For those of you who are avid readers, I would suggest the book, City of Fallen Angels. Its about the burning of the Fenice Opera House here in Venice a few years back. The fact that a historic building on a small island burnt to the ground and the rest of the island was saved is amazing and this story covers that. But it also delves into the possible reasons for the burning as well as getting into some of the society life here in Venice. Overall, very interesting.
The reason I suggest this is that in the book there is reference to a group called "Save Venice". Its not exactly a glowing report but still interesting. Basically a group of wealthy philanthropic people from NY/Boston area who have become concerned with the history/decay/restoration of Venice and do fund raisers, etc. to fund these things. You know--the really wealthy folks! I almost didnt think it was a true organization because of some of the storyline.
I made contact with a gal here in Venice who is from Boston and married to a Venetian. Really nice girl and a newfound friend. Her and her husband have about 6 apts here that they rent out for tourists. She invited me to a lecture and cocktail event from the Save Venice group yesterday about Tintoretto (painter). The lecture was in Italian which was good practice for my listening ear but the really interesting part is that some of the people from the book were there!
It was surreal being there drinking Bellini's with people I have read about. These are 'old money' people--a crowd I have never been associated with or hung out with before in life. What a great treat. I met a famous opera singer (although I know nothing about opera, you and I will have to take it as true). Nice lady...spoke with such enunciation. Met the son of one of the founders of the organization--he is the curator of Italian art in some Boston museum, etc. His knowledge is amazing. If I could get just a one hour tour with him to some church or museum here in Venice, my life would be greatly enhanced. But let me assure you there was plenty of gossip going around and social climbing being done. I actually stepped into a whole new world and got to experience it firsthand---just like being a fly on the wall!