Day 20 – Venice: Lexi Arrives
- Barb: Boats
- Mike: Atilt
- Jen: Catless
- Lexi: Squint
- 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
- 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.
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.
Activity increases slowly, beginning with workers making deliveries and collecting trash.
I don’t want a week or two in Venice: I want several months of early mornings in Venice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
We returned home to enjoy a simple, delicious, and nutritious meal including fresh veggies from the market and prosecco from the homeowner.
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.