September 2th, 2015
VIVALDI MUSEUM IN VENICE Along the walkway « Riva degli Schiavoni » that connects St.Mark’s Square with the old Shipyard, stands the tall façade of the Chiesa della Pietà, once part of an institution for unwanted and abandoned children, the Ospedale della Pietà.
It comprised several buildings located in the nearby area of Campo alla Bragora, where Antonio Vivaldi was born in 1678, and a small church next to the current one, demolished in the modern age and replaced by the Metropole hotel.
The Pietà was established in 1346 by the Franciscan priest Pietro d’Assisi, to house orphans, children begging in the street, illegitimate and abandoned ones. Boys and girls were kept in different buildings, and while the former joined workshops as apprentices, the latter were trained to music.
More about VIVALDI MUSEUM IN VENICE: he was ordained to the Priesthood in 1703, but he was soon exempted from holding services due to asthma, and this is the reason why he was initiated to music by his father Giovanni Battista, who played the violin in St.Mark’s Choir, known as the most prestigious music institution in Venice.
Antonio went to the Pietà as a “Maestro di violin” in September 1703 and one year later was hired as “Maestro di Coro”, concertmaster, a charge kept until 1738 when he decided to move to Prague.
The church was designed by the XVIIIth cent. architect Giorgio Massari who coordinated a team of highly skilled sculptors, painters and carpenters, among whom Gianbattista Tiepolo, Giovan Battista Piazzetta, Giusto Le Court, Giovanni Balestra, Giovanni Battista Pittoni.
They worked under the supervision of Massari between 1745 and 1760 when the interior was completed, while the façade was erected in 1906 according to the original project.
The bright oval nave has tall walls with carved processional standards and a gallery where the choir of girls would perform for liturgical celebrations, hidden behind a gilt metal grid.
The museum Antonio Vivaldi is housed in the rooms, corridors and part of the galleries on the upper side of the church, ending with the magnificent ceiling fresco of the Triumph of Faith by Gianbattista Tiepolo.
The purpose of the President of the Institute, is to re-establish its commitment to music, and to display various records relating to life in the Pietà in the 17th and 18th century.
Among the documents, it is worthy mentioning registers documenting the acceptance of the infants, tokens left by their mothers, daily registers that attest the dishes served to children everyday.
One of the most touching records contains the date, the hour of entry, the description of the clothing and some abnormalities the baby might have had, e.g. one ear only!
VIVALDI MUSEUM IN VENICE: in the second room you will be impressed by the sumptuous silk robes for priests embroidered with silver threads by the girls who did not play or sing, the so called “Figlie di Comun”. They would do the sewing, embroidery, silk and cotton weaving and take care of various tasks in the institution.
The collection of old instruments is remarkable too, especially string and wind ones dating back from the 18th cent., among which a quarter-violin for 6 years old girls, cellos, five horns, bowed strings, a contrabass and an Andrea Guarnieri violin, which was recently played in the church.
We are looking forward to taking you there, there is a lot more to see and enjoy….