Venice without the water: Plaça de Sant Jeroni, Palma
I can’t quite hide the fact that apart from being deliriously happy surrounded by the Christmas spirit of my new home in Palma de Mallorca, there is still a little piece of me that yearns for Venice at Christmas. It’s always been this way, ever since my blissful gap year spent in Italy, when an extended stay in Venice introduced me to the city enveloped in an enchanting wintery mist which made the glowing shops selling golden masks and glass Christmas trees all the more inviting. Every Christmas since I have yearned for Venice: my Christmas trees are invariably peppered with sparkling Venetian masks, my Murano glass trees are in pride of place amongst my decorations, and in fact this time last year I was in the pearl of the Adriatic herself.
So it was perhaps in part because of this yearning, but also because of its inherent characteristics that when I stumbled into the Plaça de Sant Jeroni, a tranquil little square deep in the old town of Palma the other day, I could have sworn I had stumbled into Venice. And having now declared the square my favourite in all the city, I just had to share it with you.
The Plaça de Sant Jeroni
For me there are many features that make this square Venetian. For one thing, its taller than average narrow buildings, which remind me of the palaces fighting for prowess along the Grand Canal or the tall blocks of the Venetian Ghetto, squeezing gradually upwards for space where there was none at ground level. Second it’s the colours: pinks, yellows and terracottas, these are almost certainly the colours which reflect so majestically in the canals of the city. Third the fountain at its centre – glamorous enough to be a city superstar, but appearing almost forgotten in this nostalgic backwater far from the tourist trail. Fourth the two churches, both incredibly ornate – for where else do you find churches in such neighbourly proximity than in Venice? Fifth the general sense of dilapidation – the cracks and flaking paint; the tired romanticism which have attracted so many artists to Venice since its historical decline began.
The details I love
But where are the canals I hear you ask? Well true, they are missing, but like so many of the hidden gems in Venice, this is like one of the rare squares tucked away between buildings where the canals do not pass. I love them there as I love this square here.
I know nothing else about this square. Only its name. But for me it will always be characterised by its Venetian tones. And for that reason, it’s a comfort to know that this pretty piazza is but a stroll away, for a moment or a visit whenever I yearn for Venice.
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It does look a bit like Venice. Nice find! Once you’ve lived in Venice you will forever long for her siren call. Happy travels to you. And merry bloody Christmas.
Mere visits are enough to render me confined to a ship’s mast with wax in my ears… to live there: ahhh I can but imagine. Have a wonderful Christmas, wherever you will be!