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August 26 to September 1, 2009 VENICE

September 2nd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

We arrived in Venice from Rovinj after a 50 mile motor passage across the Northern Adriatic that took about nine hours.   Flat seas and clear skies made for an uneventful but boring trip, but it proved to be well worth it.

Flat calm

Flat calm

Approaching Venice from the sea one is struck by the amount of construction going on at the entrance to the “lagoon”, as the large body of water that surrounds Venice is called.  Lagoon implies a rather shallow, calm body of water and that it is.  Most of the lagoon is less than 10 ft. deep except where it has been dredged.

Modern Venice is fighting the same battle with the sea that has been fought for thousands of years—dredging is a way of life to keep the channels to the port open and accessible.  We entered the lagoon at Porto di Lido the main channel into Venice, passing many barges with large cranes and equipment that were creating land where there had been water—essentially moving the sea bed to places where it was of more use and deepening the channel at the same time.

Canal Dredging

Canal Dredging

Crane Boat

Crane Boat

The anchoring opportunities in the lagoon are very limited and there are none near Venice proper so we had made a reservation at marina Ventodivenezia on the island of  Certosa, one of many islands in the lagoon.  From Certosa we were able to take a water bus or “vaporetto” as they are called in Italian to Venice proper and the other islands nearby.  This proved to be a very central location from which to tour, and much more affordable than the other marinas close to Venice.  We had views across the channel to Santa Elena and the island of Lido.

View from Ventodiveneza Marina

View from Ventodiveneza Marina

Venice Sunset

Venice Sunset

Venice is a city that survived since the Middle Ages as a testament to the power and wealth of its ancient roots.  The architecture is opulent and reflects many cultural influences—baroque, Turkish, oriental—in keeping with the scope of Venice’s territorial control in the 12th to 14th centuries before it fell to Napoleon in 1797.  Among the most famous sites in Venice are San Marco Square which is dominated by the Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark) which contains gold mosaics that date from the 12th Century.  Adjacent to the Basilica is the Palazzo Ducale or Doge’s Palace which was the residence of the rulers of ancient Venice and the seat of government.

Bell Tower & Basilica

Bell Tower & Basilica

San Marco Square

San Marco Square

Canal View of San Marco Square

Canal View of San Marco Square

Clock Tower Piazza San Marco

Clock Tower Piazza San Marco

Courtyard Doge Palace

Courtyard Doge Palace

Doge Palace

Basilica from Doge Palace

San Marco Mosaics

San Marco Mosaics

San Marco at Sunset

San Marco at Sunset

Set against the backdrop of its ancient buildings, Venice is a contemporary city that buzzes with activity—most of it related to tourists.  It is said that over 12 million people a year visit Venice, and while we were there it seemed that 1 million were there at one time.  More than one cruise ship a day deposits thousands of passengers on San Marco Square the major palazzo of the city, and tour groups of 50 to 100 people each clog the narrow streets.  We carried Jolie in her bag much of the time to keep her from being trampled. 

People & Pidgeons Piazza San Marco

People & Pidgeons Piazza San Marco

Carol & Jolie San Marco Square

Carol & Jolie San Marco Square

Wall to wall people in San Marco Square

Wall to wall people in San Marco Square

The canals are so jammed with gondolas and water taxis that there are water traffic jams, but it doesn’t seem to deter the sightseers who come from all over the world to view the Venice of old.  The Grand Canal is lined with magnificent palazzos some of which are now hotels and museums, and the Rialto Bridge which allows foot traffic across the Grand Canal is a favorite tourist spot.

Grand Canal

Grand Canal

Grand Canal Palazzos

Grand Canal Palazzos

Rialto Bridge over Grand Canal

Rialto Bridge over Grand Canal

Grand Canal Chaos

Grand Canal Chaos

Vaporetto at Rialto Station

Vaporetto at Rialto Station

The canals are also the life blood of a contemporary city.  Everything moves by water.  Delivery boats take food and drink to the restaurants and stores.  There are refrigerator boats that deliver perishable food and DHL boats that deliver packages.  There are work boats of every description.  The polizia travel by boat and give tickets to water taxi drivers who speed.  For tourists and residents alike, the vaporettos or “water buses” provide basic transportation.

Just Another Work Day

Just Another Work Day

Polizia Boat

Polizia Boat

More Work Boats

More Work Boats

Trash Day on Grand Canal

Trash Day on Grand Canal

DHL Delivers

DHL Delivers

Traffic Jam

Traffic Jam

There are also boats that serve as ambulances and hearses.

Water Ambulance

Water Ambulance

Water Ambulance at Ospedale

Water Ambulance at Ospedale

Water Hearse

Water Hearse

San Michele Island Cemetary

San Michele Island Cemetary

We took a day off the boat and stayed in a charming small hotel near San Marco Square called Hotel Firenze to celebrate our anniversary.  The room was small but decorated with ubiqutous Murano glass chandeliers and the hotel had a lovely roof deck that looked out over the lagoon and the top of San Marco.

Rooftop Garden at Hotel Firenze

Rooftop Garden at Hotel Firenze

Murano Chandelier

Murano Chandelier

It was fun to walk through the city, along the many small canals and to wander the narrow streets after dark.  Like every other tourist in Venice we got lost, and were hot and tired. 

I call this narrow

I call this narrow

Let me get my bearings

Let me get my bearings

Hot Day, Cool Feet

Hot Day, Cool Feet

No visit to Venice would be complete without a gondola ride, but we balked at the 80-100 euros for a 55 min. ride through canals that were so filled with gondolas that everyone was basically sitting still.  We had the experiance without the cost by opting for a ride across the Grand Canal on one of two gondolas operated by the city—total cost 1 euro each round-trip.  Gondolas are like flat bottom canoes and just as tippy, but great fun nevertheless.  Unfortunately, we weren’t as wise when it came to visiting the infamous Harry’s Bar on the Grand Canal, where a gin and tonic cost 20 euros and a bellini (a small one at that) was 19 euros.
Carol & Jolie in Gondola

Carol & Jolie in Gondola

Venice is also the people who live and visit there. 

Gondola Musician

Gondola Musician

Family Day

Family Day

Gondolier

Gondolier

Venetian Ingenue

Venetian Ingenue

Some of our favorite scenes capture the essence of Venice.

Venetian Street Market

Venetian Street Market

Smiling faces

Smiling faces

 

Water Taxi Races

Water Taxi Races

Who has the right of way

Who has the right of way

Gondola Workship

Gondola Workship

Venetian Masked Magic

Venetian Masked Magic

Gabriel Maybe

Gabriel Maybe

All in all, our stay in Venice was great fun, but escaping the crowds and heat of August make Croatia very appealing.  September 1st dawned with a chill in the air that reminds us that fall is coming.

Sunrise Sept. 1st

Sunrise Sept. 1st

Back to Croatia.

Ciao,

Carol, Kent & Jolie

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