Italy Moblog #8

Yesterday was a relaxed day, so decided to not write. Here is yesterday’s account. We left the hotel at 8am on our Venice tour.

We reached the San Marco square which is the major center in Venice. Our first stop was at the Murano Vecchio glass factory. We saw first hand how the famed Murano glassware is made. Two experienced workers were making them. Their seamless coordination and the way they made the beautful glass was very interesting.

Then the tour guide gave us a sales pitch which we weren’t quite prepared for and proceeded to explain how wonderful all the stuff on sale is. Definitely the beauty of these glass objects is something to be seen. But everything seemed so expensive but so tempting to buy.

From there we went to the San Marco church – nearly a 1000-year-old one. The domes were organized to represent a Greek cross.

Our next stop was the San Marco square and we looked at where Napoleon Bonaparte lived when he conquered Venice. The square didn’t look as impressive as it looked during the night. There were thousands of pigeons roaming the square and it made for a nice spectacle.

The next stop was the Doge’s Palace. The Doge is an interesting concept – Doge was an elected ceremonial head of the government and lived in the palace and presided over the senate, council etc but had no power. Doge is what you get if the Queen of England was elected – ceremonial figurehead.

The palace is beautiful and is typical of any such thing in Italy – ist filled with paintings and sculptures. There were too major ones worth mentioning – Veronese’s masterpiece in the celing of the Senate. The ceiling instead of having a fresco actually had framed paintings by Veronese mounted on it. It is spectacular.

Then in the Grand Council Hall, we saw Tintoretto’s masterpiece mounted on the ceiling in the same way. In both instances the best painting was right above the throne of the Doge. Our tour ended around 11am.

We walked back to the hotel after lunch. We passed through the Realto bridge which offers some excellent views of the canals and some excellent shopping as well. It was a long walk but one filled with a lot of window shopping. These Murano glassworks are too tempting. We reached the hotel around 2 PM and took a siesta till 4PM.

Then after a cup of coffee, we reached the Jewish Ghetto that Priya wanted to see. The word Ghetto originates from a Geto – a foundry here in Venice. The Jews were not allowed to go outside the ghetto after certain hours of the day. There were a couple of synagogues in this area, but were closed by the time we reached there.

It was around 6.30pm, so we decided to have dinner at the Ghetto Vecchio (“Old Ghetto”). We found a jewish restaurant – Gam Gam. It was a wonderful dinner. We had the best Falafel we’ve ever had. That’s saying a lot because we eat Middle Eastern cuisine atleast once every 2 weeks.

After that, we roamed around – checked out the Venice Train station. The trains looked pretty good – probably not as good as the ones we had seen in Switzerland, but pretty good. We then headed back to the hotel and chatted with some of our tour group members and hit the bed at 10pm.

We left Venice today at 8am on a long bus ride back to Rome. More to come.