Yes, its true. Every beautiful thing you’ve ever heard about Venice is actually true. It is one of the most romantic places on earth. I was never interested in or understood Italian renaissance art until I visited the Academia and saw the works of Titian, Canaletto and Bernini among others. I felt the Titian Blues and understood the fascination with the colour; the mystery behind it. I understood why it is possible that modern technology isn’t able to replicate the exact blue from Titian’s works. Artistic skill was at its hey-dey than. They were experimenting with art as artists knew it. Cutting-edge, radical and political even though they largely stayed with religious themes or portraits of the powerful Doges.
San Marco’s piazza was fabulous not because of the hideously glossy church with its kitch mosaics all over the place but because of the story of what it stood for and represented. The piazza was named because of St. Mark’s chapel which carried the remains of St. Mark recovered from Alexandria in Egypt by the Venetians who smuggled his buried body out of the country and through Muslim customs by wrapping it in slabs of pork meat. The chapel was built to house his relics and to give the Doges a place to pray. But as the Venetian empire slowly gained power, the chapel was added to and eventually developed into St Mark’s Basilica which stands there today. A testament of the power of the Doges but also their lack of taste in this traveller’s humble opinion.
The fun of Venice, if you’re lucky with the weather and Maria and I were, is that you can walk everywhere or take the boat-bus (vaporetto) to get to where you want to. We saw the Rialto bridge and rather than rent expensive gondolas, just took vaporettos and I was able to take some great pictures down the Grand Canal. Venice can be expensive, but a bargain if you look out for it. Lunch was standing outside the BEST pizza place ever and for two euros and fifty cents we had huge, hot slices of pizza with cokes while watching exhausted tourists walk past in search of more expensive restaurants to sit down and eat. And for all coffee-lovers out there the best coffee was at the Art-Deco train station for one euro and sixty cents only. Bargain!