Clockwise: a moody sky looking across to San Marco; Church of la Pieta -the renovations that he oversaw were completed after Vivaldi's death, market day on the Grand Cnal; a memorial stone to Antonios Vivaldi, Vivaldi with his most loved instrument- the violin; Ospedale le Pieta -orphanage for abandoned girls.
Vivaldi was the most acclaimed composer of his time. Born and raised in Venice he lived there for most of his life there dedicating his time and vast talent to composing music for the girls in the Ospedale le Pieta.
Shadows scattered across the room and thunder drowned out the mother’s fading cries. A powerful tremor, born deep within the earth, shook the lagoon and its islands, as if God himself was impatient for this birthing to be finished. With a final desperate push, the child entered the world; his quivering body, frail but fighting, was veiled in a bloodied chestnut coat, like a runt fox cub. The mother fell into an exhausted sleep, grateful that this, her first child, had finally been ushered from her. I cut the cord and sucked the mucous from his limp blue body, blowing into his flaring nostrils. He startled, as if surprised to be alive and his tiny chest rose and fell once, twice and then paused before fluttering again, struggling to claim his place among us. I did not expect him to outlive the storm. Wrapping him tightly as another tremor shuddered through the room; I took the water, collected that morning from the font of San Giovanni and drew a watery cross on his crumpled forehead. ‘Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, per picoli de morte, ti battezzandole nel nome del Padre e del Figlio e dello Spirito Santo.’ ‘Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, due to danger of death, I baptise you in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.’ A flash lit up the image of Saint Cecilia hanging above the bed, and in that moment, I understood that the heavenly hosts were indeed watching over us. I placed the panting baby onto his mother’s swelling breast and prayed. ‘Heavenly Father, if it is your will that this child survives, he will repay you a hundred-fold and dedicate his time here on earth to your glory, bringing to all mankind joy and inspiration beyond our earthly imagination.’ Extract from the diary of midwife Sister Margherita Veronese as told to her protector and scribe, the Abbess Minelli. Parish of St Giovanni, Bragora, Venice, March 4th, 1678.