post

Venice

September 7, 2014 – Sunday – Austria to Venice, Italy

Rick Steves Best of Europe in 21 Days tour

After parking in the Tronchetto parking area of Venice, we get our bags off the bus and take the Vaporetto (water bus) to the Academia area. Jennifer previously warned us that an historical regatta was happening along the Grand Canal, which means some bridges and portions of the canal are closed to traffic. We schlepp our bags through the crowds, but when we reach the Academia Bridge, it is jammed solid with a crowd and is complete chaos. At this point we can no longer roll our bags as we squeeze through the crowds. It takes us about 20 minutes to carefully cross to the other side and regroup before continuing the rather stressful walk to our hotel.

Canal intersection with patios and homes above in Venice
Canal intersection with patios and homes above

The Hotel Serenissima is located just four blocks from St. Marks Square, and it’s not much further to the Rialto Bridge area. My room is the tiniest hotel room I have ever stayed in, however it has a bathroom and a single bed, and is comfortable and quiet, since it faces the inner courtyard instead of the street.

We don’t have much time, but I manage to get cleaned up before we go out for a group dinner at Trattoria alla Madonna. The food and service is very good. The dinner includes salad, main course, wine, dessert, and some entertainment from a trio that wandered in from the street. They make out like bandits from all the tips our group give them!

Gondola ride on the Grand Canal at night in Venice
Gondola ride on the Grand Canal at night in Venice

Another highlight of the tour comes next: a night time gondola ride through the canals, complete with a singer and accordion player! Our guide Jennifer arranges this extra cost activity for those of us who want to go, so we share in the (reasonable) cost, and end up in four gondolas. It is great to experience this with the group. It is a beautiful night, the Moon is full over the Grand Canal, and the city is alive with people as we glide by listening to our musicians. Jennifer even serves us Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) before we start the gondola ride!

September 8, 2014 – Monday – Venice

After breakfast at the hotel this morning, we go on an early morning guided walk with a local guide. We see Marco Polo family’s square, then go to the Venice Hospital area, where we have a break. The hospital looks like a church to me. The walk continues wandering through Venice, and we eventually come to a little shop on a canal, which sells Venetian masks. Our guide takes the whole group inside to see how the Moroccan owner makes the masks. I’m not interested, although the rest of the group seem to enjoy it.

Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals in St. Marks Cathedral
Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals in St. Marks Cathedral

Our last stop on the tour is the famous St. Marks Cathedral on St. Marks Square (Piazza San Marco), where our guides leave us. Timing is important, since at 11:30AM, the lights illuminating the ceiling inside the church are turned on. This is new for the cathedral and well worth planning for, since the ceiling comes alive with the extra light, and photography of the ceiling detail is much more rewarding. I decide to pay extra to see the famous golden horses, which are upstairs in the museum part of the church. This turns out very well, since I also have access to the balcony over the main entrance, which gives an unobstructed view of the flooded St. Marks Square, the Doges Palace, and the nearby islands and canals. I skip touring the Doges Palace, since I saw it last time I was here in 2006.

I get my shoes soaked as I try to dodge the water in the square on my way back to the hotel. After a nap in my room, I go out walking around the Rialto Bridge and the Grand Canal, take some photos, and just enjoy my free time in Venice. I join a couple in the tour group for dinner at a nice outdoor restaurant with a great view of a canal near the Rialto Bridge. Now that the cruise ship passengers have left Venice, the place is civilized again!

September 9, 2014 – Tuesday – Venice to Florence

We don’t encounter any problems taking the Vaporetto back to the Tronchetto parking area of Venice this morning, since the Regatta is over – things are back to normal.

Venice
64 photos
Fincantieri ship building facility
Fincantieri ship building facility
Frecciarsento high speed train in the rail yard at Mestre
Frecciarsento high speed train in the rail yard at Mestre
Five cruise ships docked
Five cruise ships docked
Tronchetto people mover train bridge
Tronchetto people mover train bridge
Tronchetto people mover train station
Tronchetto people mover train station
The causeway and the Tronchetto
The causeway and the Tronchetto
Tronchetto vaporetto terminal
Tronchetto vaporetto terminal
Crowds on the Academia bridge waiting for the regatta on the Grand Canal
Crowds on the Academia bridge waiting for the regatta on the Grand Canal
Group having dinner
Group having dinner
Musical trio entertaining the group after dinner
Musical trio entertaining the group after dinner
Venetian canal at night and an almost Full Moon
Venetian canal at night and an almost Full Moon
Jennifer opening Prosecco to serve us before our Gondola ride
Jennifer opening Prosecco to serve us before our Gondola ride
Jennifer opening Prosecco to serve us before our Gondola ride
Jennifer opening Prosecco to serve us before our Gondola ride
Our gondolas await us
Our gondolas await us
Our tour group aboard one gondola
Our tour group aboard one gondola
Jim and Sandy celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in Venice
Jim and Sandy celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in Venice
Gondolas on a canal at night
Gondolas on a canal at night
Singer and accordian player on our gondola
Singer and accordian player on our gondola
Gondoliier and gondola on a canal at night
Gondoliier and gondola on a canal at night
Gondolas passing on a canal at night
Gondolas passing on a canal at night
Our group in a gondola passing under a bridge on a canal at night
Our group in a gondola passing under a bridge on a canal at night
Building's balcony and ornate room fscing the Grand Canal lit up at night
Building’s balcony and ornate room fscing the Grand Canal lit up at night
Jim and Sandy on thh Grande Canal with our gondolier
Jim and Sandy on thh Grande Canal with our gondolier
Our group in gondolas on the Grand Canal at night
Our group in gondolas on the Grand Canal at night
Our group in gondolas on the Grand Canal at night with the Full Moon
Our group in gondolas on the Grand Canal at night with the Full Moon
Our group in gondolas on the Grand Canal at night with the Full Moon
Our group in gondolas on the Grand Canal at night with the Full Moon
Our singer serenades us on the Grand Canal
Our singer serenades us on the Grand Canal
The Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal at night
The Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal at night
The Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal at night
The Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal at night
Our singer and accordian player serenade us on a small canal
Our singer and accordian player serenade us on a small canal
A bridge over a canal with the Full Moon behind
A bridge over a canal with the Full Moon behind
Freight boats in front of the Rialto Bridge
Freight boats in front of the Rialto Bridge
Marzipan confections in a shop window
Marzipan confections in a shop window
Freight boat in a canal
Freight boat in a canal
Mask-making presentation
Mask-making presentation
Gondola with ornate seats
Gondola with ornate seats
Wig and dress in the Atelier Marega mask shop window
Wig and dress in the Atelier Marega mask shop window
Canal intersection with patios and homes above
Canal intersection with patios and homes above
Brass door knocker
Brass door knocker
Masks hanging from a shop ceiling
Masks hanging from a shop ceiling
Bridge of Sighs behind the Doge's Palace
Bridge of Sighs behind the Doge’s Palace
Ornate roofline of the cathedral
Ornate roofline of the cathedral
Crowds in St. Mark's Square avoiding the flooding
Crowds in St. Mark’s Square avoiding the flooding
St Mark's Campanile tower
St Mark’s Campanile tower
The columns of San Marco and San Todaro and the crowds in front of the Doge's Palace
The columns of San Marco and San Todaro and the crowds in front of the Doge’s Palace
Torre dell'Orologio clock tower
Torre dell’Orologio clock tower
Ornate facade of the cathedral
Ornate facade of the cathedral
Crowds in St. Mark's Square avoiding the flooding
Crowds in St. Mark’s Square avoiding the flooding
The front balcony above the cathedral entrance
The front balcony above the cathedral entrance
Stairway to the museum
Stairway to the museum
The horses of St. Mark's Cathedral
The horses of St. Mark’s Cathedral
The gold decorated sanctuary from the balcony
The gold decorated sanctuary from the balcony
Gold leaf ceiling decorations
Gold leaf ceiling decorations
Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals
Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals
Gold decorated ceiling
Gold decorated ceiling
Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals
Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals
Candelabra in the sanctuary
Candelabra in the sanctuary
Gold decorated screen
Gold decorated screen
Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals
Gold decorated wall and ceiling murals
Gold decorated ceiling murals
Gold decorated ceiling murals
San Marco Square flooded by a Full Moon tide
San Marco Square flooded by a Full Moon tide
People dining beside the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge
People dining beside the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge
San Giacomo di Rialto and its large 15th century clock above the entrance
San Giacomo di Rialto and its large 15th century clock above the entrance
Masks in a shop window
Masks in a shop window

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.