April 25th, 2011


Ah, Venice!

This weekend the Journey was docked overnight in Venice. I had the opportunity to go out and explore the city on Saturday. Venice is not a big place, and apart from various bridges, it's completely flat, so it's pretty easy to see a LOT of it by walking. I spent the afternoon and part of the evening visiting many landmarks, including St. Mark's Square and the Rialto bridge. This morning, however, I set out on a mission to find a specific location: The "library" where Indiana Jones goes to look for clues regarding the whereabouts of the Holy Grail, in the movie "Indiana Jones and the last Crusade".

A google search revealed the name of the location - it's actually a church, Chiesa Di San Barnaba. I found it on a city map, did some walking, and there it was! It wasn't hard to find, actually - a block or so off the Grand Canal, on the other side of the canal from St. Mark's, and a bit to the northwest. I got turned around and was walking the wrong way on Calle D'Avogaria, but I figured it out (for maximum geek factor, I ended up using the compass in my iPhone 4 to confirm which direction I was heading).

I happened to take a picture from a point that appears to be almost exactly the same spot from which this shot from the movie was taken. There's Indy, Elsa and the elder Dr. Jones in the center, backs to the camera. Later in the film, after an underground (and underwater) adventure, Indy emerges from a manhole pretty much in the same spot. I looked and didn't see a round manhole like the one in the film, but I did see a square one in the vicinity. It's possible the round one was an existing feature back when the film was made in the 1980's, and has been changed since then, or else they built it specially for the film and then completely removed it.

As a bonus for my own adventure, the church itself has been converted to a museum - the show in current residence is an exhibition of about 60 models of Leonardo Da Vinci's various inventions from his Codex. As a souvenir, I bought a small enamel pin of Leonardo's iconic "Vitruvian Man."

Up until now, my only real reference for Venice has been its appearance in films. Until today, it wasn't a "real" place to me, it was a place of history and fantasy. It was good to connect those two worlds by finding a specific spot I recognized from one of my favorite movies.