From: "Tony Ellis"
Subject: Re: (urth) Winchester House Absolute Date: Sat, 20 Jul 2002 23:42:13 +0100 Jeff Wilson wrote: >Those who have occsasion to visit the campus of Texas A&M in College >Station should visit the Sterling C. Evans library. >.There's more than a little >House Absolute and "Date Due" to be found there. The Haunted Boardinghouse too, by the sound of it. House Absolute hunters might also find a visit to the Doge's Palace in Venice of interest. Although the Doge did have apartments there, the primary function of the building was to house the ruling councils and law courts of the Republic. Enjoying the public tour of the Palazzo a while back it struck me, as it had on a previous visit, that these grand chambers with their Tintoretto and Veronese ceiling panels were all very nice for looking at, but you couldn't possibly run a complex, corrupt city like Venice from them. This time I enquired, and discovered that, if you booked it two days in advance, there was another, private, tour of the Palazzo you could take. As the name suggests, the Itinerari Segreti takes in all the secret rooms visitors to the Palazzo were never supposed to see. A warren of chambers and passages that, like the Secret House, interconnects with the public palace at a number of different points. At one, you actually find yourself looking down from a high inner window into one of the public rooms, the tourists milling around below you entirely oblivious. I had been that room on the public tour, and had never even noticed the window. Elsewhere we saw the office where the Chancellor, the most powerful man in Venice, worked. He was paid a salary of a billion lira a year to free him from the temptation of bribery, and he worked in a bare, cramped wooden room hidden above one of the sumptuous ceiling panels. In another of the public rooms there were four ornate matching wardrobes, one in each corner. Three were genuine. The fourth concealed a little staircase leading to a minimalist torture chamber Master Palaemon might have approved of. It had a strappado, a bench for inquisitors where they could qu estion without being seen, and tiny en suite oubliettes where enemies of the state could hear what was coming to them next. --