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June 28th 2008
Published: July 15th 2008
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Ljubjana to Venice

The beach at TriesteThe beach at TriesteThe beach at Trieste

The white "seals" struggle come ashore to sun bake on the rocks

Venice is Venice is Venice - aptly described by a historian in the C17th as a place where people tethered their boats to their houses where ordinary people would tether their animals.

The city became a trading centre and it wealth expanded exponentially as it trade routes and influences grew. Because of the wealth, it was able to divert that wealth to explore music, architecture, the crafts and it must have been a most remarkable city in its heyday.

From the time that Rodger and Jan and Helen and Di were here last, they all said it was now much much busier. The canals were packed, and the narrow walkways crowded. Massive Ocean liners are now parked at the end of the Grand Canal, and day tourists pack the city so the place has lost, in some respects, the atmosphere of its past.

None the less, it is a remarkable city and one that faces enormous challenges if the seas rise just two feet. At the present time flooding occurs from October to December and doorways around the grand canal have slots by the doorway where waterproofing board are inserted to keep the water out of the houses and shops

We visited the Doge’s Palace, which is a remarkable building with an even more remarkable collection of art and history. We walked through the bridge of Sighs (?).

The armoury section is worth a two hours stay alone. It showed the development of weaponry from battleaxes and board sword to Epee, Sabre and Foil to musket loaded arms- and delicate small weapons for women. I thought they should have had James Bond’s Beretta as well.

The great council halls in the palace, with the monstrous paintings of battle scenes, of Venice’s victories seem to reflect the psychic of celebrating their great battle and victories as being a partnership with God but also accurately recorded the use of weaponry - the way a cross bows was loaded was interesting .

I guess that attitude that " might is right ", explains the pinching of St Mark's body and bringing it to Venice. Even poor old St Nicholas ended up pinch from his graveyard in Turkey to end up Czechoslovakia or was it Germany and I guess the British pinching Greek statutes and bring them to London which they justified as for the sake of preservation.

In the C17th, glass works were taken out of the city because of fire hazards, to Murano island and the great Venetian glass workers have been there ever since. The volumes of trade mean that the 500 glass master can never keep up with the demand so a lot of the non-collector pieced are made in China and packaged up as Venetian. Probably even with Venetian trained glass blowers.

Our apartment was close to St Marco's square: it was quite, a rabbit warren to get out the five door to the street. The supermarkets were close by as were the restaurants and the grand canal just around the corner.

We did a day trip to Murano and Burano, the two islands where glass and lace are made and the rest the time in Venice just walking the streets looking at the bridges, have coffees, lunches and dinners. At one dinner in a small restaurant we heard the singing of a superb street entertainer who turned out to have been born in Melbourne, studied in Canada and is working in Venice. We asked why he sang at this particular place with just a couple of restaurants and he said an elderly women threw him a note from an upstairs room which was of such value that it will have him singing here for some time in the future.

He immediately sang for us. What a voice.

We have put in the pictures and just put in a few comments - In Venice, a picture tells a thousand words and we hope the images will tell you more than any words.

We have to find out the size of St Marks square I think it is illusionary in the Japanese style with different dimension

Update : Google earth measures the length of St Marco's square at about 200m long and 55m at the narrow end and 80 m at the Cathedral end. Tiemann square is 760 m but with Mao's mausoleum inside.

Additional photos below
Photos: 57, Displayed: 24


Ceiling above staircase in the Doge's PalaceCeiling above staircase in the Doge's Palace
Ceiling above staircase in the Doge's Palace

This was the original Gold staircase cover in 24 carat leaf which took three years to complete
Looking through a window inside the Bridge of Sighs Looking through a window inside the Bridge of Sighs
Looking through a window inside the Bridge of Sighs

This was the prisoners last look of the outside world before being thrown into windowless cells.

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