Last week we enjoyed having a week long Spring Break and took off for an adventure in Italy. The whole of the trip was marvelous. It is still hard for me to take in all the famous and beautiful things we saw this past week. Our first stop was Venice where we stayed for the first three days of our trip. The moment we crossed the bridge from the bus station over the Grand Canal into Venice was a bit like walking into a fairy tale – beautiful buildings surrounding us with roads of water and scenic bridges all around. But the fairy tale feeling wore off pretty quickly as we were tired and soon found ourselves rather lost trying to find our hostel. The streets are a maze and we quickly found that Google Maps does not always work! Thankfully, we finally found where we needed to be, and having a place to rest for a bit was a wonderful feeling. After enjoying true Italian pizza, we walked to St. Marks Square and were astounded by the beauty that surrounded us. Since the main tourist sites were closed for the evening there were no crowds and we could just enjoy the beauty of the square illumined by lights. It was an incredible feeling to actually be standing in such a famous place.
After this we rode the vaporetto all the way up the Grand Canal. Because it was later at night there were few people on the boat and we were able to sit in the very front with the best views of the city. The soft lights of the city reflected off the water and we enjoyed incredible vistas. The sites were just breathtaking. It is no wonder that so many artists and authors have flocked to Venice over the years; it is certainly a place of inspiration and imagination. Nicki and I both agreed that if we went to Venice just for that boat ride, the whole trip would still have been worth it.
Despite the rain on Tuesday, starting into Venice was once again like walking into a storybook. We were able to visit several art museums, which again astounded me with the amount and quality of art concentrated in one place. We also enjoyed a walking tour, which was excellent because we learned much more about the city, and which took us to places off the main tourist track in Venice. Our tour guide led us down many beautiful little streets and squares, crossing scenic bridges over the water. We then visited another art museum called Accademia, which had many works by famous Venetian and Renaissance painters like Veronese and Tintoretto. We also enjoyed the Museo Correr in St. Mark’s Square which was once a nineteenth century palace. On Wednesday morning we also enjoyed the Doges’ Palace – another famous site filled with artwork. This was not, as you might expect, a few wonderful paintings hung on the wall. Rather every wall and ceiling was a great masterpiece depicting a story from Venetian history, a great religious, or mythological scene. The historic greatness and wealth of Venice was evident throughout the city. The palaces were certainly some of the most impressive places I have ever seen. After quickly touring St. Mark’s Basilica, we took one last ride on the Grand Canal to the train station where we got ready to head off to the next stop – Rome.