Our last day in Venice started with a tour of Gallerie dell’Accademia. On the way to the art museum we stopped on top of the Accademia Bridge for the view of the canal and the unusual statue in the garden next to it. We took a marvelous tour of the museum with a local guide and saw amazing paintings by Titian, Boticelli and many other great pre-Renaissance artists. We then were treated to a demonstration by a master glass blower from Murano. The afternoon was spent wandering the streets of Venice and finding little jewels around every corner. In the evening we gathered for a group gondola ride through the canals of Venice. Our guide, Daniella, even ordered a beautiful full moon along with an excellent soloist accompanied by an accordionist.
We had the amazing good fortune of being in Venice for the annual Festival of the Redeemer. In the 16th century 50,000 Venetians (1/3 of the population) died from the plague. In 1578, the survivors gave thanks for the grace afforded them by building a cathedral and creating the festival to remember their blessing. The festival begins with an amazing fireworks display over the Grand Canal on Saturday evening and a special mass is held on Sunday attended by the Patriarch of Venice and the people. The fireworks show lasted 40 minutes and practically everyone on the island gathered in boats and around the lagoon to watch. On the way back to the hotel we caught a glimpse of a calm, quiet canal at night.
Our third day in Venice was busy, warm and wonderful. Because we did so many things and I have so many wonderful pictures to share, I’ll be making several posts for this day. The above pictures were taken during our morning tour through the back streets and Campos (like a square) of Venice. The winged lion above is the symbol of Venice and is seen throughout the city. The gondola has been used as a mode of transportation in the canals for over 500 years. However, the modern gondoliers use cell phones to book appointments. The bridge suspended over the canal is called the “Bridge of Sighs.” The bridge leads from the Doge’s (Ruler of Venice for centuries) Palace to the prison affording the prisoner a last look at Venice. There is a legend that says the name is derived from the trip Casanova made across the bridge laminating his lost loves, however, there is evidence that the name came from Lord Byron upon his visit to Venice. The last picture in this set sums up what Venice is like to me. Around every corner you will find peaceful scenes like this one with color, historic buildings, calm waters and more interesting things to see just around the bend in the canal. Hope you enjoy!
We had some fun today getting lost in Venice and finding our way back to familiar places. The island is full of historic sites, wonderful museums and lots of shops. The Masks are gorgeous so I had to share some of the elaborate ones we’ve seen. This is a sample of our first impressions from today. I’ll be more specific as our tour continues and we get more information.
Feel free to comment and let me know what you think!