Sunday, 4 June 2017

Venice

What an amazing day we had in Venice - it is truly a unique and amazing city.  Our hotel was only about 20 minutes from the port where we boarded a ferry to go to the island.  It was a very enjoyable ride.  We arrived just a bit after 10 and met our local guide at 10:30 in St Mark's Square, the heart of Venice.  Surrounded by the Basilica of San Marco, Doge's Palace, the Procurator's residence and the Bell Tower, not to mention many shops and restaurants, it is considered to be the city's main symbol.
Our first visit was to the Doge's Palace, the seat of government of Venice for centuries, as well as being the home of the Doge - the elected ruler of Venice.  It was the venue for law courts, civic administration and for a time the city jail.  It was first constructed in the 9th century but due to a series of fires and subsequent rebuilding, the palace we see today in a splendid example of Gothic architecture. 


Our guide was great at explaining the history of the building and also the process of democracy.  We even went through the bridge of Sighs to see the prison cells of the jail.  The bridge was so named since legend said that the prisoners would look out the small windows and sigh at the last sights of Venice as they went to jail.

Some of the group went with Silvia for lunch while others decided to simply grab a quick sandwich or gellato  walk beyond the walls of the square and see a bit more of the city.  It is a great place to "get lost" roaming from one area to the next, down narrow lanes and over any of the 200 bridges.  With the help of a map, we were back at our meeting point for entry into St Mark's Basilica which is built in the shape of a Greek cross with five domes and decorated with the most amazing mosaics - tiny tiles creating amazing images.

The day ended with a Gondola ride, including musicians. For forty minutes we  were  taken though the tiny canals and serenaded, while basking in the late afternoon sun.


 Then it was a walk back to the ferry, quick shopping at one of the many tourist kiosks, on the bus and back to the hotel just before 7.

It was a long, somewhat tiring but beautiful day. Tomorrow we head for our final destination, Milan with a short stop in Verona. 

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