A mere five minutes sail from the St. Elena water stop lies the thin slip of land of The Lido.
The church of St. Nicholas is about twenty minutes walk north from the main island dock, crossing the ancient bridge on the Riviera San Nicolo. As is the custom, the main square outside the church entrance features one of the large fresh water wells. The facade of the church is pretty much as it would have appeared ion 1348.
The church itself sits just a little set back from the esplanade, on the junction leading east to the small airport and the beaches beyond. From the esplanade there is a clear view back across the Lagoon to the Venetian mainland and its thin terracotta line dividing the sea from the sky.
When we arrived, Sunday Mass was just ending, so we hung around seeking to time our entrance just right, balancing our desire to not lower the average level of devoutness per occupant with that of getting in and out before the doors were closed.
As mentioned in the novel, a tradition beginning well before the time of Uberto and Malin required each departing ship to seek a blessing from Saint Nicholas, the medieval patron saint of seamen. As such, the current-day interior of this place would be hugely familiar to each of them, albeit lacking the existence of modern pews (no one had to sit through long sermons until the Reformation. Even then, Protestantism barely touched this part of the world).