See ya Florence, Hello Venice!

Oct 03

See ya Florence, Hello Venice!

Ryder: So, Amanda hasn’t been feeling all that well and our super helpful and friendly AirBnb host Paolo offered to let us stay longer while she’s sick (Needless to say, we haven’t been doing much of anything since our last post). After some debating, we took him up on his offer Monday morning, the day we had planned to travel to Venice. I was able to massage our reservations into moving back a day and now here we are, on Tuesday, in Venice!

The train ride was a quick one, only 2 hours, but when we arrived we found out that the water bus taxi system we needed to take to reach our hotel were starting a strike today. So far that’s two strikes that have affected our travelling during this trip 😉 The vaperettos, aka the water bus, were only taking people to the Rialto stop, and we needed to go a few more stops down the river. We amazingly did not get lost (thanks to Google Maps on my non-upgraded iPhone). We arrived at our hotel and then went out to explore, grab some dinner, and soak up Venice!

Amanda: Today we woke up in time for complimentary breakfast then went for a walk around Venice. We went over a few bridges and down some narrow streets, enjoying the ambiance and bustling vibe. One of the big differences we’ve noticed between here and Florence (apart from all the water, duh) is the ridiculous number of tourists in Venice. We hardly ever hear Italian walking down the streets! Most of the shops we passed held high-end leather goods, glass wear, lace, and lots and LOTS of Venetian masks for Carnevale Festivals. This is definitely a city geared toward tourists.

We went back to our hotel for a bit, then headed to the famous Basilica di San Marco in the Piazza San Marco just around the corner from our hotel! The beginnings of this structure were built to house the supposed remains of St. Mark the Evangelist, brought (or stolen depending on who you ask) from Alexandria. The original church was burned, but rebuilt to the present basilica, and consecrated in 1094.  This basilica stands as one of the best examples of Byzantine architecture as, according to the churches website, “To build St. Mark’s Church, Venice brought the spiritual and material heritage of Byzantium to the West.” Feel free to insert “stolen” for “brought” were you see fit.

We walked around the interior of the church, marveling at the vast space and large intricate mosaics lining the ceilings, accompanied by brilliantly intricate slabs and tiles of marble. We paid a bit extra to see the view from the top and tour the basilica’s museum. In the museum we found the “Horses of Saint Mark.” They are four bronze horses dating back to Classical Antiquity, cast in the lost wax casting method. Some accounts claim these horses once adorned the Arch of Trajan and were long displayed at the Hippodrome of Constantinople. They were taken to Venice in the Fourth Crusade, stolen by Napoleon in 1797, but returned to Venice in 1815. The horses now on the facade of the cathedral are bronze replicas.

After our fill of the basilica, we stopped at a restaurant near our hotel for some dinner and are now in for the night.

One comment

  1. Kathy Hickey /

    Okay you guys are killing me – first Florence and now Venice!!! Venice is such a cool city. So different than anything you will ever see. Go to the Florian cafe in Piazza St. Mark. I guess all the famous writers went to Harrys Bar or something like that. I hope you start to feel better Amanda.

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