-E.B. White

Saturday, November 19, 2011

VENICE - SEPT. 19TH & 20TH - Well here we are again with a car in a city that does not allow cars.  So once more, we parked our car ($25.00 a day) and took the vaporetto (ferry boat) to Piazza San Marco schleping our bags behind us.  The city has no major streets, and addresses are hopelessly confusing - so finding your hotel can be a challenge.  We had reservations and our one request was that it had a canal view - so needless to say we paid dearly.  After alot of rechecking of our map, we finally found our hotel, checked in and quickly headed out to start sightseeing.     
Arriving in Venice

Again, greeted by lots of people -

and, of course, the entertainers.

Back to our room for happy hour on our private balcony - and check out our $450.00 a night canal view - you can make out the tiny bridge that spans our very tiny, tiny canal.

Yes, this would be our view from the terrace - we can almost see St. Mark's square - well at least the Campanile (bell tower) and it is in the square.

 Proscecco will definitely make things look better.  Then it's time to head out for some night sights.
Relaxing on our private terrace.

St. Mark's Square (we found there to be less crowds at night - nice).

The Rialto Bridge

The Bridge of Sighs - closed for restoration.  Supposedly, a condemned man would be led over this bridge on his way to the prison, take one last look at Venice, and sigh. 

WHATS FOR DINNER -  a veal dish that was very tasty. 

and finally - spaghetti!

The next morning up early for breakfast supplied by our hotel (makes the $450.00 a night less painfull) and then off for a day of touristy things. 

The Campanile in San Marco Square - this dramatic bell tower replaced a shorter lighthouse, once part of the original fortress that guarded the entry of the Grand Canal.  The lighthouse crumbled into a pile of bricks in 1902, a thousand years after it was built. The golden archangel Gabriel at the top always faces into the wind.  

 St. Mark's Basilica was built in the 11th century.  It's decorated with booty from returning sea captains - a kinda architectural Venetian trophy chest.  The bones of Saint Marco are buried at this site. 

St. Mark's Basilica - wow, have a few marble columns.

We decided to hop on a vaporetto and tour the Grand Canal - Venices "Main Street".  At more than two miles long, nearly 150 feet wide, and nearly 15 feet deep it is the city's largest canal.  It's the remnant of a river that once spilled from the mainland into the Adriatic. 

San Marco  - view of the Doge's Palace. 

Gondoliers along the canal route.

Or if you like you can hire private boats to get you here and there.

Or perhaps a Venetian taxi (like speedboat limos) would be another option.  All I know is it gets crazy - glad we stuck to the big water ferry.

Venice's sleek black Gondolas are a symbol of the city.  With about 500 gondoliers joyriding amid the vaporetti, there's a lot of congestion - looks like an accident waiting to happen, to me.

DHL delivery Venetian style.

Coming into the Rialto Bridge vaporetti stop - time for some walking.

Constructed in 1588, it's the third bridge built on this spot.  Until the 1850's this was the only bridge crossing the Grand Canal.  With a span of 160 feet and foundations stretching 650 feet on either side, the Rialto was an impressive engineering feat in its day.  Earlier Rialto Bridges could open to let big ships in, but not this one.  Now much of the Grand Canal is closed to shipping. 

View of Grand Canal from Rialto Bridge.

Back on the ferry to do our final tour of the day - Murano Island - famous for glass factories and glassmaking musueum.

Glassmaking demonstration.

A pull here and a pull there -making the blob into a glass horse.

The finished product.

After you leave the demonstration they make you exit thru their very pricey showroom - "no pressure, no pressure" - next thing we know we are being escroted upstairs to a private showing - again, "no pressure, no pressure".  A half hour later we were still trying to leave - explaining to the gentleman - "we really need to sleep on the decision to spend $12,000.00 on a piece of glass and that we would be back tomorrow".  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? No pressure my ass!

Last night here,  - Arrivederci Venice

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