Saturday, June 18, 2016

Italy Blog #5: Venice; The Beaked Doctor, a University and Dorsoduro

The Beaked Doctor, Tom and our guide, Matteo
In this 5th blog of our Italy trip we're taking you on a walking tour of the island of Dorsoduro where our hotel was located. When we came upon a mask shop (and there are a lot of them in Venice) we learned about the history of beaked doctor figure while Tom and our guide Matteo posed for a picture.

BTW - If you've read or want to read Dan Brown's newest book Inferno, it takes place part of the time in Venice, and the "Beaked Doctor" is an interesting part of the story.

WHAT IS THE BEAKED DOCTOR ABOUT? It's actually a long nose on a mask that appears like a large bird's beak. It was developed to help doctors in the 17th century treat plague victims. The entire outfit, mask and robes are called "The plague doctor's costume."  It was to protect doctors from inhaling airborne diseases. The costume, originating in the 17th century, consisted of an ankle length overcoat and a bird-like beak mask often filled with sweet or strong smelling substances (commonly lavender), along with gloves, boots, a brim hat, and an outer over-clothing garment

A street in Dorsoduro
This costume was also worn by plague doctors during the Plague of 1656, which killed 145,000 people in Rome and 300,000 in Naples. The costume terrified people because it was a sign of imminent death. Plague doctors wore these protective costumes in accordance with their agreements when they attended their plague patients.

We walked through hidden streets and over many little bridges,as canals are the streets of each island. Dorsoduro is one of the six sestieri of Venice, in northern Italy. Dorsoduro includes the highest land areas of the city and also Giudecca island and Isola Sacca Fisola.
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The island was filed with small shops and restaurants. It was interesting to see that the water levels in the canals were right up to the doorways of many buildings.

Water levels are at doorstop height
We stopped at University Ca'Foscari Venezi, where Matteo explained erosion that has occurred and all of the restoration that has been ongoing throughout the city's structures for hundreds of years.

Since its foundation in 1868 it has been housed in the Venetian Gothic palace of Ca' Foscari, from which it takes its name. The palace stands on the Grand Canal. The institute became a university in 1968. It currently has eight departments and almost 19,000 students


Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next