Lots of hurry up and wait – and wait with big groups. But the advantages have been everything planned, tickets included to museums, people who gave greats tours and taught us so much!
We have a guide in our bus, the very personable and funny Flavio.
We made our way to Venice first on 2 large motorcoaches and then on a large boat – dropping us off a short distance from St Marks.
We walked to the Doges Palace for our tour which was led by a wonderful guide, Louisa, whose family has lived in Venice for five generations. The story of the Doges palace, the history and psychology behind the design of the building was fascinating – unfortunately no pictures allowed except in the hallway.
That’s gold leaf on the ceiling – it was everywhere – the incredible opulence of it was designed to impress people visiting with the importance and wealth of Venice and the Doge – a figurehead leader elected but for life – they were mostly older so that they were not in office too long.
The stairs were very steep and we were told they were designed that way so visiting ambassadors were out of breath and more awed by the time they reached the top.
The rooms and artwork – all items that were as they were historically were beautiful and very interesting. They included the courtrooms where people were tried and sentenced. If they were to be imprisoned the prison was next door – and the way in was through a short bridge – high up on the buildings- called the Bridge of Sighs. As prisoners were led through they had a view through small openings of their last view if beautiful Venezia (Venice)
The prison was considered fairly humane – not as bad as some places…. Six people to a cell.
Kevin and Megan
The inside of St Marks is also covered in gold leaf on the ceiling and higher areas – this very ornate church was the personal chapel of the Doges and did not get funded by the Vatican so they did not feel obligated to follow any direction from the Pope. St Mark died in Alexandria and in the 800’s the bones of St Mark were stolen and smuggled into Venice under carts of ham (which the Muslims did not want to touch and so did not examine the cargo. This made St Marks important somewhat as St Peter’s in Rome was for having St Peter’s bones.
Inside pictures not allowed to “protect copyrights” – read, to sell more books and postcards…
Next was a gondola ride which was actually very nice and less expensive when shared among six of us. Then it was goodbye to Venice….
After a 30 min drive to the small town of Fosso, the band set up and we walked to a restaurant for dinner. The food was not so interesting but Kevin reminded me to photograph it – he had been reading my blog before they joined us. First was a very good pasta with speck (a kind of bacon) but not pictured.
Polenta but a very soft one – the meal two nights before with cuttlefish had polenta that was more like a soft cornbread. Also stew that was like pulled pork. Also a dish of radicche (not sure of spelling) something like spinach, asparagus, kale rolled into one.
Most of the kids would not touch this but it was pretty good.
Concert was well promoted and many local people came. They seemed to really like it and the band did very well. Megan had a trumpet solo (for the family)
View from rehearsal