Ah – Venice!
From the moment we exited the train station, I found Venice overwhelming . Overwhelming in a good way, like nothing I had ever experienced. It seemed in no time, we were wisked onto a water taxi and were traveling the Grand Canal in a stream of humanity. As if this were perfectly normal.
Venice is a combination of approximately 118 Islands, separated by canals and linked by bridges. To think of all the goods, supplies, food , etc. that has to come in and out via the waterways from the mainland is amazing.
For the History Buff:
It is believed that Venice was founded in 421 A.D. by people trying to escape the barbarian invasions of the Lombards and Huns, among others. It started as a collection of lagoon communities banding together for mutual defence. They worked out a rudimentary system of self-government via Tribunals.
Around 700 A.D. the first “Doge” of Venice was elected as the senior most elected official. Venice was a Republic and elected doges.
The buildings of Venice are constructed on closely spaced wooden piles from alder trees (a wood noted for its water resistance). Most of these piles are still intact after centuries of submersion. The foundations rest on plates of limestone placed on top of the piles, and buildings of brick or stones sit above these footings. The piles penetrate a softer layer of sand and mud until they reach a much harder layer of compressed clay. Submerged by water, in oxygen-poor conditions, wood does not decay as rapidly as on the surface. (Wikepedia)
Our Hotel was at the foot of the Rialto Bridge. Handy, so we couldn’t get lost. Well, getting lost in Venice is just what you do, but by the time we found the Rialto Bridge we knew where our Hotel was.
The Hotel was named “Graspo De Ua”. When I asked the meaning, the answer was “Bunch Of Grapes”. OK then.
It was nothing special , though you have to understand that most hotels in Europe are small, and plain. It’s location, however, was perfect.
It was down a VERY narrow alley. Not unusual for Venice.
The Doges Palace.
Built in the 14th Century
The Palace connects to the Prison via The famous Bridge of Sighs.
The Doge’s Palace
The very first Palace was built in 810 but no trace of the original remains. It was rebuilt and refurbished many times over the years because of fires. It was reconstructed in 1172, 1340 and then extended in 1424. An entire new structure was added after a devastating fire in 1483.
The Palace was linked to the Prison by the Bridge Of Sighs in the 16th Century
“I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A palace and a prison on each hand;” ~ Lord Byron, poet
It was said that as a prisoner walked over this bridge, he paused,
looked out at the beauty of Venice and his last look at freedom, and
as he knew he would spend the rest of his life in this Prison.
A view from the Bridge
Everyone wants to know about Food!
As I am not a “Foodie” there are not pictures of our meals. I almost wished there were, because now I can’t remember what we had.
I had been Gluten Free for two years prior, and I did decide to forgo that. Who can be gluten free in Italy after all.
Our first night in Venice we had reservations at Trattoria Antiche Carampane in the Sao Polo District.
In our Guidebook notes from Italy4Real It told us that this restaurant advertises
“No Pizza, No Lasagna, No Tourist Menu”.
It serves primarily Fresh Seafood .
And the neighborhood:
It is located next to the Ponte delle Tette (Bridge Of Tits) (yes, that’s right)
“Above this bridge, the prostitutes would expose their breasts to entice passersby”
(in the olden days)
Take a closer look at the drawing above
Our Travel Agent states, “I suggest no matter how much wine you 2 have, this is not a good idea”.
My friend and traveling partner, Fran, tells me that I had the sole. The food was excellent.
Then there was the obligatory Gondola ride.
No, it wasn’t like this.
It was a “Group Serenade” Gondola Ride
There were 8 or 9 Gondolas holding 6 or 7 people each.
Luckily, Fran and I were not expecting a romantic serenade, but there were couples with us who were.
Some of them could not even sit together! It was rather humorous to us – but I suppose not to them.
Gondola ride in Venice – Check!
This will have to be Venice – Part 1
There is so much to post that St. Mark’s Square will have to be a post of its own
And “The Jewish Ghetto” will most likely be separate post. The oldest Ghetto in the world.
Fascinating history. Especially for a gal whose father is Jewish and mother is Italian!