Venice. Sigh. It’s slightly attractive. As I said in my Part 1, there’s not really much I could show you or tell you that you’ve probably not heard before. But I did learn one interesting fact. So below is that one fact, a word of advice and then some pretty pics. For pics of another kind, see Part 1.
You’re going to go into St Mark’s Basilica aren’t you? I mean, you’ve come all that way, no matter how worn out and weary of tourist attractions you may be, it’s one of those things you just have to tick off. Well, here’s what the queue looks like to get in.
Eww. So, my advice is to book yourself on some kind of walking tour that includes the Basilica and you’ll waltz right past all those poor people who aren’t in the know. Plus, I mean, hello, if there’s one place in the world where you really really need to find yourself an expert to explain what you’re looking at, it’s Italy. And for that I can highly recommend Walks of Italy .
Of course these things depend greatly on who you get on the day, but our tour guide was amazing (I think he was called Mose, but don’t quote me on that). His presentation wasn’t just a dry spewing out of facts, he really told a story and helped us imagine Venice how it would have been hundreds of years ago. It’s a real skill to be a good tour guide and for me in Italy the best have all been Art History students. So maybe that’s the key.
A Fact to Blow Your Mind (thanks Mose, if that was your name… )
Venice had the world’s first digital clock! Look again at the queue in the photo above. See the clock tower there? It was built in the late 16th century, but in 1855 panels to the left and the right of the virgin and child statue were added. As you can see below, these panels change every five minutes, a kind of Roman Numeral digital clock.
This is 12 o’clock…
and ta daaaa… five minutes later it shows 12.05. Very cool.
Some Pretty Pics
And there it is, well the most famous part at least, with the St Mark’s Basilica bell tower jutting out conspicuously.
And another view from the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore, an island across from St Mark’s square.
As part of the 2014 Venice Biennale, this sculpture by Heinz Mack will be on display at San Giorgio Maggiore until November 23rd. It’s called ‘Sky Over 9 Columns’. I’m not usually one for modern art and it of course has all sorts of symbolic meanings, but to me it just really looked like it was holding up the sky and that was enough to impress me!
I spent a hell of a lot of time looking up in Venice.
And of course, where’s there’s washing, I will snap snap.
I actually just took this because I wanted to remember the roof garden for one day when I’m super rich and can afford to buy a place in Venice (cough) but it actually looks quite good with those clouds and the Gondola parked out then front.
Washing, a bridge, dilapidated buildings. Snap!
This was my favourite building in Venice. I love the shape. I scoured a map for ages marking off all the places where 2 canals merge into one and visited them all. Took me hooouurrss to find this.
See. Isn’t it cool?
And here it is from another angle… sorry…
Yet another canal that caught my eye.
Wandering off the main streets can sometimes get a little claustrophobic. In a good way.
Ooh, we’re back at St Marks. You may just notice the tip of a cruise ship making its way along the Grand Canal there. Following a very controversial decision to dredge the lagoons to allow the larger cruise ships access, this is a very common sight now.
The facade of the Doge’s Palace. Those two different coloured marble columns were to mark the point where the herald would stand to deliver news. Just in case you wanted to be front and center.
I tried really hard to get a classic Gondolier shot without having to actually pay to have a ride on one. This was the best I got 😦
Well, there was also this one, but I just thought this was funny because he was on his mobile phone while he had customers. Forget any romantic ideal you ever had about a Gondoler ride. Everyone I saw looked bored to death and it really seemed to be like the ultimate in tourist trap attractions.
And finally there’s little little guy. I noticed him just standing there at his window watching the world go by. Going by the hordes of tourists that annoyed the crap out of me, he’s got an endless stream of entertainment.
If you’ve never been to Venice, it’s definitely one of those ‘must do once in your life’ things. The crowds however reeeeaaaally annoyed me. I did have a bit of an antidote to that by staying in Padova and having a way to escape the madness every day, but more on that in Part 3.