfectly imperfect. We were able to see the past and present existing concurrently before our eyes. In doing so, I strongly believe they were able to show the resilience of La Fenice. Further, reminding us that no matter what
the phoenix will always rise from the ashes.