I was inadvertently locked into a Venetian church today. Luckily for me, it was my favourite church: Madonna dell’Orto, or Madonna of the Allotments. The allotments allude to the space in front of the church, which used to be vegetable gardens but now are paved over, but with a kind of a nod to the old gardens, with a patterned pavement showing a herringbone pattern where the plots used to be.
I’m on the trail of gardens here, having read a year or two ago that Venice is one third gardens two thirds buildings. (Can this be true? They must be very well hidden if so). Anyway, back to the story. I was walking along the Fondamenta towards my favourite church, photographing enticing glimpses of hidden gardens as I went. I was also on the trail of Tintoretto, a marvellous Venetian painter, who is
buried at this church, having been born 76 years earlier in 1518 in a house just round the corner in the Fondamenta dei Mori.
I went to see his paintings in the Scuola di San Rocco a day or so ago, http://www.scuolagrandesanrocco.it/ and wanted to pay homage to this extraordinary painter, who would have been a movie director I’m sure if he had lived today.
Sorry, I’ve digressed a lot. Anyway, the church was shut until 10 am, 20 minutes later. I decided to wait, then out came a cleric and I asked him if I could go in and he said yes, so in I went. Had a marvellous time communing with Tintoretto at his tomb and the Madonna of the Allotments, a
statue by Antonio Rizzo (allegedly miraculous says Wikipedia). Went to leave, and found someone had locked the doors again. So I stayed in, happily, as there is so much to see in this wonderful church, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_dell%27Orto and when the seller of tickets at the entrance turned up at 10 am, she behaved as if I were not there at all. Maybe I had become miraculously invisible.
(By the way, Wikipedia says Orto is the nearby orchard. I was told it was the gardens in front. Who knows, it’s a good story anyway)