This morning I am off to Venezia. Althought as I have mentioned, it has never been on my “to do” list, now that I am out of bed (ALWAYS the hard part for me…no matter what the day holds), dressed and at the stazione, I have embraced the day. As you see, I am wearing my favorite, favorite outfit. I paid 60 euro for this dress and think I have already gotten my money out of it. I have worn it in every citta, so why not Venezia. Plus, it is so lightweight, carefree and cool it is a perfetto choice for un altro giorna caldo.
I so appreciate Roberto for helping me secure my treno. (Sidenote- as I am in Bencidomi and writing this, Roberto is telling me a bit more about Italo. Some of the owners are very-a important-a people-a…TOD’s shoes, one of the owners of Firenze Fiorentina, Florence’s football team and I forget, someone else importante that he mentioned. We discussed that they know business and he adds that “competition eeesa always-a good-a for-a everything-a”…ya don’t say…Viva America! I’m looking forward to adding a different line to my experiences. Right on time, it arrives and right on time, we depart.Immediately I notice this treno is different- clean, sleek, clean… It feels more like a nice airplane than a treno. And as Roberto had said, there is a movie on board. Viva competition!Much of our travel is through tunnels, which may sound silly, but that surprises me. Approaching Venezia is kinda like driving through Louisiana…kinda.Once we arrive at the stazione, there is no navigating to do to find what makes Venice Venice…There it is, the Canal Grande! Like seeing the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Leaning Tower for the first time…it’s pretty cool. For this alone, I am glad I came. I have heard that navigating Venezia is difficult. I’ve shared with you that navigating most Italian cittas I have visited is difficult, ma add in the canals at every turn, it limits your attempt to make a straightish shot.Nevertheless, I have no real agenda today. I purchased a roundtrip biglietto and need to be back at the stazione before 20:00…it is 11:00 now. I’ve got time to roam.
The canals with all sorts of boats sitting, coming and going.The canal side trattorias.And the quiet, secluded courtyards that most tourist do not walk through. When I entered this one, I did so in time to watch this flower fall from a 3rd story window garden and helicopter down in the breeze. It was like something from a movie.Here is a Venetian Fixer-Upper I peered in as I passed.
All the while I’ve been roaming to eventually find Piazza San Marco and the Basilica. I am having no luck…even with all the “helpful” signs. Don’t you know these people get so tired of tourist asking directions to this specific site! Sometimes, I would just open my mount, ready to form the question, and the waiter/shop owner/local leaning in the doorway would just point and roll their occhi.And then, as you would hear people say, “voila!” It is grande…no doubt about it.As usual, I excited to see specific details I discuss in class. Look! There’s the golden, winged lion! Those of you rolling your occhi at me, audibly telling me it’s Saint Mark, the patron Saint of Venice…I know silly.Photography is not allowed within the basilica, but I snapped a few in the entrance. There were a couple of other churches built on this site, but the currently was begun in 1073. The architecture is Byzantine (mi piace Byzantine art and architecture) and Gothic. The church was complete by 1092. How someone can enter the buildings and spaces I have entered in the last 3 weeks and now be awed by the history that has occured where they stand, is beyond me.And if your are wondering, “Was it crowded?”…see for yourself. Not pretty.However, I know a place where few will follow.This past spring, my Art II class studied Henri Rousseau. We learned about the man, his art and his process. We created our own Rousseau inspired pieces while visiting the San Antonio Zoo. I continued to “Chase Rousseau” here in Venezia.
My students should recognize this self-portrait. I know it is blurry, it’s just that…well…I know it’s blurry, let’s leave it at that.This is one of my favorite Rousseau pieces, “Les Joueurs de Football” or “The Football Players” 1908. I love the feel of it being a play on a stage and that each guy on the same team looks identical. Rousseau’s work at this exhibit, I had never seen before. I wanted to buy the exhibit book, but buying books on a trip like this is a no-no for me…far too heavy. I will see if I can get through Amazon when I return.
When I exited the Doge’s Palace, I purchased a 30 euro ticket (more in my budget than the 80 euro gondolas) for a boat ride down the Grand Canal. The woman at the ticket booth was very patient with me also explaining to me how to get back to the stazione in time for my treno. I went ahead and purchased that ticket now as well.
With about 45 minutes to kill before my “cruise”, I thought I would seek out the famous Harry’s Bar and enjoy a, no doubt extremely overpriced, Bellini there. Supposedly THIS is the birthplace of the Bellini. Lucky for my pocketbook, it was closed.So while I waited, I settled for a luke warm Coca-Cola light…”elegantly cool”…ain’t it the truth!Time for our cruise…andiamo!
I am glad I did the little cruise boat. It is not very crowded, only 6 others, and gives a nice overview of Venezia’s history.
Now for a water “taxi” is a different story. Luckily the ticket lady advised me to take an earlier cruise so I could be back in time to catch the taxi to the stazione. This one stopped molto times. It was interesting to see that boats ARE the mode of transportation for their everyday lives. A guy standing next to me on the water taxi had a mattress with him. When his stop came, he just grabbed it and walked off. I tried to get a picture, but I was a little too slow on the draw. I also saw a DHL boat cruise by…again, learning new things everyday! The little guy that mans the ropes on this particular vessel was very patient with me as I asked molto times which stop the treno stazione was. I did NOT want to ride this thing around again.Feeling comfortable on land near the stazione, I enjoyed a few more things that makes Venice Venice.