Venice break for Story in Stone workers

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As the final touches are put to Chronicle country’s Story in Stone, the workshop helpers have been taking time out to sample the delights of Venice.

The project, to tell the story of Biggleswade, Sandy and Potton in a mosaic trail through the towns, has been ongoing for the past year.

Carolyn Blake, in charge of strategic management and community engagement for the project said: “Having worked since January 2017 preparing the mosaics for Sandy, Potton and Biggleswade, it seemed fitting for workshop helpers of Story in Stone and friends to team up to visit Venice for three days last week.

“What a delight to stay on the peaceful and quiet island of Murano for three nights, in a 5 star hotel and be welcomed every evening by a family run restaurant, a short stroll from our hotel.”

The team visited the spectacularly colourful mosaic factory of Orsoni on the Cannaregio, where they were shown the glass foundry in action, followed by a visit to their colour library, where all the glass smalti (opaque coloured glass for mosaic making) is stored. This was followed by a tour of the Jewish Museum in the Ghetto area and finally a walk through Venice to see the tiny but beautiful church of Santa Maria Miracoli.

They also visited the Basilica of San Marco, first attending mass in a tiny chapel and then joining the not too large queues to view the vast mosaics.

The square of St Mark’s was also full of people in costume celebrating the carnival.

In the afternoon there was an opportunity to take Vaporetto rides along the Grand Canal past the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, the market area, the Car D’or, the Rialto bridge and other spectacular sites. Some ventured up the church tower of Santa Giorgio Maggiore, to glimpse stunning 360‘ views of Venice, while others went off to buy tickets for Rossini’s Barber of Seville at the Felice Opera House.

Day 3 was a combination of staying on Murano and exploring the streets, shops, Basilica, the Glass Museum and or taking a boat over to Burano for the day. A few members of St Andrew’s church in Biggleswade visited the glass factory of Salviati which made the mosaic reredos behind the altar in 1881.

Next week is the final installation of the mosaics on: Monday 2pm at Potton outside the library, Tuesday 1pm at Sandy Library and Wednesday 2pm Biggleswade on the road/railway bridge.