venice day 2

Still beautiful but the colours are subdued today as there is no sun. Our breakfast is delivered at 8 sharp, but a single cup of coffee won’t do it. A quick shower and we’re off to find more coffee and get a pass for the museums before the hordes arrive.

The correo is a museum complex on saint marks square which includes the museums: biblioteque, archeological, the ducal palace and correr(civic) museum. the pass also includes an additional museum out of a half dozen other choices, which we initially decide will be the glass blowing on the island of murano.

Our first visit is the ducal palace. The place is incredible, and intact for the past seven hundred years more or less. The quality is in sharp contrast to the palaces of france or even ludwig in germany. There is a sense of refined elegance about it as opposed to the excess of gilded everything at versailles and others. remarkably many objects have survived, from crystal goblets to fierce looking armaments. the paintings by titian, tintoretto and others are astounding and on a scale hard to imagine as some of the rooms are gigantic. not knowing much of the ancient history of venice it was fasinating to discover the role of the ducal princes, the senate and other bodies that kept everything in order, including an ominous prison reached by crossing over the bridge of sighs (think guantanamo with thicker walls and bars.) torture was big here too.

after yet another cup of coffee we headed for the correo and adjoining museums to finish the morning off. more paintings, sculptures from 200 b.c. to the 18th century, and books and furniture covering at least 800 years of history. though they have an incredible library displayed with originals going back several hundred years it was less than expected as the actual biblioteque held only old photographs from the late 1800’s to the beginning of the 20th century. the rooms however are works of art in themselves from the wooden carved ceilings and the amazing painting, many again by titian and bellini among others.

following the museums we caught a vaporetto to the island of murano, famous for its glass works. it was a 40 minute ride as it made stops at many ports on different islands including cimeteo or cemetery island where there are many large mausoleums and presumably where everyone gets buried. the weather has been quite cold and grey all morning and we’re feeling the chill as we wore only lighter clothing.

we don’t spend much time on murano other then to have a very pricey lunch (apparently we’re never going to learn to double check everything before we order.) we checked out the glass displays which are remarkable for both contemporary design, colour and those with a more ornate look. it is pretty fantastic but does not hold our interest and we decide to head back to the main islands, this time on a direct boat to saint marks square, where we head off to get our reservation for our next leg of the journey on wednesday and rick heads back to the hotel and me for another walk through the maze that is venice (still no luck blair!)

the rialto bridge…it’s only pretty in pictures, and i’m sure they have been doctored or taken many many years ago. it is a zoo! the crowds are horrendous, the shops on the bridge range from tacky to expensive with jewelery and other baubles. graffiti abounds on the outer walls of the bridge’s stores which adds to the overall feel of trashy and tacky. as i crest the bridge the street beyond is too scary to contemplate late in the day. it is covered with stalls and so many people that i’m not sure how they are getting by each other. must be time to head home.

before getting to the boat i’m asked to take a photo by a women traveling alone. turns out she’s from bulgaria so we spend a few minutes chatting and discover she arranges tours there for hapless tourists like me. she made it sound quite inviting and gave me her business card to keep in touch. i catch two boats to get back to our neighbourhood just as the sun is setting. it takes me a few minutes more to get to the hotel as i have to linger and take a few shots of a large cruise ship going down the tronchetto lido di venezia that separates our island from la giudecca.

the final few steps from the main quay to our hotel will give you a good idea of venice. from where we get off the vaporetto on a wide stone quay we turn left crossing over a wide canal on a stone step bridge about 50 feet long. the small street to our hotel leads off from the quay and is about 4 feet wide with tall walls on each side about 30 or 40 feet high. we then cross a small stepped stone bridge over a canal about 30 feet wide to another small quay then a sharp left over a smaller stepped bridge which is our canal about 15 feet wide and final sharp right and 50 feet along we’re at our hotel which faces the canal about 10 feet from our window. it is all too beautfuly romantic if you are so inclined. we hear the boats go by, the chat of people and the slapping of waves against the canal wall.

dinner at a very nice restaurant not far from the hotel which makes for an easy walk home. we’ve really enjoyed the food and wine in italy more so than in france. See our 2nd day in Venice here

buona notte

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