Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ponti de Rialto ~ San Marco Plaza ~ Doge's Palace ~ Venice, Italy

Our visit to Venice, Italy continues with more rides in the vaporetto on the canals and many hours of walking.  Our stay was only 3 days as the city of Venice is not a large one but we certainly wasted no time during those days, we walked for hours every day and saw almost every corner of this wonderful city.  Be sure to wear good walking shoes and carry a map.

Ponti de Rialto on the Grand Canal in Venice
What is now known as the Ponti de Rialto was originally a floating bridge and the only crossing on the Grand Canal.  It has collapsed, then replaced, burned then collapsed again so was totally gone by 1524.  This stone replacement was done in 1591 and then given its’ name we know it by now.  The bridge has shops on either side and is a landmark in Venice, recognized throughout the world. 
Crowds in San Marco Plaza in Venice, Italy
 San Marco Plaza might be considered the heart of the city of Venice.  It is here that one will see crowds of people at any given time, day or night.  The water bus dropped us off at the terminal and we set out to see the sights that this plaza is famous for.  The large building on the right of this photo is Doge’s Palace, click here for more information. 
Street performer in Venice, Italy
 There are street performers at almost every turn in Marco Plaza but we didn’t find them to be too intrusive.  This person was standing on something high and posing for pictures with anyone who might be willing to pay them for their time.  Venice is a city known for their masks and costumes at festival times of the year and I believe this was to be symbolic of that.  I give him credit for his efforts.
Artists at work in San Marco Plaza
 I can only imagine having the talent of an artist and being able to sit here and paint the magic of this incredible city. We spoke to one artist who was fulfilling his lifetime dream of visiting Venice to paint. Although I was tempted to purchase one of these paintings, I wasn’t willing to spend our day of walking carrying it so passed on the opportunity.
Doge's Palace at San Marco Plaza on the Grand Canal
 The other dominant building around San Marco Plaza is the Doge’s Palace.  A beautiful gothic structure, it faces the Venetian lagoon and was completed in the early 15th century, though portions of it were rebuilt after a fire in 1574. 
St. Mark's Basilica in Venice, Italy
 St. Mark’s Basilica, the Catholic Church adjacent to Doge’s Palace is a great architectural sight and jumps out as we come around the corner of the Palace.  There had been churches built here before but demolished during different battles until this one was built in 1063.
The crowds wait to see inside St. Mark's Basilica 
There are mosaics from 28 meters wide to 21 meters high and they cover over 8,000 square meters of walls, cupolas and vaults.  We didn’t go inside, there was a very long lineup but these mosaics outside were magnificent. 
Mosaics on St. Mark's Basilica, Venice, Italy
The mosaics of St. Mark’s Basilica are beautiful with golden backgrounds that light up depending on the time of day and offer different effects.  There have been replacements done over the centuries but they have now found a way to remove and restore then return these mosaics so they will remain original. 
Gesuiti in Venice, Italy
 The Santa Maria Assunta, known locally as Gesuiti is a twelfth century church and convent.  It was one of thirty convents at one time but there are now only a few left. We came upon it on a wandering stroll through the city where it sits surrounded by homes in a quiet neighborhood.  It wasn’t open at the time of our visit so we didn’t see inside but I loved those huge doors.

Venice is definitely a city that should be on your list if you are planning a trip to Europe.  There are many beautiful places to visit but I think Venice is very unique and I would go back in a heartbeat, there are still some sights we didn’t see enough of.  If visiting churches and museums are on your list, then you must allow more time than 3 days.  Stay awhile and enjoy this lovely city.


Related Posts with Thumbnails