Believing a hotel is only a place to sleep at night, we tend to be cheap. We outdid ourselves in Venezia/Venice, staying at the Ostello/Hostel Domus Civita:
The toilet and shower rooms were down the hall:
There was a meeting room:
A sun terrace:
Views from the room:
But think of the money we saved!
Okay, let's go pick up Kent from the airport on the mainland. From Piazzale Roma, we can catch the #5 bus.
The Marco Polo Airport is not very big:
There are water fountains all over Venice:
Chiesa di San Rocco/Church of Saint Roch or Rocco (1489-1508 by Bartolomeo Bon il Giovane):
My notes indicated there was a rose window; this is what we found over a side entrance:
A man was singing operatic arias in the church square:
Next door is the Scuola Grande di San Rocco/Confraternity of Saint Rocco:
Construction started in 1515, attributed to Bartolomeo Bon. Three other architects followed him until the building was completed in 1560.
Scuola di San Rocco is known for its interior decoration. The walls and ceilings of two stories are covered with paintings. The story is that the Scuola was going to have a competition to choose an artist to do the paintings. But Tintoretto (born Jacopo Comin, 1518-1594) executed a large painting and donated it to the Scuola. I think they felt obligated to award him the project.
We were in Venice during the Biennale. Founded in 1895, the International Art Exhibition is put on every two years. It has expanded into other areas including architecture, cinema, dance, music, and theater. Auxiliary exhibitions are held in all the museums as well. The Scuola featured art of Emilio Vedova (1919-2006), a Modernist who had done studies of the Tintoretto paintings.
We decided to eat lunch at Trattoria San Toma in Campo San Toma/Saint Thomas Square which is dominated by the former Chiesa di San Toma/Church of Saint Thomas (the Apostle):
Across the square is the Scuola dei Calegheri/Guild of the Cobblers or Shoemakers:
We noticed that most of the doorbells had speakers, and that the Lion of St Mark had a pacifier in his mouth:
Casa di Carlo Goldoni (1707-1793, Venetian playwright):
There is a puppet theater:
Hey, it's a UPS boat!
James Franco and Kent:
A large yacht:
We walked along the Basin, first passing the Ponte dei Sospiri/Bridge of Sighs:
Okay, it wasn't exactly a mask shop. It was an "atelier for the rental of costumes."
Equestrian statue of Vittorio Emanuele II (1820-1878):
View down a side canal:
Santa Maria della Visitazione or Pieta:
As we walked along the St Mark Basin, we saw a few handbag vendors grab their things and dash off. Then along came a uniformed policeman. Minutes later we saw the officer chasing one of these sidewalk vendors. But soon enough they were back in business:
Palazzo Ducale/Palace of the Doges (as seen from the vaporetto):
Doge Andrea Gritti is kneeling before the Lion of St. Mark:
Doge Francesco Foscari kneeling before the Lion.
Entering the courtyard, you see the Porticato Foscari (with the clock on the left) leading to the Arch of Foscari (in the center; we are looking at one side of the arch) and the Scale dei Gigante/Giants' Stairway (to the right):
Behind them are the domes of Basilica di San Marco/St Mark's Basilica.
The Arch of Foscari:
Scale dei Gigante/Giants' Stairway (1483-85 by Antonio Rizzo) with statues of Mars and Neptune (1554-67 by Jacopo Sansovino):
A slot to place your secret denunciation of another person:
Going up the Scale d'Oro/Golden Staircase:
Be sure to look back and up!
Okay, photos are no longer allowed...
The tour of the Palazzo Ducale/Palace of the Doges takes you through the administrative rooms, the Doge's apartments, and across the Ponte dei Sospiri/Bridge of Sighs to the prisons. All the great artists and sculptors have helped to decorate the place.
We did have great view from the palace of San Giorgio Maggiore:
Of the walkway along the basin:
What is a Doge? Doge is the Venetian word for "duke," although a Doge is not a traditional hereditary duke. He was the elected-for-life chief magistrate of the Venetian Republic (c. 700-1797).
It was time for a break, so we sat at the outdoor tables of Caffe Florian in the Piazza:
A music ensemble was playing classical music, and when we learned there was a surcharge of $10 per person just because of the music, we left to go to the competition, Caffe Quadri:
We knew the drinks were going to be expensive anyway...
Caffe Quadri was the choice of the Austrians when they ruled Venice in the 19th century. The Venetians went across the Piazza to Caffe Florian.
Inside Caffe Quadri:
A beer and ginger ale for $30:
But wait! There are free chips and olives.
Piazza San Marco is the only piazza in Venice. Off the Piazza are a couple piazzettas/small squares. All the other squares in Venice are called campo or campiello.
Next around the Piazza is the Basilica di San Marco (1047):
Many of the mosaics on the facade were under wraps.
We can only see the one of The Deposition:
The main portal contains a mosaic of Christ in Glory; The Last Judgment with the four bronze horses above it:
These four horses were taken from Constantinople in 1204. In 1797, Napoleon had them sent to France, but they were returned in 1815. The originals are in the St Mark's Museum, while these are replicas.
Within each of the arches of the main portal are carved Three Kingdoms: Land, Ocean and Animal; the Labours of the Months, the Signs of the Zodiac, the Virtues and Beatitudes:The Basilica was the only place where we had a queue to enter. You were corralled into the main church and not allowed to wander the narthex with its six domes and three arches of mosaics depicting stories from the Old Testament. You then had to travel along the outer aisles, so that it was difficult to see the domes in the center nave. The aisle mosaics showed Christ blessing the prophets, but most of the mosaics in the Basilica were of New Testament events, or of various saints. Entry was free, but a fee was charged to enter the Treasury and to see the Pala d'Oro, a Byzantine altarpiece. We spent most of our time looking upwards in awe.
Venetians stole the relics of St Mark from Alexandria in the year 828, and St Mark became the patron saint of the city state, knocking St Theodore out of contention..
Outside the Basilica, there are a couple of pillars pillaged from Acre:
As well as showing the hours and minutes, the clock shows the current sign of the zodiac and moon phases.
At the far end of the Piazza, we went to the Museo Correr in the Ala Napoleonica/Napoleonic Wing. The Correr Museum continues through the Museo Archeologico/Archaeological Museum and the Biblioteca Marciana/Library of St Mark. We saw collections of paintings and sculptures, maps and globes, coins, ship models, weapons and armor, Greek, Roman and Egyptian artifacts, and the living quarters of the last of the Hapsburgs, Empress Elisabeth known as Sissi.
Feeding the pigeons in St Mark's Square (and all of Venice) has been banned since 2008:
The Campanile/Bell Tower of St Mark's Square (1912):
We exited the Piazza under the clock tower and walked along the Merceria, the street of shops:
We couldn't find a recommended bacaro/wine bar, but ended up at Osteria all Ciurma which served wine and had excellent cicchetti/tapas:
Today we saw five of the top ten venues in Venezia: Piazza San Marco, Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale, Canal Grande, and Scuola Grande di San Rocco.
Tomorrow, more art.