Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Tour of Italy Installment 3 Venice

As we visited various museums and historic sites on this tour, local guides would join us, they would be guides whose specialty was the particular site or area.

One tour in Venice was of the Doges Palace. 

The architecture of the Doge’s Palace is Gothic, and the foundations were built in the 14th century. They say the first settlements in the lagoon were just after the fall of the Roman Empire (476) and were part of the Byzantine Empire. In 810 the seat of government was moved to this location but nothing remains of that 9th century building.

The Palace consists of several different buildings that were put together to create the Palace. In the 10th century part of it was destroyed by fire, and the new palace portions were decorated with Byzantine elements.

There are paintings here by Bellini, Pordenone, Titian and others from the 16th century.

The palace also contained a jail, which we toured, I can't imagine what it would have been like to be there, I'm sure it was horrible. When going to be exceuted the prisoners walked across the Bridge of Sighs, we walked across it too.

Since the Palace was the heart of the political life of the Venietian Republic, when it in fell in 1797 its role changed.  Venice was first ruled by France, then Austria and then in 1866 French rule, then to Austrian, and ultimately, in 1866, it became part of united Italy. By 1900 the building was really decaying so was restored and it became a public museum.

It's amazing that all this artwork survives in such a humid climate.

From the Palace we visited the Cathedral then  we had free time, which I used to tromp around the island. Venice is beautiful but it has a serious problem being overrun with tourists. 

There were thousands and thousands of people being dumped off. Fortunately while our hotel was only two blocks from San Marco Square it was off the main tourist streets.

I picked up a book called "The Politics of Washing, Real Life in Venice" by Polly Coles. She, her Italian husband and children moved to Venice. She describes the challenges of living in todays Venice.


I would say 20 years ago would have been a better time to visit Venice, but it was beautiful all the same. 

We took a boat ride to the island of Murano where the glass blowers have their studios. Many of the glass blowers we carry at Carolina Creations have studied in these studios. And while the studios do beautiful work I’m partial to our American glass blowers. Their work is more original and not so cookie cutter. i enjoyed walking around the quiet island and getting a few shots.

Back in Venice.

Our hotel had an outdoor patio restaurant where I ate a beautiful lunch while waiting for the “must do” gondola ride. I noticed it was hard to get your bill, a phenomenon that would continue the rest of the trip. 

There were 5 gondolas carrying our group and we had a singer and an accordian player that added to the allure. Seeing the Island from the water gave you an entirely different perspective. 

Our ride

Don't pick up vegetables in a stand like this, (I knew better), tell the storekeeper what you want and he will pick them out.

Next post, the last afternoon and evening in Venice.

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