Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Shopping n Touring in Venice

Thursday morning we were up and at 'em, and decided to hop off the Vaporetto at the Rialto Bridge to check out the market and other shopping right there.

I especially love the 5-tipped stylus here for making a musical staff!

Just half a block from the bridge is the Marcato Rialto - it even has it's own Vaporetto stop. Quite the fish and veggie market!

We had quite the chuckle - this little girl was fascinated with the snails, and Dave thinks she took one as a souvenir. Whoo Boy -- would hate to be finding that in a pocket at the end of the day!

And then there were vendors of all sorts lining the streets surrounding the market. This was supposed to be a quick little stop - we could have stayed for hours!

There is a Tragetto stop here at the Marcato too. These are little gondola ferries across the grand canal - apparently a cheap and easy way to try out a gondola ride, LOL. Granted, it's only about 3 minutes long, but then it also costs less than 1 Euro. No, we didn't climb aboard.

Our actual destination this morning was the Train Station, to purchase our tickets to Switzerland for the next day. I was so thankful for our friend, Antonella's scheduling help because honestly the agent in the station wasn't trying very hard to get me a reasonable route that did NOT involve a 4 minute layover. That in itself would have been ok - except we had too much luggage to just run from platform to platform with, so we had to be a little more creative. But we managed.

At that point we were of course back at the train station, and so had planned to take Rick Steve's Grand Canal Tour all the way back to St. Marks. He publishes many of his guides as pod casts also, so we had downloaded a couple of them. We waited for a Vaporetto where we could secure outdoor seating - and listened to the description of the beautiful landmarks all the way down the grand canal. It was fantastic and well done. Each chapter is synced with a stop on the way, so you can pause and restart the audio to time it exactly with the boat trip. Very clever.

Ca d'Oro

San Stae

The Rialto Marcato again - from the canal.

Then... voila, we were back at St. Marks! Toured the Basilica - again taking advantage of one of Rick Steve's pod casts which walks you through the immense displays with interesting background information. However, I do have to say we were trying to be efficient with battery power and internet access by only downloading the podcast to one phone and listening to it with headphone splitters. On the boat? Worked great. In the Basilica which was wall to wall tour groups tripping over each other? BAD.

Interesting old ship out in the ... that's not the canal - not sure what you call that body of water out there. The Lagoon?

No real surprise here, we were enamored with the Bronze Horses that sit atop the Basilica. Hee.

The ones outside are replicas, but these are the restored originals inside. They are really beautifully done - A little more than life sized - hard to tell since we could never get up on ground level with them.

They have quite the tale. And because I'm not feeling all that inspired, I will again just quote Mr. Steve's description:

Art Historians don't know how old they are - [cast somewhere between 400 BC and 400 AD.] Megalomaniacs through the ages have coveted these horses not only for their artistic value, but because they symbolize Apollo, the Greco-Roman god of the sun... and of secular power. The doge spoke to his people standing between the horses when they graced the balcony atop the church's facade.

... Legend says they were made in the time of Alexander the Great, then taken by Nero to Rome. Constantine took them to his new capital in Constantinople to adorn the chariot racecourse. The Venetians then stole them from their fellow Christians during the looting of noble Constantinople (in 1204) and brought them to St. Mark's.

What goes around comes around, and Napoleon came around and took the horses when he conquered Venice in 1797. They stood atop a triumphal arch in Paris until Napoleon's empire was "blown-aparte" and they were returned to their "rightful" home."

(Rick Steves, Venice)

Another angle on the Bell Tower.

Wandering around back canals. This photo didn't turn out all that great, but we did happen to score lunch at a little outdoor cafe just on the other side of this canal. While we were eating, this gondolier arrive to make ready to set our for a day of ferrying people around.

Another random shot of a Gondolier.

That afternoon we thought we had time to catch two more museums and a short nap. Sadly, no, we ought to have opted for the nap, and then devoted an adequate amount of time to the second museum. Oh well.

Ca' Rezzonico was about 100 steps from our hotel, so we always assumed it should be on our list. It is listed as one of the best chances to tour one of the palaces lining the grand canal with 1700-era furnishing and decorations.

And it was interesting to imagine living there, overlooking the canal. Receiving guests upon the dock on the canal, and everyone ascending to the second floor where the entertainment rooms were. Canal level rooms were all storage and what not, and the very top level rooms were for servants. But the second and third floors (what American's call second and third floors) were the main living floor for the owning family.

Oh look - here come some guests now!

It was so sad to learn that most of the palaces lining the grand canal are vacant. Too worn out to actually live in, too expensive to fix up - particularly because of Historical Preservation regulations requiring owners to keep them up according to 'standards'. So they are deserted and sinking into the sea.

After a very short nap, we headed to the Academia museum, for an extremely abbreviated visit. Would like to do that one again at another time.

But the bonus was there was an outdoor cafe right next door. Had pizza and chianti to these views:

A 'flotilla?' of gondolas came by with a man singing to the group. *AH*

La Salute at Sunset

And finally, we spent our last evening out on St Marks square - sipping cappuccino and listening to the dueling quartets. I had no idea what the book meant by dueling quartets, but that is exactly what they are. There are 3 or 4 covered stages where quartets, quintets, sometimes sextets were set up serenading the diners and visitors to the square. (you can see the white canopy covered one behind me in the photo above) They typically let the others complete a short set before starting up themselves, but not always.

It was lovely, entertaining, and the best part of all -- all while seated!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Venice, I love this unique city.

7/9/11, 5:08 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Oh we DID, we DID!! And thanks to some expert guidance from you I think we packed in as much as possible into our 1.5 days there.



7/9/11, 5:52 PM  

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