Venice: A stinky labyrinth with amazing sights

Trip Start Jun 03, 2011
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Trip End Jun 18, 2011


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Flag of Italy  , Veneto,
Thursday, June 16, 2011

Yesterday we arrived in Venice.  For the most part the day was uneventful.  We got lost trying to get to our hotel, eventually found the vaporetto (water bus) and arrived safe and sound.  The hotel is very nice, and suits our standard for "better than the one in Florence."  It seems to be sinking a little faster on one side, which is rather par for the Venetian course, but it's still fabulous. 

After settling in we went and got lost in the labyrinth that is Venice.  The streets are usually just wide enough for 2 people to walk abreast.  We have found streets wide enough for 5 people, Piazzas wide enough for 500, and also streets so narrow that George's shoulders were hitting both sides.  Occasionally a street will dead-end into a river, and you will be able to look out and see "Oh, that's where I need to go!"  But then you go back, discover that no, you can't just go left.  You must first go over a bridge, around this church, down a shady alleyway, and THEN you can turn left.  Maybe.

We went to see Pza. San Marco, which has a giant baroque timepiece.  On the hour, these metal dudes on top of the church start hammering on the bell.  I think it's kind of entertaining, mostly for the fact that they were built long enough ago that the technology is impressive.  We stopped by a fabulous little bookstore as well.  You walk in and the first table was just covered in cats sunning themselves.  The rest of the shop is just piled with books, in no particular order.  Then you go back and discover the emergency exit... which is an open door out onto one of the canals.  Quite lovely, and the shopkeeper was a very nice man.  We continued to get lost and then called it an early night.


Today was more fun.  We first went  to the Salvador Dali museum, which was awesome.  George and I are both big Dali fans, so it was nice to see some of his work in person.  After that we had lunch, then went to go see Doge's palace.  VERY impressive.  Should you ever go to Venice: yes, it's more expensive than most museums.  Yes, it is worth it. 

Doge's Palace (the Ducal Palace) seems to satisfy many different tastes.  First, you enter this extravagant courtyard with beautiful marble sculptures and fabulous architecture.  Then you go inside and find the walls painted with lovely artwork, including one giant room just filled with maps.  There were also many religious paintings, and many sculptures.  There are enough rooms like this to spend hours looking.

Next, you come to the armory.  SCA geeks: this is AMAZING.  3 large rooms, wall to wall with swords and armor from the 15th-16th centuries.  Crossbows, rapiers, halberds, long swords, all from 15th-16th centuries.  Also armor for people, for horses, guns from the 17th century, a few guns completely taken apart so you can see all their inner workings... We spent about an hour in these 3 rooms, and we only left because the museum was getting ready to close.  I could geek in this room for much longer.

Finally, the prisons.  First you cross through the bridge of sighs, a narrow stone bridge running from the courtroom to the prison.  It is named this way because there is a small window overlooking the grand canal, through which the prisoners could look and see their last glimpse of freedom.  Then on to the cells for the rest of their lives. 

After Doge's Palace we meandered.  We made another puppy friend, as seems to be common for us. Then there was amazing food.

We went off the beaten path to a random little place called Osteria da Alberto.  George had spaghetti with cuttlefish, which looked disgusting.  Instead of having tomato or cream sauce, the sauce is made with cuttlefish ink.  So the pasta is black.  But it tastes AMAZING.  Very good, not very fishy at all.  Then there was tasty dessert, wine, and off to bed! Tomorrow we adventure to Murano, as well as hopefully Burano.  Glass and lace, here I come!
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Comments

Rhiannon on

Holy smokes! The swords! The swords! What a gorgeous place. It looks so empty. Were you really the only ones in there?

Dante's tomb. Poor exiled Dante. But what a beautiful crypt. (Although the word just doesn't do such a light, white place justice.)

Thanks for sharing all the pics!!!

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