- Fizzy Thoughts: Italy Trip: Day Twenty-four

Italy Trip: Day Twenty-four

Sunday, October 07, 2007

9/21/07

Up early to catch the train for one last day in Venice. The plan - St. Mark's and the Doge's Palace. We'll see if we can beat the people.


Doge's Palace yes. St. Mark's no. We took the #1 vaporetto from Ferrovia (the train station) to San Marco and got in line for the Doge's Palace. The line was mercifully short and we were in the palace within 10 minutes. First we saw the courtyard and the Grand Staircase with Moses and NOT Paul Newman (there are two statues...Rick Steves says they are Moses and Paul Newman...Rick Steves is a dork). Then we went up the Golden Staircase (the ceiling is decorated with paintings and gilt, so you have to look up to understand the name) into the Doge's apartments. Then into the Council and Senate rooms and the armory. Then into the huge room where they met to elect the doge, then over the Bridge of Sighs

view from the Bridge of Sighs...look at all those tourists!


and down into the prison. What a contrast. All of the rooms in the palace are heavily decorated, either with silk wallpaper or panelling, and paintings. Lots of dark oils, especially in the Senate Room and Hall of the Grand Council with Tintoretto's paintings. The prison was stark stone, damp and cold with short little doors. The prison was supposed to be modern, with light and airy cells and wood panelled walls. This is only true on the cells with windows. The further inside you go, the darker and colder it gets. The palace is where the doge lived and all the government stuff happened. The doge was elected, but ruled for life. It sounds like the Senate and Council did most of the work and made most of the decisions, though. Especially the Council of 10. But the doge was like the pope in that when he died everything came to a screeching halt until the Grand Council convened and elected the next guy.


After we wandered through the palace we decided to skip the very very very long line into the basilica. We stopped to eat at a place behind St Mark's that wasn't that impressive and had bad service, even taking into account the fact that there really is no such thing as customer service in Italy. After lunch we started randomly walking down streets and came across the Arsenale, where the old shipyards used to be. It now belongs to the Navy and is off limits. But we took pictures of the gateway with its stone lions standing guard.

From there we walked to the Giardini Pubblici (Public Gardens), then hopped on a vaporetto back to San Toma so Sue and Lance could check out Frari Church with it's Titians. Mom and I skipped the church to look at the beautiful carnivale masks in the nearby shops. Then we wandered back to the train station and headed home for leftovers and packing. Some last shots of the canals:

doorknob in Venice

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