Italy Vacation 2003
Day 12, Thursday, Oct. 16th

We spend today in the St. Mark's Square area of Venice seeing glass blowing, the scenery, the basilica and so on. Later in the day we went to the island of Burano for a mid-afternoon meal and some shopping. We then returned to the Lido and our hotel for the evening, to prepare for our departure early tomorrow morning for the Lake District.

Here's the Venice and area map to show todays locations.

We started today with a trip in a private boat to Venice and St. Mark's Square. Once there we got a brief daylight tour and then went to one of the glass works near the square. After this we had some free time. Some of us went up the Campanile di San Marco (for you non Italians that's the Bell Tower of St. Mark's) and saw Venice laid out below us. It was very windy and cold up there so we didn't stay long but the 5 Euro price was still worth it. Around noon hour we joined a local tour guide for a tour of the Basilica, the Ducal Palace, and the Bridge of Sighs. The Basilica is suffering badly from the ongoing floods of the square. The floor is heaved up and it's like walking on a roller coaster. It's one of those no picture places but there are lots of decorations, frescoes, etc, to see. The Ducal Palace was the city hall of Venice and has some really incredible art work. It was originally built in 1309 but badly damaged by a fire in 1577. It was rebuilt and now houses what is reputed to be the worlds biggest oil painting called Paradise by Interceptor. This is located in the Grand Council Chamber. This building is another of those no picture places. Here are some pictures (where pictures were allowed) for this part of the day.

This is the famous clock. All you can see here is a printed view of it. The actual clock is behind the scaffolding being restored. The square before the tourists get to it. The shadow in the middle is the bell tower which you will see shortly.
The other side of the square and the pigeons. Lots of pigeons.
The Basilica of St. Marks close up.
At the glass store we had a brief demo of the art it is. The master glass blower uses the tongs he is holding to reduce the size if the molten glass.
This little animal took him probably less than a minute to make.
My souvenirs of the trip:
two drinking glasses.
The basilica and the cafes in the square. The Campanile (bell tower). The original groaned loudly on the evening of July 13th, 1902 and then fell down the next morning.
The Campanile actually does have bells near the top. Here's one.
Here's several more.

The next few pictures show what you see from the viewing level of the tower. Three of these are merges of several images. While constructing this web site I have discovered that I should not have used a wide angle lens for these images. There is a distortion at the edges that doesn't allow the images to fit together the way they should. There were also problems with sun angles. Even though they haven't worked out the best, I still think that they are very impressive. So I included them, defects and all.

This is the view looking mainly east. The body of water in the middle is the Canale di San Marco or the Canal of St Mark. The island just left of centre is the Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore. Just to its right is the island of La Giudecca. The canal that goes off to the upper right is Canales della Giudecca and the lower one is the entrance, or if you prefer, the exit of the Grand Canal or Canal Grande. In the distance, starting on the far left and sweeping to the right, is The Lido Island where our hotel was located. The hotel was on the other side of the island in roughly the middle of this picture. Beyond the Lido is the Adriatic Sea and beyond that is what used to be Yugoslavia.

In this image we are looking mostly south. As you've probably noticed, it's a continuation from the right side of the image above. You can see the entrance of the Grand Canal and then it just seems to disappear into the buildings. It is shaped like a backwards S and eventually comes out near the causeway to the mainland which you will see tomorrow. In the distance, just to the right of centre, you can see a large white object. That is a cruise ship and that is where they dock. Further out beyond that is the industrial area of Mestre. There are 150 canals in Venice but you would never know it from this view.

This view is looking mainly east. In the foreground centre you can see the shadow of the Campanile. The clock is to the right. In the far distance (not really visible beyond the water) is the airport and the island of Burano where we'll be later.

Due to the distortion of the wide angle lens the pictures looking towards the north couldn't be fitted together so here they are individually. In the foreground are the domes of St. Mark's Basilica.

Here, a bit to the east of north, is more of the Basilica and the back part of the Ducal Palace. In the distant centre and going off to the right, you can see the north end of the Lido. In the distance, on the left, you can see one of the three openings out of the lagoon to the Adriatic Sea.

This final image in the sequence shows what you might call the small boat harbour area. This is where many of the smaller boats drop people off. In the foreground is almost all on the Ducal palace. Just beyond the point of land slightly right of top centre in the Lido Island again.

This final image from the top of the Campanile is of St. Marks Square.

There isn't much that you can take pictures of in the Ducal Palace but the Bridge of Sighs is one spot, not that there's much to see. It's a pretty dreary place. The view that the prisoners had as they headed to their punishment from the palace to the jail. Many horrible things happened in these two buildings.
For some reason I didn't take a daytime picture of the Bridge of Sighs. The right picture above was taken through an opening in the centre emblem. When you come out of the Ducal palace you come to this view. Here we are just off St. Mark's square in the Piazzetta San Marco. Lots and lots of pigeons.
Open air shopping exists all over Venice. Here is an example in the area along the docks. Taken from roughly the same spot as the previous picture looking back at the Campanile in St. Mark's Square.

This completed our last visit to Venice itself. From here we headed out to Burano. Burano is a fishing village about a half hour from Venice by boat (what else?). It is also famous for lace that is created there. Our main reason for going there was to have a locally prepared meal. Most had fish. I had steak and it was really good. Burano also has its own leaning tower. It isn't as famous as Pisa's but it sure leans as you will see in the pictures that follow.

Burano is quite different than Venice. It quiet and has all these brightly coloured houses.
Burano's leaning tower. It's at the church.
A wider view of the right picture above showing more of the bright colours.
Members of our group looking at more of the brightly coloured buildings.
There are some canals here too.
Tour Director Alison explaining the facts of Burano to the group.
Gee, it looks straight from here.
This picture, taken as we left the island shows just how far off straight the tower is.

On our way back to the Hotel Des Bains on the Lido island we passed one of the openings out to the Adriatic Sea from the lagoon.

This is the main entrance (one of three) to the Venician lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. This picture, looking the other direction from the previous one, shows a three stilted building used to monitor the state of the lagoon and a cruise ship departing.
Here is the cruse ship heading out the channel to the Adriatic Sea. Because of all the problems Venice has with flooding and sinking, there is a plan to build a type of barrier in these channels to protect the city from the worst of the tidal changes. It's been very controversial but it has been approved.

We arrived back on the Lido not too long before sunset so I went down the the beach and took these pictures of the hotel, its beach, and the Adriatic Sea. I couldn't stay long because it was so windy I thought I was being sand blasted. The sepia coloured picture is taken from a brief history of the hotel that was in each room for the taking, so I took it. This shows, better than any picture I could take, the location of the hotel relative to Venice.

The Hotel Des Bains from across the street. This one is from the beach at the edge if the very polluted Adriatic Sea.
This is the book picture. The tower that can be seen in the centre background is St. Mark's Square's Campanile.
Looking the other way from the picture above.
Somewhere out there is what was Yugoslavia.
The sun sets behind the beach on the Lido.

This completes another busy day. Tomorrow we'll see Venice for the last time as we pass it on a ferry and then we travel to Verona, of Romeo and Juliet fame, and on to the Lake District.

On to Day 13 and the Lake District!

Originally Created: January 31/February 1, 2004
Final Edit: February 18, 2004 2:26 PM