DAY 8 Saturday 28 May 2005

A day in Venice

Boarded the buses at 0900 for the drive into Venice - well to the Tronchetto bus park actually as you cannot drive into Venice unless your vehicle is amphibious.  We then boarded a ferry to take us to St Marks Square - the centre of Venice.

The line of white hats heading out to the ferry for Venice
Still more white hats to come
Where the Venetians store their cars - well they cannot park them in the basement can they!
A larger ferry (from Greece) berthed nearby
Typical buildings in the way to Venice
Looking back across the Laguna
One of many large churches in Venice
Approaching the Piazza San Marco
Looking back to the Piazza as we approached the wharves
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Land, heading past the stalls and vendors on the wharf - follow those hats.
Land, heading past the stalls and vendors on the wharf - follow those hats.
The Bridge of Sighs

Piazza San Marco

At Piazza San Marco  we were met by local guides who told us something of the history of Venice and its buildings. We examined the Square with the Ala Napoleonica at the far end, built by Bonaparte to house a ballroom. To the right is the Procuratie Vecchie and to the left is the Procuratie Nuove, housing the Museo Archeologico and the state library known as the Libreria Sansoviniana or Biblioteca Marciana.

The Procuratie Nuove
The Procuratie Vecchie
The columns along the front of the Doge's Palace
The Campanile, a 325-foot bell tower from the 8th Century

Some of the architecture on the Doge's Palace is extremely intricate, and is a testament to the skills of the early stonemasons.

One of the entrances to the Doge's Palace
The stonework in more detail

Beside the Palace is the Basilica di San Marco: a "grandiose and magnificent hodgepodge of Byzantine domes, mosaics, and plundered treasure from the Near East and Asia" (More info.....)

St Marks Basilica

We then entered St Marks Basilica with its 7 domes and Byzantine architecture.

Part of the detail on the Basilica di San Marco
They don't have many earthquakes here....
One of many frescos
Closer detail on the fresco

After returning to the bright, hot sunshine we then had until 1500 hours to explore Venice, walking through its narrow streets, past hundreds of small shops and cafes, over many bridges and through throngs of thousands of tourists.


We invested 80 Euros on a gondola ride that took us in a circle down to the Grand Canal, under the Rialto Bridge and back to our starting point. These gondola rides are a bit over-rated, but it was a good opportunity to rest our feet in the cool shade.

Starting out towards the Grand Canal
On the Grand Canal with the Rialto Bridge
Hotels beside the Rialto
Heading for the Rialto
Under the Rialto
The Grand Canal
Back into the small canals
Landing - our departure point along the canal to the right had been taken by other gondolas
The Gondolier heading off for another fare


At 1500 hours we re-grouped outside the Doges Palace and returned to the ferry wharf. Here the party split, some going back to the buses (and the hotel) while others took a ferry out to Murano Island and the famed Venetian glass works.

Out on the Laguna with a mass of navigation buoys and small "fizz boats"
Entering the bay on Murano Island
In the glassworks, watching a horse being created
Our group - still with white hats
The Murano glass factory
Close-up detail of the factory name in glass

From Murano we travelled across parts of the Laguna, watching as many small boats shot past us - from small dinghies to large and expensive motor boats. Most were filled with younger people - many in their teens. In Venice, boats take the place of cars and "going cruising" has a more literal but none-the-less similar meaning.
Apparently you can cruise the Laguna in a powerboat at 16 years old - and you do not need a licence. The motor however must be less than 40 horsepower.

Sailing back past Piazza San Marco with the Doges Palace in the centre and the Bridge of Sighs on its right
The Basilica di San Marco with its 7 domes
A modern bridge viewed through the haze of pollution

Back to Tronchetto

We returned to Tronchetto and the buses, walking past another collection of stalls selling all manner of touristy junk. They seemed to specialise in cooking aprons that were displayed to best advantage.

Off the boat and back to dry land
The market stalls at Tronchetto - aprons seemed to be the main ware although their connection to Venice is not clear
A closer view of those aprons

We arrived back at the tired ex-Ramada Inn Hotel at 1830 hours. Dinner that night was Spaghetti, grilled fish with potatoes and peas, followed by ice cream slice.

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Last updated: 21/08/2010