1. Sangaris in Venice – Wow, What a Destination!
06 October 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!