Venice, Italy Day 46

Venice… there really is no other city like it! Yes, the throngs of people can get on your nerves, but if you get off the beaten path (basically away from the St. Mark’s Square and Rialto Bridge area) then you can leave them behind. Just so long as you don’t getting lost, that is. So long as it’s not getting dark, I actually prefer to not know where I am, it’s more exciting that way! Venice is pretty small too, so you really can’t get that lost here, it is an island after all!
A few things I’ve noticed about Venice right off the bat. People pick up their dog’s poop, but then they leave the bag on the alley or on the street. Better in plastic than not, I guess. They sell sailor hats here, and adult men buy them and wear them. It’s hilarious! The exact same clothes that I saw being sold on the streets of Milan are twice the money here. Venice is expensive my friends… A coca-cola in a cafe in St. Marks Square is 6 euro. Most of the restaurant prices are exorbitant. Europe is for rich people, that much is for certain! Oh, and people who pretend to be (like me!) I did have dinner for 6.50 tonight though. I went to a cichetti bar and had a glass of wine and 2 mini sandwiches. It wasn’t a huge meal, but topped off with a gelato and I was full. Again, trying to embrace the whole eating alone thing, these types of bars are a different story. You go up, order and pay, then venture outside to find a place to stand and put your plate. There was a big beer keg that was being used as a tall table so I put my stuff down there and started to eat. The 2 girls standing there struck up a conversation which was oh so very nice. Americans (again!) traveling together through Italy. I can always count on the friendly Americans for a chat! And the Canadians if I could find some!

My walk to Doge’s Palace. Most of the shops have tacky souvenirs, but some have real food and quality goods in them! It’s just hard to see them amongst all of the junk. This was a beautiful pasta shop.

The Rialto Bridge. The very first bridge in this spot was built in 1181. It was replaced in the 1500’s by a wooden bridge, but it was damaged in a fire, then collapsed twice in the following years. Finally, it was decided that stone bridge would be necessary, but in 1944 it collapsed as well when too many people were on it watching a boat parade go by, so it’s been rebuilt. Again.
 I started my day off at St. Mark’s Square because I bought a ticket to see Doge’s Palace. It’s a pretty impressive sight, made out of pink Ventian marble and white stone from Istria in the 14th century. It’s origins actually date back to the 9th century when it was built as part of a fortified castle, but it was destroyed by a series of fires. The palace consists of what was the doge’s private residence, the senate, the armory and the prison. The Bridge of Sighs is right beside the palace, and it is said to be called that because it is where the prisoners were led right before they got to prison, and most likely a death sentence, hence they would sigh as they crossed it. Photos were not allowed inside, so I can’t show you the cozy little residence the doge’s called home. As I was looking at the exhibit of the swords, daggers, knives and shields, I kept thinking A.) It;s amazing how much artistic detail they put on something as utilitarian as a sword or shield. And B.) How much more gruesome getting maimed or killed was back then. These weapons were sharp and punishing. Nowadays it’s so much neater and cleaner with guns, isn’t it?
The “Golden Staircase.”
One of the jail cells.
The inner courtyard.
St. Mark’s Square with the Campanile Tower on the right. The first tower was built in 1173 and used as a lighthouse, then a torture chamber during the middle ages. It’s had it’s troubles over the years with fires and earthquakes, but in 1902 a crack was discovered that caused the entire tower to collapse. A new tower was built exactly the same as the original by 1912. I’m still not going up there though… bad juju.
St, Mark’s Basilica. Some of the most beautiful mosaic work in the world. There’s always a long line to get in, and it was hot out there in the sun. I’m almost at the front, and these 2 women just kind of scooch in front of me. I exchange a glance with the couple behind me, and decide to tap one of them on the shoulder to inform them that the line up actually started was back there. She tells me she was already in there and they told her she could come back in the line up here. She was from somewhere in Eastern Europe, I have really  bad luck with the Eastern European line budgers, both here and at home. What’s up with that? Anyways, she was obviously lying, because when we got to the entrance, the guy had to tell her to cover her shoulders to go in the church. If she’d already been in there, wouldn’t she have known that?
See below for some better shots of the Basilica later in the day… the sun was too bright when I was there earlier.
View of San Giorgio Maggiore. There is a beautiful church on this little island. I might check it out tomorrow.
The Bridge of Sighs, with a sighing and moaning gypsy begging on wither side of the bridge. This is the first place I’ve been so far where I’ve seen a good number of them.
St. Mark’s Basilica.
I had to do it. I wasn’t going to. There are so many places to buy the dirt cheap masks that would fall apart in about 2 minutes and had no real originality to them. I was wandering (as I’m prone to do) and came across this little shop that had a notice in their window. Handmade, no plastic. I always like something that is handmade. Yes, it costs more, but I appreciate something that someone made with their own 2 hands. The mask maker was in his shop making the masks, and we had a good chat as I was trying on almost every mask he had in the shop. Most were paper mache (for carnivale), but some were leather, for the theatre productions, he said.
It’s simple, but kind of saucy, don’t you think?
After my regulatory 2 hour siesta I went for a vaporetto ride. I didn’t know where I was going, I was just getting on for a ride, so I took some pictures, of course!
I
The better pics of St. Mark’s Basilica.
That is mosaic. Amazing!
I was offered a free Gondola ride today… but I refused. I had a feeling there just might be some strings attached (oh, a Pinocchio reference while I’m in Italy!)
Hotel Canada, eh?
Oh yeah, gelato’s today? Mandarin and Tortenita (vanilla with chocolate and caramel.)

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2 Responses to Venice, Italy Day 46

  1. Michele May 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Oh Andrea, these pictures are beautiful, just beautiful. It sounds like you’re having the time of your life—Italy must agree with you! I can’t believe I’ve never been there, and now I really want to go. And the mask? To die for! Fabulous!

  2. Andrea June 1, 2011 at 10:16 pm #

    You must go, you must!!!!!

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