Arriving in Venice

Breakfast with David, a quick taxi ride, and we’re on the train to Venice.  We hugged the Adriatic coast for a bit, one more view of Miramare, then went inland until we came to Mestre about two hours later.  Along the causeway, and we’re in Venice, or at least in a very crowded train station in Venice.  We eventually got ourselves sorted out and on the the Number 1 vaporetto, the slow boat that goes along the length of the Grand Canal.

Venice is so watery!  The water is green, the buildings are attractively old and often dilapidated, there is a church every hundred meters or so, and the whole thing is more photogenic than you can imagine.

Arriving at San Zaccaria, next to San Marco, we followed the hotel’s directions along several narrow alleys (no bridges, for which we should have been thankful), to the quiet square of San Zaninovo, in the Venetian dialect, or San Giovanni in Oleo more formally.  The hotel faces a church which has been closed for more than a hundred years.  There’s a wellhead  in the center,  and to one side a sottoportego (tunnel) that leads over canals and through campi to Santa Maria Formosa, where we had lunch  (an okay pizza and a glass of prosecco/campari and soda).

We had tickets for St.Mark’s at 3:00, so after checking in to our nice room at Casa Querini overlooking the campo, we made our way to the Piazza (there is only one in Venice).  Below is a view of the Piazzetta, with the Doge’s Palace on the left and the library on the right.Following Rick Steves’ practical advice which we listened to on our phones, we walked through the most amazing building, with walls and ceilings covered in gold mosaics.  The lights were not turned on (as we realized on our second tour, see tomorrow’s entry) but the effect was still marvelous and quite Byzantine in feeling.  We paid the extra Euros for everything, well worth it:  the Palo d’oro is a (stolen, of course) gold and enamel panel telling of St. Mark’s life, the treasury had a sweet lunetta by Paola Veneziano, and the Museum of St. Mark’s was wonderful.  First you see examples of how the mosaics are made, then you have views down into the church from this upper level, then you go out on the roof in front and hang around with the four horses (copies) and enjoy the great views, and finally you see the four original horses, standing inside where they won’t be damaged by pollution.  All in all, quite wonderful.

We had dinner tonight at Ae Sconto, recommended by Lynda and Frank, and enjoyed it mightily (as when have we not enjoyed Italian food?).  I had the creamed cod and polenta recommended by someone on Tripadvisor, which was quite good, then we shared some kind of delicious pasta.  The nice people gave us a glass of Prosecco to start and limoncello to end.  Divine.

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