Our first full day in Venice started with a quick bite, then off to join the queue into St Marks Cathedral. Careful planning had us there at about 8.50, for a 9am start.
Promising beginnings with only a short queue leading to the main doors, followed by disappointment when we realised the doors didn’t open till 9.45.
Once inside your struck first by the ordinariness, dark and glum, almost dirty. Then the walls and ceilings slowly come to life, rich mosaics of gold covering every conceivable spot, detailing biblical stories and all manor mythical.
It’s all very impressive, but in a different way to the opulent magnificence of St Peters, or the huge volume and serenity of Notre Dame.
The work involved in the mosaics is mind boggling, who has the patience?
We wandered around, looked at the treasury with its ancient religious relics, and then Rachael went off to light a candle.
For those who have been following our journey you will have noticed we have been in a lot of churches, all but one Catholic (is there any other kind?), and Rach has lit plenty of candles, covering off family and friends, and every time she lights one I ask the obvious question….”was that one for me?”
The answer has always been….”non”. (She is fluent in Italian, as we all now know!)
We have been thru some magnificent Basilica/Cathedral/church’s, and I have missed the boat every single time!
Not anymore folks, I finally got on the board!
“Saved the best till last”, she said.
Well, the best was St Peter’s, but no candles there, so I’ll take it.
Mind you, I did check to see if anyone had blown the candle out before we left, being a heathen and all!!
Next stop, Palazzo Ducale, the Doges Palace.
The Doges wore ridiculous hats, and ruled the Venetian empire for 1000 years from 697AD till 1789 in the most opulent style, and the Palazzo was, indeed, most impressive. Full of imposing walls full of paintings depicting the Doge being beautified by Jesus, Angels, or Saints. Gilded ceilings everywhere, huge meeting rooms and threatening legal chambers where the Doge and his cronies dealt out summary justice in the name of religious up-righteousness(?).
The dungeons were a particular highlight, as was the walk over the “bridge of sighs”, so called because, as fable goes, as the prisoners were being lead to prison over the bridge, when they glimpsed the sun over the grand canal for the last time, would sigh in sadness/regret.
Great story but probably just that, a story. Most it seemed were lead along an underground passage to the dungeons!
Next, the Correr Museum which chronologies Venetian history through its arts collection. Starting to struggle on the history front and when I looked towards the second floors exhibits I got the devil stare from Rachael….and our museum trip was over.
Wandered around for awhile then back to the room for siesta.
Lunch, shopping, crowd surfing, getting lost….and found again, the usual stuff.
As we only had one spritz yesterday we made up lost ground by doing a 3 spritz crawl in the late afternoon.
Got lost finding the bistro we had seen, and liked the look of earlier, so ate in a small trattoria which didn’t cost us too much (12% service charge not withstanding), and found our preferred choice 30 metres further on when we headed home!
Been a long day on our feet. Time for bed, getting up before sunrise tomorrow for a look around, hopefully on our own!!