Sunday, August 12, 2012

Benvenuti a Venezia (Welcome to Venice)

We took a four-hour train ride from Rome to Venice. Well, actually to the place where we had to catch a water taxi to get to Venice. The train ride was just okay. We thought we'd see a lot more than we actually saw. Here are few sights we enjoyed as we headed toward our apartment. Welcome to Venice!
San Simeone Piccolo, built in 1738, is a church partially modeled after the Pantheon.
These are all apartment buildings.
We stayed at the Corte Grimani Apartment Hotel. Our balcony was the third one.
The view from our apartment
And this is what we heard from our balcony. Best city sounds EVER!
We decided to hit the ground running, so we dropped our bags and set out to explore. My friend, Christy (Kokeshi Doll Christy), recently vacationed in Venice. She warned me that there are stairs. Lots of stairs. Lots and lots of stairs. Venice has no streets, just canals, so it makes sense that you'd have to cross bridges to get around town. 
Our apartment was located quite close to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark's Square) which is the heartbeat of Venice. 
Here are some photos of historic sites, but I'll address some of them in detail in another post. This is the Campanile.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Brittany and Emma visited cousins in New York and spent some time at Times Square. When Emma saw all of the pigeons in Piazzo San Marco, she decided to rename it Pigeon Times Square. Funny, huh?
Tons of people were feeding the pigeons, so Emma wanted to as well. She really hoped that one would land on her.
She wasn't disappointed!
Emma LOVED it when pigeons landed on Mommy!
Then those two pigeons called out to their friends.
Then a whole bunch of them landed on Emma. She was thrilled!
I had to take this photo for her since this was the sole white pigeon in Pigeon Times Square.
We spent quite a bit of time just walking around the area. This is St. Mark's Basilica.
This is the Torre del Orloggio (Clock Tower), the world's first digital clock.
Here are some shots of the Doge's Palace.
These are photos of Piazza San Marco's new wing
I took this shot from the water's edge, looking back towards the Campanile and St. Mark's Basilica (the dome in the center).
I like the windows on the Hotel Danieli.
This church, San Zaccaria, has an interesting history. "...this church blends Flamboyant Gothic and Classical Renaissance styles. Founded in the 9th century, San Zaccaria was completely rebuilt between 1444 and 1515. Antonio Gambello began the facade in Gothic style and, when Gambello died in 1481, Mauro Coducci completed the upper section, adding all the classical detail. The adjoining Benedictine convent, which had close links with the church, became quite notorious for the riotous behavior of its nuns. The majority were from families of Venetian nobility, many of them sent to the convent to avoid the expense of a dowry." (DK Eyewitness Travel: Venice, page 112.) Gee, I thought my parents were strict! Ha ha !
In San Zaccaria's courtyard, I stopped to watch this painter.
I was captivated by his work, so I bought this small painting to commemorate our time in Venice. Pretty, huh? 
Emma loved waving to me from atop bridges. 
I really loved seeing laundry hung from windows. It reminded me of pretty much every movie I've seen with Italy as a setting. There's just something so quaint about this.
Check out how many boats are docked in this canal! A gondolier told us that it costs @1200 euros per year for a dock space not necessarily near your residence.
I thought for sure I would remember the names of these buildings, but I don't. I hoped to recognize them from the tour guides, but I don't. Apparently there are quite a few buildings in Venice that are similar. Maybe Christy remembers them and will give me the scoop. Even without knowing what they are, I think they're pretty.
I like this apartment building because of its window flower boxes. I want window boxes. I want window boxes in Italy :)
Rick took this photo of us on a bridge. I am usually the one behind the camera so I am rarely in travel photos. Rick insisted that he take this one. I'm glad~I really like it.
This is Rialto Bridge. Here's an interesting story about this bridge: "Stone bridges were built in Venice as early as the 12th century, but it was not until 1588, after the collapse, decay, or sabotage of earlier wooden structures, that a solid stone bridge was designed for the Rialto. One of the early wood crossings collapsed in 1444 under the weight of spectators at the wedding ceremony of the Marchese di Ferrara." (DK Eyewitness Travel: Venice, page 100.) We've all seen wedding bloopers, but this one really took the cake (as in wedding cake~get it? LOL).
One more bit of scoop regarding Venice: "The pre-Lent festival of Carnevale, which means 'farewell to meat,' is celebrated throughout the Veneto. First held in Venice in the 11th century, it consisted of two months of revelry every year. Carnival fell into decline in the 18th century, but was revived in 1979 with such success that the causeway has to be closed at times to prevent overcrowding in the city. Today, the ten-day festival is mainly an excuse for donning a mask and costume and parading around the city. Various events are organized...but anyone can buy a mask and participate while watching the gorgeous costumes on show in the Piazza San Marco." (DK Eyewitness Travel: Venice, page 32.) Mask stores and street vendors were plentiful. Emma was really intrigued by the masks. Her mommy told her she could get one. She chose an animal, of course! 
Here she is making freaky kitty eyes.
That sums up our first day in Venice. I miss it already!

Buona notte!

1 comment:

Christy Lynn said...

I'm going to start signing things Kokeshi Doll Christy from now on :) Really, most of the buildings in Venice kind of blend together for me...we did Venice last and I think after a while you're just on mental overload with looking at everything. Love the flower boxes on the windows though :)