After a long travel day, we arrived in Venice and took the Vaporetto, water taxi, to St. Mark’s Square. I thought we would go by way of the grand canal, but we went another way. Our hotel was nice and it was the first time I saw a bidet in person. Why did they have a funny-tasting water fountain next to the… just kidding. Stephanie gave an introduction to Venice and St. Mark’s Square. We then had a group supper at a tiny place called Trattoria alla Scala. Dinner was a multi-course spectacular.
We headed back to St. Mark’s Square to check out the night scene, but the rain was keeping things quiet. I was hoping to get a table at one of the three big cafes that had live entertainment. But it was cold and we were tired from the pace. We took a stroll by the water and went back to our hotel that was just behind St. Marks.
To change things up, I got up early to explore Venice in hopes of catching the sun rise. It was cloudy instead, but it was amazing to see an empty Venice with only the city workers and other shutterbugs. I did not make it up early enough to catch the morning blue hour.
I was utterly entranced by the beauty of the city. The many colors and the weathered textures were enchanting in elegant decay. Venezia is a photographer’s dream. I have never seen so many Pro-Series lenses in one place. It was fun wandering around and truly getting lost in the maze of streets and canals.
We enjoyed our first breakfast in Italy. The staff was a bit annoyed that we all were just hanging around after eating instead of getting up and going on our way. We met our local guide who took us on a walking tour. We visited a mask maker’s laboratory where he did a demonstration for us. Ken and Mark modeled some masks and accessories as he described the characters. We went next door to his shop, and my jaw hit the ground. What beautiful masks! I couldn’t decide which one to bring home. I knew I would have to come back. I took a business card, which had a map back to the shop.
We went to St. Mark’s basilica and toured the church, learning how they stole St. Mark’s body and brought it here so people would come to Venice for their pilgrimages. We saw the real Triumphal Quadriga (Horses of Saint Mark) from Persia inside and the copies outside.
We were on our own for the afternoon. I wanted to see the Rialto Bridge and visit the jewelry store that Rick recommended. Ken and Treesa went with us. The old post office had a lookout view on the top floor, so we hiked up past the makeup counters and couture department stores to the top. It was a grand view. We had a lovely lunch and went in search of the Frari, a basilica with a lot of art and funeral monuments. I thought it was rather dull. You can’t win them all. We went in search of the Accademia Bridge and the sights on the way. Did I mention how many stores this city has? At least there was gelato on the way.