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and life along the winding road

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Venice, Italy

Venice is my favorite place in the world to visit. With the narrow twisting lanes and canals, there's something magical about it. We were fortunate to arrive the day before George Clooney's wedding and it was very crowded, but I expect the following day would have been worse. Our day started with a tour of a glass factory on Giudecca Island. Glass factories were banned from the main island in the 13th century due to fire risk. They also make gondolas on the island and we were told that these were once painted in bright colors, but black became the predominant color when gondolas were used to carry plague victims to their final resting place.  Next, we took the boat to San Marco Square where we had intended to climb the stairs of the Campanile but the lines were long and we had a limited amount of time as we were with a tour group. Instead we chose to visit the Santa Maria della Salute church. On our way to find the bridge crossing the Grand Canal we came across another church that had been turned into a museum (Arte Musica Venezia).

Verdi's beautiful music played in the background. Every corner you turn there seems to be someone playing a musical instrument or even music from glasses.
Santa Maria della Salute was built after prayers to God to stop the 17th century plague were answered and is an impressive church. Rather than walking back to the bridge we stopped at a Traghetto crossing which is a ferry to take you across the canal by gondola (it's basically a shared taxi).
After meeting up with our group, we rode out to Burano island which is famous for its lace. The houses are all painted cheerful colors (and boats are painted to match the homes). It's a very peaceful place and the locals are very friendly. There are lots of little shops along the canal.

On the journey out to Burano island, our guide pointed out low islands that had been man made to limit the high tides that constantly flood Venice (Acqua Alta). While we were there, water bubbled up from drains around St. Mark's square and the front of the basilica had wooden elevated platforms for people to walk over the flooded entrance of the basilica. There is now an extensive undertaking called The Moses Project which will provide barriers (similar to the Thames Barrier in London).


Joanne said...

Venice is a new fave city of mine. What a jewel and we saw it with perfect weather. The buildings gleamed - such variety and history. Plus the echo of a gondolier singing an aria - aah, magic

Mason Canyon said...

Sounds like a beautiful place to visit. It would be hard to come home.

L. D. said...

I would love to visit there someday. You were lucky to be there before the big crowd showed up.