For the first part of our Day 1, click here.
Our first day in Venice continued as we headed to Palazzo Ducal, or Doge’s Palace where the Doge’s of Venice ruled for over 1,000 years. This palace had been there since 1340 and it was massive and had an extensive prison with prisoners such as Casanova, who was locked up for being a freemason and spreading anti-religious messages. He’s also one of the few to have ever escaped. I would say that I think overall I’m glad to have said that I saw the palace, the Bridge of Sighs, and the prison, but looking back, I don’t remember much. You aren’t really allowed to take any pictures of all the famous art and architecture that makes it so famous (just the staircase as you walk in, and the prison) and so therefore, my memories of the place are vague and few. It was still beautiful. That staircase to the right (below) is the Giant Staircase.
A “Lion’s Mouth” postbox for anonymous denunciations of Venice at the Doge’s Palace. Translation: “Secret denunciations against anyone who will conceal favors and services or will collude to hide the true revenue from them”. Very cool!
The Golden Staircase leading to the Doge’s apartments. There weren’t many furnishings as Napoleon’s army made sure to plunder those.
Views from inside the Palace. You can see the island of San Michele below.
And on to the prison. One of the many prison cells, doors, one where Casanova was held and escaped from, a close up of the special hinges that closed them air-tight to prevent anyone from over hearing things from the corridor outside, and also the torture room.
After the tour, which took a couple hours and was very, very hot with no real circulation except when we walked across the Bridge of Sighs and got a little cross breeze… we were tossed back out onto St. Mark’s Square where the even more throngs of tourists had congregated. Man, when they say to stay away from St. Mark’s, they aren’t kidding. That place was ridiculous. But we still had more to do. St. Mark’s Basilica and Giotto’s Campanile. St. Mark’s Basilica was beautiful. Stunningly beautiful. Gold, tile, paintings, frescoes everywhere. So basically, much like every basilica we saw in Europe. :P
And then onto the Campanile. We waited in the long line, but I don’t remember it being too horrendous, and happily paid the $9 or so to take the elevator to the top and see the Venice from the rooftops and the Venetian lagoon. Finally no stairs to climb!
After a long day spent mostly in St. Mark’s we made our way back towards Campo S. Margarita to grab some lunch and to actually take a nap *gasp* since we were very exhausted from our very early train wake up call.
We found a little restaurant right in our square outside our hotel and had some pizza and cokes. My pizza was great. Pepperoni. Dan’s was… well, interesting. It was supposed to be sausage, but ended up being… hotdogs. He still ate it… when in Europe!
We went back to our cute little room with a view and had a very refreshing nap and shower to ready ourselves for our Grand Canal tour and to see Venice from the local transportation; the Vaporetto. That’s coming up next!
This is a part of my ever persistent quest to finally blog about our month long trip to Europe in May of 2011. You can read about the rest of our days by clicking on “Travel” at the top!