As we near the end of our 10 day travel adventure on this blog, I find myself spending more and more time looking through my photos trying to decide which ones I should post. The answer, of course, is all of them. But before everyone clicks “unfollow” I assure you I will only post the best for now and save the whole enchilada for my mother!
Towards the end of the week we took the day to go to Venice. I fell ill the night before and had a nasty cold, so I’m particularly glad I took a lot of pictures on this day so that I could relive it later without the shroud of DayQuil. We drove out to Venice in the morning and parked at the far end of the main island, the only place you can take your car before you have to switch to water taxi. That’s the coolest thing about Venice; that it is without a doubt the most unique city in the world. In what other city of that caliber do you have to travel purely by boat? The buildings right on the canal had little foyer areas just inside for the water to splash up into before the actual lobby started, and it reminded me of the genkans in Japan. The main waterway wound all through San Marcos, and we didn’t have to get off for awhile so we enjoyed the views and made sure to push our way to the front of the overcrowded vessel. It was so interesting to see that the big trucks with deliveries had to stop at the wharf and transfer the cargo to boats so that they could be delivered to the shops within the city. I imagine that gets old after awhile.
Our first stop on the Grand Canal was the Gallerie dell’Accademia. It was started in 1750! Holy cow. It housed Venetian paintings mostly from the 18th century and I learned that it was one of the first museums to start the practice of art restoration. I’m not going to lie, after looking at 5,000 paintings they all started to blur together so pretty soon we started playing a game called “which one is John the Baptist,” (hint: the dirtiest guy in the painting) or “how old does the baby Jesus in Mary’s arms look,” (anywhere from a baby to bizarrely old) or my personal favorite, “how many cherubs can you spot and why is it that cherubs exist again, because they are so dang creepy.” Jokes aside, of course it was incredible to stand in front of these works that changed the art world and remain in great condition over 250 years later.
After leaving the Accademia we made our way through the alleyways to Piazza San Marcos. I loved the “alleyways” that were actually tiny little canals with tiny little bridges to cross over them, and watching the occasional vaporetto cruise by.
We stopped and had some pizzas and of course some gelato before making our way into the giant Piazza San Marco. It was really quite grand, and rumor has it Napoleon called it “the drawing room of Europe.” It is a massive square, lined with shops selling Venetian glass. At the far end stands St. Mark’s Basilica and the clock tower, adorned with the majestic Venetian winged lion. Legend has it that the body of St. Mark was stolen from Alexandria around 800 AD and brought to Venice so that it could have some kind of claim to fame, therefore bringing more tourists and boosting the economy. Gross.
The outside of the Basilica was beautiful but the inside was just amazing. Gold plated mosaics covered every inch of the inside and we even got to view the treasury, which housed the Pala D’Oro, one of the most precious objects in the world. It’s over 1,000 years old and is covered entirely in gold with enamel images and 3,000 precious stones! Ooh la la.
At the far end of the Piazza was the Piazzetta, the opening from the square into the lagoon. It was surreal to be standing there and Zach took one of my favorite photos from the trip there:
Full of hidden talents that husband of mine!
A short walk from this point was the Bridge of Sighs. It was called this because on one side was the court where criminals were charged and sentenced, and on the other side was the jail they walked to upon being sentenced, “sighing” as they crossed into their future.
My “hi there my throat is on fire” smile.
Our last stop was the Rialto Bridge, the most iconic bridge in Venice. It was originally a floating bridge, but it became so vital to the city that eventually it was replaced with wood and when that burned down, stone.
As we boarded the vaporetto and headed back out towards the far coast where we’d parked, I tried to pay extra close attention to every detail. It was a dream come true to be there in Venice, sick or not. I loved every minute.