Our day trip to Venice reminded us of the difficulties of navigating the city. Once off the train we were greeted by the beautiful sights of the city across from the train station, sights that are repeated in every view as you move about–churches with large domes and tall, sometimes pointed, bell towers, stately palaces along waterways in muted pastels, and windows with arched frames. First, the vaparetto–a large water bus–that circumvents the grand canal with stops along the way to the main city square–San Marco. You could take a water taxi–faster, but at 10 times the cost. The views are spectacular, especially as you glide past fabulous yachts anchored along the way.
Did I say Venice crawls with people? Huge cruise ships dock at port and disgorge thousands upon thousands of people. We had no problem getting into the Palazzo Ducal, the home of the ruling Doges (elected by the nobility) for centuries. The wealth of middle ages Venice is evident in the palace with rooms decorated with paintings of some of the great names in art history-Tintoretto and Titian being prominent. Mind you, it isn’t a simple painting hanging on the wall, but the entire room was used as the canvas.
Out in the square, the multi-domed San Marco, with its gold mosaic interior, loomed with mystic glory. We walked to the Rialto Bridge, one of the finest of the hundreds of bridges that traverse the canals that criss-cross the island city. Venice is a jigsaw puzzle with narrow major streets that dead-end into smaller streets off of which run very narrow alley ways. It is easy to get lost, but we did not. We did find an excellent trattoria in which to eat. We were hungry and thirsty and grateful to find such a wonderful place to rest our weary feet. My calzone oozed with buffalo mozzarella, parma ham and mushrooms–the air pocket-filled crust was charred from the oven and covered with a rich marinara sauce–every bite was wondrous. Allen, our friend along on the journey with his wife Rhonda, declared that his pizza was the best he had ever eaten–that is saying alot since Allen’s home office has a wall full of culinary trophies.
I commented that Venice can take the starch out of you physically–bridges everywhere, narrow dead-end streets filled with people–we realized we had walked several miles as the day came to an end, and we boarded the train back to Bologna. It was a good day. WEG