Our drive to Venice was easier than we thought and we enjoyed not getting lost and arriving at Marco Polo airport without any hiccups. We dropped the car off and made our way to the Alilaguna ferry to transport us to our closes vaporretta stop -Madonna del’orto for our apartment in the Canaregio area.
We meet our rep from Views on Venice and she gives us the rundown on the apartment , we are very happy that it has air conditioning because it is very hot, so we arrive into a nice cool apartment. It has a lot of history to the building but has been updated recently, so we have the best of both worlds.
We unpack and then put on the walking shoes to take to the Venetian streets and lanes. As the apartment has no Internet our first port of call is to the views of Venice office to get their USB stick so we have access to Skype etc. On The way to the office we cannot believe how busy the streets become.
Our accommodation is in such a nice quiet area and then the closer to the tourist areas it is manic. We fall in with the crowds and can’t wait to escape but since we are so close to San Marco we wander around to see the square again. It still has an impact having seen it many times before, it is an amazing square and buildings especially The Basilica with its Byzantine influence mixed with Venetian Gothic it is totally unique. We looked forward to returning with a few less people around, either early or late in the day.
The heat of the day took its toll on us, so a ride on the vaporretta is a welcome idea and we have a wander around the ghetto area before the heavens open and the rain comes pouring. We have no rainwear with us, so we stop for an early meal in one of the many trattorias near our apartment. The atmosphere is great with both locals and tourists enjoying the evening, and the rain has brought a slight relief from the heat.
We have lovely chat with a young welsh couple who live near Bath, and give them lots of tourist advice for their time in Venice and then Florence and then Montorosso. They are very appreciative and furiously write down notes. We enjoy our meal and chat with them enormously and wish them well on their whirlwind journey..
So then it’s time to walk off some of our pasta and think of what food we need from the supermarcato. It was packed in there at 10pm and we bought more than we could easily carry so it was a workout of a walk back to the apartment for John, but we are stocked with all we can need for the next few days.
Our morning starts off very cruisy with breakfast in the apartment and taking in the goings on outside our window. The building we are in is in many of the tourist guides for its Tintoretto connections and the statues of oriental merchants adorning it, so we enjoy watching people walk over the bridge nearby and come and pose for a photo near our doorway below.
Although we do not have a balcony as such our windows open out to a small railing and we are able to sit out onto it and watch the passing parade.
We decide to keep away from the main tourist drag today and walk up to a Jesuit church that has the most ornate marble work we’ve ever seen ! And we’ve seen a lot of churches !!
Then it’s a vaporretta ride to the outer Island of Burano as we have not been there on previous visits.
We are surprised by how many people have the same idea but we join the crowded ferry and take in the views of the ride. We are not disappointed by our decision and we both have fun photographing the many delights of the coloured houses .
It has a remembrance of mexico with the brightness of the colours. We make our way around the outskirts of the island trying to keep in the shade as much as possible as its another scorcher of a day, and every turn brings another photo opportunity. we especially loved this one below, a patriotic set of washing like never before , tshirts in the Italian flag colours with a backdrop of The Italian Azzuri Blue of the National soccer team.
There were so many interesting little buildings but this one below got our vote as the cutest and we loved the inscription on the outside. Touristy it may be but oh so apt.
Back to Venice and a walk to the Santa Maria Dei Miracoli, the spectacular yet small marble adorned church on the canal was in order for John to see it again. It is set in a beautiful meeting of Canals and has a lovely Piazza right next door.
We managed to get lost in our wanderings through the narrow lanes ( we think we found the narrowest, only about 1m wide) and if it wasn’t for the heat that would not be a bad thing but every step in the sun is energy zapping so its time for la pauser.
We are meeting Tim & Jodie at our apartment for aperitifs and then its an easy stroll for dinner around the corner on the Rio Della Misericorda as the sunsets over Venice.
The Basilica was more magnificent than we remembered from our 1999 visit and you could really see the significant influence of the Byzantines especially the Hagia Sofia Basilica from Istanbul, The golden and blue mosaics of the holy family were almost identical. We paid the extra 2 Euro to go behind the Altar and see the magnificent golden bejewelled panel of Saints, it is unimaginable what value it would have broken down let alone in all its glory.
Next it was off to “The Peggy” Guggenheim museum, its one of our favourite modern Art Galleries set on the Grand Canal just over the Accademia bridge and the view from the bridge is jst as beautiful as ever.
But first we were distracted by all the signs for a Biennale and the exhibitions from various Eastern European Nations mostly ending in stan scattered throughout manly old Palazzos in Venice so we visited about three and also stumbled into the stunning Casa Pisani for another free Art-show held in the Conservatory of music.
At the Peggy as we call it the exhibitions were wonderful and we love the setting right on the Grand canal where we took a wonderful family pic 14 years ago, so we reshot the angle again.
some of our favourite artists are on display, Miro, Chagall, all from the modernist periods. and how good is this fabulous match head below.
As we crossed the bridge we found this amazing Japanese man creating insects with fresh reeds, we didnt buy one but gave him a tip for his genius.
we made our way back up the Grand canal on the Vaparetto admiring the daily life and the beautiful palazzos.
That night we caught up again with Tim & Jodie to compare notes and say our farewells and after dinner in their favourite restaurant in Santa Croce we walked through the streets of San Paolo over The Rialto bridge to see Piazza San Marco at night and listen to the 3 bands duelling it out in the Cafes of the Square.
We had booked a secret Itineraries tour of The Douge palace on the Saturday morning at 9am and it was already 30deg so ambling through ancient cell blocks and roof cavities at 35deg was not what we would call fun but it was insightful to learn all about Casanovas internment for 18 months for various crimes !!!
The tour then went through the rest of the palace ( cannot photograph inside most of it ) and again more opulent than we recalled especially the massive primo saloon with its huge Tintoretto on The Judgement day, boy did that guy have some issues and we are staying in his old Casa so the ghosts may be interesting. The Palace is a magnificent mix of Byzantine and Venetian Gothic and is unique in the world of architecture.
Our last full day in Venice was spent on dry land and started by stumbled across another Biennale exhibition with some amazing artworks and then to the Ca’d Oro Palazzo that is now a museum donated to the state by its owner after he restored it to all its Gothic glory and filled with his art collection. The stunning Ground floor entry Portico, courtyard and Loggia to the Grand Canal was magnificent with some of the best floor mosaics we have seen
And the couryard entry has been beautifully restored and presented with wonderful sculpture.
And we really liked this cute little Lion without the obligitory wings.
We found another exhibition and were blown away by the artwork before doing some shopping and lunching at a free wifi cafe with air con.
Our Canal takes on different moods as the light changes above.
We had time for one more La Pauser under the watchful eye of our resident Cavalier wh, we can only assume that it is a replecer Tinterento as he held sway over our lounge room in all his full sized glory.
Dinner was local, in fact right next door to our apartment, Osteria deldi Mori and it was magnificent, we should have discovered it earlier, modern Italian food by a Sicilian chef in Venice, brilliant.
Well it’s off to Slovenia tomorrow and although the heat was stifling Venice still holds its magic.