Venice: Lexi Arrives

Day 20 – Venice: Lexi Arrives

Daily Wrap-Up

One Word
  • Barb: Boats
  • Mike: Atilt
  • Jen: Catless
  • Lexi: Squint
Two Words
  • Barb: Canal traffic
  • Mike: Above Venice
  • Jen: Scavenger hunt
  • Lexi: Sinking city
Three or Four Words
  • Barb: Out early, empty streets
  • Mike: Venice waking up
  • Jen: Rats in a maze
  • Lexi: Sparkling water, sparkling wine
One Sentence
  • Barb: Despite past experience, the beds are surprisingly comfortable.
  • Mike: What’s up with covering real bricks with plaster then painting bricks on the plaster?
  • Jen: I can almost find my way from Piazzale Roma to our flat.
  • Lexi: I’m not in Florence anymore!

I’m not the only one fascinated by Venice. It’s a popular destination for visitors. But I am also one who does not care for crowds (that may be putting it mildly). Being here in March instead of July helps, as does making use of early morning hours. I am by nature a very-early-morning person, and being able to see Piazza San Marco nearly empty makes getting out at this time of day something I look forward to and cherish.

An empty Piazza San Marco.

Piazza San Marco is empty early in the morning. It rained last night, but that blue sky will rule the day.

A crowded piazza.

Later in the day, the Piazza San Marco looks like this. What a difference!

The light may not be great for taking pictures early in the morning, but for me, it’s a great time to walk about and see things.

Gondolas parked in a row along the Grand Canal.

The gondolas are all moored. The Grand Canal is still and quiet.

Quiet, still canal in early-morning Venice.

In the early morning, boats are moored, and the water in the canals is still and quiet. No wakes because no one’s awake but us. Streets are empty. The air is fresh.

Activity increases slowly, beginning with workers making deliveries and collecting trash.

Three boats of goods are unloaded while most people are abed.

The Venice day begins with deliveries and trash collection.

I don’t want a week or two in Venice: I want several months of early mornings in Venice.

Barb, Mike, and Jen on the Ponte dell'Accademia

Chilly, early morning on the Grand Canal. The vaporetti (waterbuses, behind us) aren’t operating yet. We’re on the Ponte dell’Accademia. Look how peaceful the water is.

Early mornings don’t last nearly long enough, but I am very grateful to have them. We enjoyed our stroll, and when sites opened, we stopped in at the Santi Giovanni e Paolo church, which our guide book says vies with the Frari as the city’s greatest Gothic church. I feel ill-qualified to judge, but I did find it beautiful and interesting. It had the impressive architecture, grand scale, and fine sculptures we’ve come to expect, but it didn’t have colorful wall-to-wall storytelling frescoes. It had rather austere, brick walls. Monuments pay tribute to twenty-five doges, and here is where St. Catherine of Siena’s foot lives.

The interior of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

The grand architecture and sculptures and austere brick walls of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.

But all is not exactly as it seems. See that brick on the wall? It’s not really brick. It is, in fact, wall-to-wall fresco, but the images painted on the plaster surface are bricks. No kidding. First, I got close enough to notice they were painted bricks. Then—get this!—I found a place where the fresco had fallen away, revealing the underlying material. Guess what it was. No, really, guess. It was brick! I was sure we took a picture of the real brick under the painted brick, but, alas, it seems I am wrong. Lexi’s soon returning to Venice with her class. Maybe she can get a picture of this.

Monument backed by frescoed brickwork.

All that brickwork? Fake! That’s a fresco of brickwork.

Close up of frescoed bricks.

How about now, can you see it? Those bricks aren’t real; they’re painted!

What do you suppose is the point of putting plaster on a brick wall and then painting that plaster to look like brick?

As always, I love the patterns and colorful marble.

An altar decorated with yellow, green, and red marble.

Patterns employing colorful marble are always a favorite of mine.

A red, green, yellow, and white marble floor mosaic.

A beautiful marble floor mosaic.

Next, we found the Rialto Market and stocked up on fruits and veggies for our short time here in Venice. There were fish stalls in addition to produce stalls, and while we didn’t purchase any fish, Mike found them more interesting to photograph. We have eight or so pics of dead fish, shrimp, scallops, and octopi but none of the beautiful (to be fair, also dead) fruits and vegetables.

Fish stall with several different fish and shrimp selections.

Fish at the Rialto Market in Venice.

We went home for lunch and then to the train station to meet our niece, Lexi, who is studying in Florence this semester. She hopped on the train after her morning class. So far, we were sort of biding our time and saving the good stuff until she could join us.

The first activity was a vaporetto ride through the Grand Canal. Getting tickets was a little confusing, even with our far more experienced and fluent niece with us, but we figured it out in time.

Buildings along the Grand Canal and a gondola in the water behind the vaporetto.

Riding the vaporetto (public waterbus) through the Grand Canal.

We got off at San Marco to climb the Campanile for a good look around and bird’s-eye perspective. This gorgeous, blue-sky day afforded us spectacular views of St. Mark’s Square below us, the city all around us, the Adriatic Sea, and even the Alps in the distance. What a view!

The Campanile at Piazza San Marco.

The Campanile at Piazza San Marco. This campanile was completed in 1912. It replaced one completed in 1173 which collapsed in 1902, killing only the caretaker’s cat. Donations poured in to build a replacement exactly the same as the old one, “where it was and as it was.”

Bird's-eye view of Venice, the Adriatic, and the Alps in the distance.

A bird’s-eye view of Venice, the Adriatic Sea, and the Alps from the Campanile in Piazza San Marco.

We returned home to enjoy a simple, delicious, and nutritious meal including fresh veggies from the market and prosecco from the homeowner.

Mike, Lexi, Barb, and Jen toasting dinner and the day.

Cheers to family fun in Venice!

We ended the day with an evening stroll to Piazza San Marco (yes, we’ve been here a number of times now) when the crowd had gone home and/or out to dinner.

Lexi, Jen, and Barb in St. Mark's Square at night.

Piazza San Marco at Night.

Categories: Italy, Travel

2 replies »