4, 2006 - Tuesday - We hit the road early again today, departing Florence
for a stop in Padua and then onward to Venice. We arrived at the
Hotel Ariston around 3pm. This hotel is located on the mainland in Mestre.
Finding a restaurant in Mestre proves to be a challenge. Our hotel is not
conveniently located, so we have to find our way by foot under the expressway to even to
find the centre of Mestre. Finally, we find a pizzeria that serves
adequate food, so we can have some supper before our big day tomorrow touring
We go up to the top of the Campanile bell tower first. Admission was €6 and the view of Venice from the top is great. We then stop for a quick lunch in the Museo Correr and the Archeological Museum. It is an amazing place, with many artefacts from Venice's past all the way back to the Napoleonic era. The history of Marco Polo was prominently profiled, however Venice has such a rich and varied past which includes many other famous people. There is a huge collection housed in these combined museums, which could easily take a whole day to do it justice, but we move on.
We purchase a San Marco Pass, which allows us to walk right into the Palazzo Ducale (Doge's Palace). This was the centre of power when Venice was an independent state. The Doge (pronounced dowj) was an all-powerful person who could make or break any Venetian citizen. Inside the Palace, we see many paintings by Tintoretto among other famous artists. The walls are literally covered with huge oil paintings, and the ceilings are decorated with tile mosaic. One room has a fresco ceiling, but Venice's damp climate damages frescos, so tile mosaics are used here instead. The Halls of Justice are also located in this palace, as well as the prison. We walked across the famous Bridge of Sighs, where convicts were taken to the prison on the other side of the canal after their judgment day.
|Backpacks are not allowed when viewing most sites in Venice, so either leave your backpack behind at your hotel, or check it at one of several cloakrooms. Camera bags and shopping bags are OK to take inside the sites.|
|We used the San Marco Pass, but there are several other passes available for seeing the sights of Venice. All the guidebooks describe the passes and how they work, so do some research before you arrive in Venice. Passes offer great value and can save you considerable time, since some permit you to walk past lineups.|