Venice is a beautiful city that is (and the irony isn’t lost on me here) over-run by tourists. Particularly when the cruise ships come in at night. However, when the cruise trips leave and the day trippers move on, it’s really quite pleasant.
We spent the morning with Elizabeth, a local guide who showed us a bit of back street Venice. The city is built on a lagoon on top of millions of pillions that have been driven into the sea bed and have since petrified. It’s a constant battle to keep the levels of the canals right. They change with the tides, storms and the levels of the sea. Too much water and everything floods, not enough, getting goods into the city can be hard.
It would be a very expensive city to live in. All the goods need to be brought in by boat and then hand delivered to the various shops that supply the city. A non stop flow of everything the city needs. The logistics of keeping things running must be crazy.
After wandering through a couple of Campos (squares), we attended a mask making demonstration. The fellow that did this work was a true artist. Masks are found all over the city and have a rich history in Venice. We ended our guided tour at St. Peter’s The Venetians stole the bones of St. Peter from Constantinople and built the church around them. It’s very impressive to be sure. It’s typical for a regular tourist to wait 60-120 minutes to get into the church. We got to walk right on in as we were with the organized tour group. Score.
After wandering through St. Peter’s we headed to the fish market which, as the name implies, is an open air fish market but they have a large vegetable and fruit market too. We bought some peaches and snacked on those. We headed over to the Frari Church which contains some of the best insitue works from some of the most famous Renaissance Venetians (Donatello, Giovanni Bellini and Titan).
At this point we had been on our feet for about six hours so we decided to head back to the hotel for a little break before heading out to the Doge’s Palace. Gelato was had on the way back
The Doge’s of Venice were basically the local government for 400 years. It’s a grand palace connected to St. Peters. Filled with an extensive array of period art and artifacts it was a very good introduction into the power and influence the individual Doge’s had. The system of government was one of a collection of senators but some were more equal than others. Justice was dispensed and convicted prisoners were marched over the bridge of sighs, so named as they would never see the beauty of Venice and would sigh as they crossed it to the prison.
We had dinner with Jim and Millie at a place just behind St. Peter’s. Deanna and I opted for pizza again which was pretty good.
After diner I headed out to a Vivaldi concert with a few other folks from the group. The performance was by Interpreti Veneziani. The program consisted of three pieces by Vivaldi, a short intermission and then a piece by Gioachino Rossini and Tommaso Albinoni. It was fantastic, defiantly a highlight.