Bookmark and Share
2014 Log: Italy & Islands
1. Sangaris in Venice – Wow, What a Destination!
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

Welcome to the first of nine Venice blogs! Don't fret, though, they're all pretty short with lots of great pics, so just keep scrolling down - the last Venice Blog is "shopping", so "shop" till you drop!. Plus, if you still want to browse the incredible sights, there are plenty more photos in the gallery - just click "Photo Gallery" over there on the right. When you get there click the first pic to see the caption, then keep clickin' "Next" - Enjoy!

Venice is one of the few cities in the world that can truly be described as unique. It survives against all odds, built on a series of low mud banks supported by thousands tree timber pilings in Adriatic tidal waters that make it regularly subject to floods. Once a powerful commercial and naval force in the Mediterranean, Venice has found a new role. Today tourists abound and her palazzi - palaces - have become shops, hotels and apartments, her warehouses and public offices have been transformed into museums and her churches have been turned into centers for art restoration.

Although we had been tempted to detour from Croatia and visit this summer, we're sure we made a good decision to wait until autumn for Venice. With crowds, temperature and marina rates all adjusted to more comfortable levels, we sailed from Porec, Croatia into the lagoon of Venice on Tuesday, October 6 with pals Pat and Keith. Arriving in thick haze and carefully heeding the channel pilings, we didn't see the city emerge until we were up close and personal. We moored in the marina on San Giorgio Maggiore island (see next blog entry) on the Canale di San Marco and right across from the Palazzo Ducale (Dogi Palace), Basilica and Campanile. By 6pm the mist cleared and - bam - there they all were! Even the Zecca (old city mint), Columns of St. Mark and St. Teodoro, Hotel Danielli and Vivaldi's La Pieta made an appearance, as did the customs house topped by a golden weathervane figure of Fortune, and the monumental Santa Maria della Salute church, built to commemorate the end of the 1630 plague.

Craig, and likely all engineers, loves Venice as it is a completely man-made environment rising up from the sea. And I am absolutely in awe of its fantasy like atmosphere. We both have thoroughly enjoyed and stretched out our stay in this wonderful city and will show you our favorite stops: museums and churches, exotic palaces, sun-speckled canals and narrow pathways, and enough cafes and shops for every whim and appetite!

So, here is the Rialto Bridge, a beloved landmark and geographical center of the city; The Crew ~ Katherine, Keith, Pat and Craig; the remarkable Byzantine Basilica San Marco with a corner of the Dogi's Gothic "pink" Palace; St. Mark's Campanile high above the Piazza and the crown shaped church of Santa Maria della Salute (Our Lady of Health) with the customs house in front ... this one was taken from the deck of our boat!

| | More
10/18/2009 | Steve and Karyn
We have just logged into your blog for the second time. I, Steve, am very impressed with the way you do your photos. I need a lesson. Venice looks like too much fun. We are in Ibiza headed for Palma then to BCN by 28th. Good blogging!
s and k
2. Sangaris at the Marina San Giorgio Maggiore
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

Appearing like a stage set across the water from the Piazza San Marco, the little island of San Giorgio Maggiore has been captured on canvas countless times. What a comfortable home it made for us! And right next to Andrea Palladio's church and monastery, built between 1559 and 1580 and believed to be among his greatest architectural achievements. The church made a fascinating visit with its impressive Tintoretto paintings at the altar and the panoramic vista from the campanile was not to be beat!

Location, location, location! ... Sangaris is tied to the right hand, inner dock and is the fourth from the bottom - just right of the empty berth. From there we had spectacular views and incredibly convenient transportation as the #2 vaporetto - waterbus - stopped there every 10 minutes to take us across the canal to San Marco or, in the reverse direction, to Giudecca and points along the Dorsoduro, one of Venice's six ancient administrative districts or sestieri.

Cruiser's Note: If you splurge at the marina, you can easily get groceries and a reasonable self-service laundry a few steps from the Giudecco vaporetto stop at Zitelle; the next Redentore stop has a larger Prix supermarket.

| | More
3. Views from Atop the San Giorgio Campanile
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

Here's the panoramic view from the top of the San Giorgio Campanile, just before dusk but fortunately with some of the mist gone. The top left photo faces north and shows (l to r) the Zecca, which was the old city mint and now the Biblioteca Marciano, the red brick St. Mark's campanile which replaced the one that collapsed in 1902 and the Doge's Palace with the Basilica's domes behind it. The top right faces west with the Dome of "our" San Giorgio and "La Salute" and the Customs House at the mouth of the Grand Canal. Below that is a view of the former monastery of San Gio and, across the water looking south, a peak at the grounds of the swanky Hotel Cipriani. Bottom right: La Salute close-up. And, finally, the Riva Delgi Schiavoni waterfront with the listing San Giorgio dei Greci campanile to the left and the white façade of the 15th C. La Pieta, which thanks to Vivaldi, became a foundling home and famous choral and orchestral music venue.

| | More
4. Boating a la Venezia
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

Gondoliers are part of the symbolism and mythology of Venice. The gondola with its slim hull and flat underside is perfectly adapted for negotiating narrow, shallow canals. Once essential for the transport of goods from markets to palazzo, gondolas today are virtually all for tourists but what a great part of the Venice experience.

The photos show sleek black gondolas tied to mooring posts along the Riva Schiavoni near the San Zaccaria Vaporetto stop. In the first picture you can see the detail of the stylized bow ornament, the "ferro", which counterbalances the weight of the gondolier. The gondolas below have posh chairs and decorative ornamentation and are awaiting fares under the Academia Wooden Bridge. The traditional dress for a gondolier is a beribboned straw hat, striped top and black trousers. In one of the shops near the Rialto we found the hats for sale ... perhaps our captain or crew will need one? In the far right photo you can see the rowlock or "forcola" which can hold the oar in eight different positions for maneuvering ... it's quite an art, especially in the crowded back canals!

| | More
5. Classic Gondola Boatyard
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

During a morning walk in the Dorsoduro section of Venice we came upon Squero San Trovaso, the oldest of Venice's five surviving squeri (boatyards). Here craftsmen build new and repair some of the 400 craft in use. Keith and I looked at each other and at the exact same moment exclaimed "Now, Craig, don't get any ideas about hauling Sangaris here, even with both masts down!" as our captain has a reputation for seeking out most unusual venues for "over-wintering" our boat!

| | More
6. Losing Ourselves in Venice
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

Venice is wonderful place to walk and wander and, if you are willing to put away the trusty guide, to lose yourself amongst the calles (small lanes) and fondementas (canal-side walkways), up and down the tiny canal bridges and strolling through the 'campi' or squares which open out from narrow alleys. We found magic around most every corner when we set out with Pat and Keith to explore the backstreets of the Dorsoduro district. Beginning at the Zatterre vaporetto station, we meandered west to the Rio San Trovaso and came upon the gondola boatyard, local markets and cichetti bars serving interesting tapas-like munchies. The streets were surprisingly free of tourists and we knew we were where real people lived, shopped and hung out their laundry. What a delight!

On a nearby corner we heard music and went in the parish church to hear a local orchestra practicing Schubert for an evening concert in a neighborhood. Next we turned around and we were at a famous carnival mask workshop. Just a few shops down, a very pretty glass gallery and shop beckoned ... gifts galore!

And then we found my angel, well, OK, "Miss Garnet's Angel". Keith and Pat had brought a couple of very special books for us: one was a novel that features one Miss Garnet, along with the Archangel Raphael and a collection of local Venetian and ancient biblical characters. The Sangaris crew, like 'Miss G', were enchanted having discovered the Chiesa dell' Angelo Raffaele and, once inside, its treasures of art. Lucky for us the church door was still open, even after its appointed closing time, and the organist interrupted his practice to light the parapet and reveal GianAntonio Guardi's lovely paintings representing scenes from the book of Tobit. ... you'll have to read the book to find out the rest of the story!

On the lookout for a lunch stop, we came upon the Palazzo Zenobia, one of the "in town" venues for "La Bienniale Venezia", an international, contemporary art show. Though we were not overly enthused by the very modern painting and photography exhibits, our self-guided tour through the old palace was fabulous. After lunch at a festive trattoria in the Campo San Margherita, we sampled some gelati and then went on to explore the areas around the San Rocco and San Toma campos. Well-traveled feet call for another respite, so we choose to take a vaporetto ride along the Grand Canal with its most impressive palaces ... but we'll save that for the next blog post!

| | More
7. The Palazzi dei Venezia
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

Taking a Grand Canal "cruise" on a vaporetto, especially the "slow boat #1" with late afternoon light, was an ideal way to rest our weary feet and see the lavish palaces lining the waterfront of Venice's "Main Street". With the guide book in hand we learned a bit of history to compliment our views: The earliest surviving private palazzi date from the 13th century and reflect the architectural influence of the Byzantine world. Elaborate Gothic palaces are more numerous and most of those were built in the mid 13th to 15th centuries. The most famous of all is the Doge's Palace in St. Mark's Square with its elegant arches and fine stone tracery creating a delicate, lace-like façade (detail in corner). Copied throughout the city, we recognized this design by its pointed arches and trefoil (three leaved) carved windows. We also spotted Renaissance and Baroque houses along the Canal, each with its own style of ornate columns, stone carvings and window designs. Our guide book suggested that many of the oldest and largest of the palazzo are no longer residences, but if they are, they're likely to harbor their chandeliered elegance above mossy, often flooded first floors.

Not surprisingly, Sangaris' resident photographer snapped lots of pics to give you an idea of the exotic scenery!
So, here's a sample house tour: 1) A view of canal gondolas in front of a row of "typical" Venetian palaces with their fancy pastel facades, 2) Palazzo Loredan, former residence of Doge Francesco Loredan, 3) Palazzo Contarini Fasan, a tiny 15th c. palace a.k.a. 'the House of Desdmona' from Shakespeare's Othelllo, 4) detail from 'the' Doge Palace, 5) the red façade near the Rialto "water-bus" stop marks the 15th c. Gothic Palazzo Bembo,
6) the Ca d' Oro (House of Gold) at the center is the finest example of Venetian Gothic architecture on the canal, 7) Palazzo Franchetti Cavalli and 8) on the lower left, is the one story Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 'unfinished' palace that was Peggy Gugenheim's home and is now displays her collections as a large modern art museum.

| | More
8. Venice Churches
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

OK, if we're going to show you a whole slide full of palaces, we've got to do some churches too ... they are on every corner, are usually massive and beautifully sculpted, and house an incredible collection of art. We wandered through several and saw famous paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, Bellini, Guardi, Carpaccio and Veronese, just to name a few!

Here's a mix of Byzantine, Baroque, Renaissance and Palladian Churches (top l to r): 1 & 2) St. Mark's Basilica's Domes & Byzantine mosaics, 3) Exuberant baroque façade of San Moise (Moses) where parishioners of St. Mark's actually attend because there are too many tourists in their own Basilica!, 4) another view of 'La Salute', 5) an Angel atop Santa Maria Zobenigo, 6) Gesuati, a conspicuous landmark of the Zattere quayside, and 7) Il Redentore, a Palladian classic styled on the architecture of ancient Rome, is a marked contrast to the ornate style of most Venice churches.

| | More
9. And Last But Not Least, Shopping!
10/06/2009, Venice, Italy

Long a city of aristocrats, luxury goods and merchants, Venice was built to entice. While no one claims it's great for bargains, it does have a shopping charm and we were drawn to window-shop and poke into shops featuring fabulous glass craft, carnival masks, lace, antique paper products, fabric and tapestry, designer clothing, fancy accessories, and paintings ... all popular with tourists visiting Venice.

| | More
10/17/2009 | Dick and Elle/Summer Wind
Most fabulous, very envious. Enjoy,enjoy,enjoy!!!!!!

Newer ]  |  [ Older ]


Powered by SailBlogs