Monday, March 21, 2011


Venice is not the place to be if you suffer in any way from seasickness. Luckily I don't. I caught the waterbus across to Venice proper this morning - about a 15 minute trip to San Marco. I got off there as it seemed the obvious place to start exploring. Using my Venice card I skipped the lines and got straight in to the Doge's Palace.

Doge's Palace

This 14th century building was the home of the Doge, the elected ruler of Venice, as well as the seat of government. Inside, the rooms are all decorated to some degree. The main rooms are huge and have enormous artworks on the walls and ceilings. Unlike other places I've seen, the art here is not primarily religious, although there are some pieces of that nature. Most of the work chronicles important events in the history of Venice.
During the Renaissance Venice was a major power, mainly based on its vast naval and trading empire. The artwork highlights a lot of that power - lots of naval battles, VIPs doing important stuff, etc.
The Palace was also home to the law courts and is joined to the prison by the Bridge of Sighs. The name supposedly comes from the sighs of prisoners as they were sent across the bridge to prison. It's a small bridge and quite narrow. Spooky.

Bridge of Sighs

From there I wandered into the Piazza San Marco, St Mark's Square. Quite possibly the most expensive place to sit and have a drink. But, you have to do it.
The Basilica San Marco looks interesting but I didn't go in today. Tomorrow or the next day for that.
Instead I wandered off at random through the streets - they're narrow and and punctuated by bridges across the canals at regular intervals.

Another canal and bridge

Gondolas are everywhere, which of course brought on another Monty Python moment - if anyone remembers that travelogue spoof they did as the intro for Life of Brian. I had just started watching it on youtube, to add to yet another ******* (expletive deleted just for you Mum) gondola shot when the free wifi I'd hooked into disappeared. I had a ton more pics to upload too. Bummer. (I'm typing this on the hotel's computer.)

Eventually I found a bookshop, though don't ask me where it is - I doubt if I could find it again - and bought a couple of books. Since the kindle died I've been starved of reading material. There wasn't a huge range of English titles but I bought an Alexander McCall Smith and a Margaret Attwood.
Further wanderings brought me to the Rialto bridge. This spans the Grand Canal and is, therefore, much bigger than the usual bridges over the smaller canals. It's quite steep too. And full of people.
I found a space in a canal-side restaurant and had pizza, of course. Expensive pizza but it was pretty tasty.
Then I caught the bus back to the Lido.
I had plenty more pics I wanted to upload from today...