While John Ruskin was busy studying Venetian architecture and gathering material for Stones of Venice, his neglected young wife Effie was sightseeing, socializing and recording her much more down-to-earth impressions of the city in her letters to her mother:   The Ruskins stayed six months in the city, long enough for Effie to experience the hardships of the Venetian winter and observe the poverty of the Venetian noble families and the dilapidation of their palaces but also to enjoy the pleasures of a trip to the Lido on a sunny day: