TOURIST DOCTORS IN VENICE
André J. Fabre July 11, 2012
For all tourists coming in Italy and they have been quite many during last centuries, Venice is a must: the Serenissima captures visitors as animals fascinate their prey
Each visitor has his own vision but all have in common a compulsive lure for Venice
Writers and physicians are in first line and among the huge flock of tourists and, above all, this amazing race, the Physicians-Writers
Les médecins touristes de Venise
Friedrich Schiller (1759 1805)
The great German poet and playwright left from his a journey to Venice a strange Book of Dreams
All begins with an magic encounter in Café Florian with a mysterious Lady
Amazing mixture of Romantism necromancy and Spiritualism, all together !
Louis Frank Louis (1761-1825) :
A defector of Bonaparte Egypt Expedition who lived in 1805 in Venice prior to emigrate in Albany
Physucian of the bey of Tunis, then of the dreadful Ali Pasha in Greece, then of Impress Marie Louise in Vienna
Pol-Anatole Matthieu (1832-1902)
General Practitionner in Paris.
In 1890 he leaves Paris for a Grand Tour in Italy, Austria and Switzerland
Venice, spur of Beauty was hit of the travel …
Adrien Proust (1834-1903)
As specialist of Tropical diseases, Adrien came to Venice in 1897 at the International Sanitary Conference to present a repoprt on plague and cholera
From his frequent trips to Venice he got a passion for Venice. An old photography shows Adrien feeding the pigeons of San Marco
He gave to his son Marcel his passion for Venice
Anton Tchekhov (1850 1904)
After his terrible expérience in 1890 of the Sakhalin KZ camp Thekhov needed a cure of beauty and enchantment.
He found it the year after in Italy. Some examples :
Letter to his brother Ivan (March 24, 1891) " I am now in Venice. I arrived here two days ago from Vienna. One thing I can say: I have never in my life seen a town more marvelous than Venice It is perfectly enchanting, brilliance, joy, life. Instead of streets and roads there are canals and instead of cabs, gondolas. The architecture is amazing, and there is not a single spot that does not excite some historical or artistic interest. You float in a gondola and see the palace of the Doges, the house where Desdemona lived and homes of great painters. And in the churches there are sculptures and paintings such as we have never dreamed of. In fact it is enchantment : all day from morning till night I sit in a gondola and glide along the streets, or I saunter about the famous St. Mark's Square. Here there is St. Mark's--something impossible to describe--the Palace of the Doges, and other buildings which make me feel as I do listening to part singing I feel the amazing beauty and revel in it. And the evenings! My God! One might almost die of the strangeness of it. One goes in a gondola ... warmth, stillness, stars.... There are no horses in Venice, and so there is a silence here as in the open country. Gondolas flit to and fro, ... then a gondola glides by, hung with lanterns. In it are a double-bass, violins, a guitar, a mandolin and cornet, two or three ladies, several men, and one hears singing and music. They sing from operas. What voices! A little further, a boat with singers, and the air is full, till midnight, of the mingled strains of violins and tenor voices, and all sorts of heart-stirring sounds. For us poor and oppressed Russians it is easy to go out of our minds here in a world of beauty, wealth, and freedom. One longs to remain here for ever, and when one stands in the churches and listens to the organ one longs to become a Catholic. The tombs of Canova and Titian are magnificent. Here they bury great artists like kings in churches here they do not despise art as with us the churches provide a shelter for pictures and statues however naked they may be. To-day is Sunday : there will be an orchestra playing in St. Mark's Square If you ever happen to come to Venice it will be the best thing in your life. You ought to see the glass here! [Russian] bottles] are so hideous compared with the things here, that it makes one sick to think of them. I will write again. Meanwhile… good-bye ! "
Sigmund Freud (1856 1939)
Passionate lover for Italy, with what he called a "passiodynamic pulsion" , he wenther often between 1895 and 1913
Letter to Martha (August 27,1895 )
"Do not expect any description of Venice, it would be impossible, due to our excitement to be here. Disoriented we are, but also very happy. I send you this view from our window on the Riva degli Schiavoni on a postcard headed "Casa Kirsch" [future Hotel Metropole]. I am not insomniac but I got up this morning very early to admire the magnificent view of S. Maria della Salute and San Giorgio Maggiore Letter to Martha August 27 11895 My precious darling We agreed that you won't get many detailed descriptions. The trance which Venice puts everyone into makes it impossible. We are enormously well and spend all day walking, cruising, gazing, eating, and drinking Every morning to the Lido, twenty minutes, to bathe in the sea, the most delicious sand underfoot. Yesterday was cool and the sea rather rough, today has started hot Yesterday we also went up the tower of St. Mark's, strolled from the Rialto through the town, which allows one to see the strangest things, visited a church, Frari, and the Scuola S. Rocco, enjoyed a surfeit of Tintorettos, Titians, and Canovas, went four times to the Café Quadri on the piazza, wrote letters, entered into negotiations about some purchases, and the two days seem like six months. Zanzare definitely exist... Needless to say, I am already very anxious to hear your news
Leon Daudet (1867-1942)
Son of Alphonse Daudet, the most celebrated writer of "Belle époque" , Leon Daudet, brilliant physician and "homme de lettres", had a disappointing souvenir from a family trip to Venice.
A fatal dish of vonghole brought him a severe typhoid
Many years later , he had a magnificent experience of Venice at Palazzo Vendramin Calergi, now the Casino ; "The best reading to be done at sunset, when Grand Canthe best reading is "Lovers of Venice" of Charles Maurras in which the great politician poured the best of his lyrical powers Each time I open the book, I hear the nostalgic call of the gondolieri, I get in my nose the scent of Venice, a smell of spices, shells and stagnant water in the canals, I can see again the lapping waves over the marble steps of venerable Venetian mansions. where lived Richard Wagner, where lived Richard Wagner, But never , I mean not a single minute, have I the least thought for Byron or Chateaubriand, even if I keep a keen taste for the "Memoirs from Beyond the Grave" and the metaphorical power of the lame of Missolonghi. None of them can remind me of Venice. Explain me that... Even more : nothing for me is so much abroad Venice than Ruskin and his "Stones of Venice". Dear unbearable Ruskin; all his life, he kept tormenting the marbles of Venice to demonstrate his esthetic theories. The truth, I believe, is that Art begins with a spontaneous emotion, and not an intellectual analysis… During our stay in Venice, we lived in an old palace converted in hotel, the Palazzon Vendramin Calergi [in our times Casino of Venic]). There lived Richard Wagner. However, none of his heroes, neither Brangoine nor Kurwenaal came ever tickle my feet,
Louis Ferdinand Celine (1895-1861)
"Of diet ??? That kind of thing is fashionable nowadays. Such a study, properly handled and ingeniously dragged out, is sure to be favorably received by the Academy, since the majority of its members are old men to whom these problems of heating and hemorrhoids can hardly be indifferent. Don't you think the Academy might vote me one of its hygiene awards?
Why not? Ten thousand francs? Not bad . . . Enough for a trip to Venice . . . Yes, my young friend, I was in Venice once as a young man ... Oh yes! You can starve there just as well as anywhere else . . . But you breathe a sumptuous aroma of death that's not easy to forget . . ." From "Journey to the End of the Night"
You could think you hear Goethe's Mephistopheles "Ich bin der Geist, der stets verneint..." (the one who ever says no")
Arthur Schnitzler (1862 1931)
Son of a falmed physician, successfull writer in the Vienna " schöne Epoche "
He had developped from his searches on Casanova, archetype of Italian seducers a passion for Venice
Until the day in 1928 when his beloved daughter fille Lilli committed suicide in Venice
Nicole Bru physician, pharmacist and billionaire
Sponsor of the renovation of Palazzo Zane in Venice
The Palazzo hab been built n 1697 by Baldassare Longhena
Now Center of Classical French Music
Doctors of Venitian tourists
Francesco Aglietti (1757 1836)
Private physician of lord byron and brillant Physician of Venice
Man of high culture he held over 10.000 book in his own library
Private physician of Lord Byron and his dear Marquesa Teresa Guiccioli
John William Polidori (1796-1821)
In 1816, Polidori, coming from a family of brilliant artists, becomes personal physician of Lord Byron and tours Europe staying a long time in Venice
In Geneva they lived at the Villa "Belle Rivene" near Lake Leman There they met two English poets; Mary and Percy Shelley, her husband.
One night, Byron suggested t o write ghost stories Frankenstein for Mary Shelley and the Vampyre for Polidori who is the real ancestor of the "Terror literature".
Axel Munthe 1857-1949
The Wandering Physician of Europe Paris, London and Rome lived in Capri
There, in 1891, Axel met Princess Victoria future queen of Sweden, coming in Italy for a Health cure
Axel and Victoria had many interests in common and In 1893 spent together a Weekend-end in Venice
Venitian Doctors and Tourists
Fabrizio Ramacciotti and Diana Stainer
Fabrizzio Rammacciotti, Venitian Psychiatrist stated ooften to be fully aware of a strange epidemy of suicides among tourists in Venice
Venice, idéal setting for New Âge suicides ? Diana Stainer, Psychiatrist at Ospedale Civile recently made in The Times a review of 25 cases of the so-called "Venise suicide epidemy".
All finished up in hospital, some nursing broken bones, others recovering from overdoses and slashed wrists, most had jumped into the canals. Most cases involved single middle-aged females aged about 40 years old, although one was 18.
European tourists were mostly concerned :England, France, Germany, Spain but several "suicidees" came rrom United States. There were no cases involving Italian citizens.
Dr Stainer's conclusions "Venice is linked in the collective imagination to images of decline and decadence, people are constantly made aware that Venice is itself in its death throes, deserted by the Venetians themselves, who are moving out before the city sinks"
Graziella Magherini ( 1949- )
"Beware : Art is dangerous"
From Dr Magherini studies, foreign visitors are often stricken "at heart" by the sumptuous beauty of Art and fall victims of a psychosomatic episode with choking fits and near death feeling
Between 1980 and 1990, 106 cases have been reported, mostly middle aged single women, traveling without escort Some individuals are apparently immunized as tourists coming from USA and Asia, and also from… Italy
Stendhal in 1817, had experience this syndrome: "I had reached this extrême level of emotio s where the celestial feelings brought by Fine Arts . Stepping off from the Basilica of Santa Croce, I had wild heart beats, life was leaking out, I could not walk..."
Most celebrated référence to this "Art that kills" remains the "little patch of yellow wall" from Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu Bergotte, an elderly writer, visits a Dutch art exhibit and dies in front of Vermeer's View of Delft In fact, Two or perhaps three areas are usually taken into consideration
Tourists think they see Venice but Venice for them is just some sort of Disneyland The physician gets from his clinical practice a third eye allowing him to see what the others could not perceive
Date de dernière mise à jour : 01/08/2013