Sunday, February 24, 2013

Venice, on the 3rd Day (early afternoon)

In my last post, I stopped at the point where, having spent some time traveling on the vaporetto, the water bus, we had arrived at the San Zaccaria stop and were walking on the Riva degli Schiavoni toward San Marco Square.  It was around 1:00 pm and warm.  There were many people strolling or looking at the souvenir stands.  We went up the crowded Ponte della Paglia - or Straw Bridge.  Ships used to unload straw (paglia) there that was used in the stable of the Doge Palace and in the prisons.  While in the vaporetto I snapped a photo of that bridge - see below.
Arriving at the center of the bridge on the right is the famous Ponte dei Sospiri or Bridge of Sighs.  (Click on picture to enlarge.)
This enclosed bridge, from the 17th century, is made of limestone and connects the old prisons to the Doge's Palace Interrogation Room.  Lord Byron named it the Bridge of Sighs as he believed that, as the prisoners walked behind the bridge windows with stone bars, they would take a last look at the view of Venice and sigh before they were locked up in their cells.
We walked on the waterfront which is called the Molo.  It used to be the landing spot for dignitaries.  Two tall columns are standing there at the entrance to the piazzeta and I can imagine what a magnificent scene it must have been to watch kings and distinguished guests make their entrance between these columns.  The ornate light poles were not there though - but the cafes were.
Then in front of our eyes appeared the most visited place in Venice - San Marco. Everyone has seen this square and basilica on pictures or in movies.  It is famous just like the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty but being there and looking at it is something else.  I took some pictures as we were approaching the side of the basilica.
The line was not long to enter the basilica, so we went to the queue.  Until 1807 this basilica was the personal chapel of the Doges, and then it became the Cathedral of Venice.  It is modeled after the 6th century Hagia Sophia in Constantinople.  The floor plan is in the shape of a Greek cross.  As we walked in I looked up and took pictures of the ornate entrances. (Click on collage twice to enlarge.)
Venetian merchants in 828 stole the relics of Saint Mark the Evangelist from their resting place in Alexandria, Egypt, and offered them to the Doge and his wife.  A church was built in 829-31 to shelter these relics and Saint Mark was made patron saint of the city.  This church burned down during a rebellion, another new church burned down and the present basilica was begun in 1063.  To my eyes this building looks very eastern, not at all like the Gothic cathedrals or basilicas in France.  It is decorated with marble, Byzantine mosaics and Muslim-shaped onion domes.  It certainly is grandiose inside and out.  Below is a postcard I purchased and mailed to our house.
There was a cordoned area for visitors to walk around the interior of the basilica.  The golden domes must have been created by Greek and Byzantine artists- they have that opulent style.  It is nicknamed the Church of Gold "Chiesa d'Oro" because of all this gilded interior and the golden mosaics covering every inch of the ceiling.
I purchased some postcards of the interior that give a better perspective and look at the floor to ceiling 4,000 square meters (43,055 square feet) of mosaics.
We then bought tickets for admission to the Galleria and Museo di San Marco.  We climbed the steps and looked at the displays showing how the mosaics have been restored over the years.  Then we saw four beautiful horses.  These gilt bronze horses used to be placed in the Arsenal then to the exterior of the basilica.  They are the original Triumphal Quadriga probably cast in Imperial Rome and taken to Constantinople.  Around 1204 Venetians and Crusaders sacked and pillaged the city and brought back these horses to Venice as part of their booty.
Then we walked outdoor to the "Loggia dei Cavalli" (Loggia of the horses) with replica of the above horses and found ourselves high above the Piazza San Marco.  This certainly was worth the price of admission to the Galleria.  (You can see this galleria with the horses above the entrance on my basilica postcard above.)
The two massive granite columns in front of the Molo were easy to photograph then, much easier than from the ground.  The winged lion with his paw on a book, on the left, is the symbol of Saint Mark.  On the right is Saint Theodore, a Greek General, who used to be the Patron of Venice until he was demoted after the Venetian stole the relics of San Marco.  I read that criminals, traitors, murderers and such were hanged, decapitated or burned alive between these two columns.
On our right I could see the Torre dell 'Orologio - Clock Tower - which was built between 1496 and 1499, and has had many restorations.  It keeps time, officially, for Venice.  Statues of Moors strike the bells with hammers every hour.  The winged lion of Venice, with the open book, stands below.
It was great standing in this gallery, high above Saint Mark's Square - a photographer's dream.  I took pictures all around me - buildings, statues, marble, all different shapes and colors.
Then I looked straight down below me and there was a bride and groom!

Before we left I took another look at the piazza below and looked back up at the horse then decided to sit for awhile behind the marble gate.
With my Panasonic Lumix telephoto lens I took the winged lion standing on his book straight across me.  I wondered how many millions of people he had seen from his tall perch.  I could have sat there for many hours savoring this enchanting place and enjoying the sweeping panorama.  So I just sat there for a while longer reveling in this warm atmosphere.


33 comments:

DJan said...

What a fabulous place, VB. Your camera did a wonderful job of capturing so much of the essence of Venice, and I especially love the ornate church. Your history is also fascinating. Thank you so much! :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

Ooh just what I needed on a cold day like today. Love Venice and your photos are redolent of summer :-)
We're in a bit of a cold snap here. Lots of snow flurries and - temps. Even the snowdrops are shivering!

David said...

Vagabonde, You always have the very best photos for your blogs! It's like a professional travelogue... Unlike some friends of ours, St. Mark's Square and Venice wasn't underwater during your visit. They didn't get to really enjoy their visit... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

rochambeau said...

Thank you for sharing your most incredible photographs of Venice!! The "Loggia dei Cavali" That I haven't heard & look forward to studying more about. Also, you mentioned 2 posts ago, that you saw a puppet theater. Did you by any chance take any photos that you could share on your blog or email to me? Building puppet theaters and puppets is a passion of mine.
Most importantly, it is truly incredible and exciting that you have met Dutchbaby!! She is a lovely soul!! Smart, funny, creative, the works!!
You and your husband have a fine Sunday!
Constance

Helsie said...

The more I see, the more I want to go there. Thanks for all the background information too.

Ann said...

oooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
what a beautiful post!
i'm still basking in the wondrous beauty that you have shared.
thank you!!!!

Naturegirl said...

These images bring back memories of my visit to Venice 6 years ago!
I loved it! Great photos!

Vicki Lane said...

Thank you, thank you for all the detailed photos of one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

The Elephant's Child said...

Oooh and aaah. Thank you so much for this post - I loved it.

Thérèse said...

Such nice details and such a great reading. Better than a travelling guide for sure!

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Your pictures are SOOOOO Wonderful...I really got the panorama of this extraordinary place--Such Beauty and so much history....Once again, I feel like I am on this trip with you....what a fantastic place. Your pictures do it justice!!! I can see how you might not want to ever leave....The Bridge of Sighs....GREAT!!!

rhymeswithplague said...

Thank you for your prowess with a camera. Your wonderful posts make us feel as though we have actually been to the places you tell us about.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Thanks for this wonderful tour and the fantastic photos. There is a bridge of Sighs in Oxford UK but it is not as beautiful as this one. Take care Diane

Jocelyn said...

Our family was in Venice a few years ago, in February, so this is a lovely reminder of how much each one of us, from our 8-year-old to our 10-year-old to my 40-year-old husband to my own self LOVED our days there. Thank you.

Dee said...

Dear Vagabonde, thank you for sharing these wonderful, wonderful photographs. I wonder if you know the American watercolorist Maurice Prendergast.

He spent 1898 and 99 in Venice and for the past twenty-five years I've had two prints of his watercolors, painted at time, on my walls.

One is tall and narrow--it's entitled "The Clocktower." The other is entitled "Umbrellas in the Rain" and it shows a bridge close to St. Mark's Square. These two posters are and have been among my favorites among all the watercolor prints I've ever seen or collected.

The first one is displayed at the William A. Farnsworth Library & Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. The second watercolor is at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Peace.

Down by the sea said...

Wonderful images of the piazza - so different to the images you usually see. As you suggested I looked at them through the larger view - thank you.
Sarah x

Tyler Thursby said...

This is just unreal. These photos are great! I have always wanted to travel here and do a piece for my own budget travel blog. Did you take all the photos yourself?

Been reading the site for awhile now, you're an excellent writer! :)

Patricia said...

Wonderful photos for this great post. I love Venice and now I feel the need to return.
Patricia x

.•♫•. Nancy .•♫•. said...

•✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰
Bonjour Chère Vagabonde !!!! ✿✿彡
merci pour cette visite merveilleuse de Venise ! C'est si beau !!!!
Ça fait plaisir à regarder
Bonne continuation !!!!
GROS BISOUS ensoleillés d'Asie ! ✿✿彡
•✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰ •✰

sweffling said...

You really do know how to compile a fascinating travel journal! Thank you for taking the trouble and for sharing with us.

Shammickite said...

I have never been to Venice, and I would love to be there one day. I think you have captured the very essence of the city with your description and your photographs, thank you! What a wonderful place.

beatrice De said...

ah Venise. J'y allais pour acheter des perles de verre que j'allais utiliser dans la composition de mes colliers.
maintenant je les revends, car j'en ai bien suffisamment pour continuer mes créations.
Ma nouvelle marote : les perles de verre d'artistes contemporains.
En vous baladant dans Venise, vous avez du voir un magasin spécialisé dans les perles vlnitiennes anciennes. Celles qui ont fait une des richesses de Venise, car elles étaient la monnaie d'échange, utilisée aussi bien en Afrique qu'avec les Indiens USA.Il y avait d'autres routes, puisque l'on a retrouvé des vénitiennes jusqu'en Chine.
Si cela vous intéresse, j'ai laissé sur la droite de mon blog, les vignettes vous conduiront à l'histoire des perles.

Fennie said...

Really your blog is so beautiful. Too wonderful for words and the quality of your photographs is so astounding. You have an excellent eye as well as an excellent camera. Thanks so much for giving me this tour. I have learned more about Venice from you than from anyone.

Ginnie said...

I know I'm repeating myself...but I can hardly wait to go back!!! Thank you.

Jeanie said...

So much of this just grabs me, I want to jump into every photo and soak up all that wonderful atmosphere! I especially love anything with an arch and am imagining myself on a gondola, savoring every second! What a traveler and writer you are -- and the photos are terrific!

Nadezda said...

Great photos and very interesting to read and recall Venice. I could not take photos inside the San Marco cathedral, it was too dark for my camera, so it was a pleasure to watch yours!
Thank you, vagabonde!

stadtgarten said...

Absolutely beautiful! I have never been to Venice - but it seems it would be really worth a visit!
Merci beaucoup fot these wonderful impressions!
Amicalement, Monika

Perpetua said...

Fantastic, Vagabonde! All your photos are superb, but I particularly enjoyed the ones taken from high up in the loggia. Such a wonderful viewpoint and I can understand why you lingered there.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Oh how I long to visit here someday...

Carola Bartz said...

I would love to visit Venice one day - it has been on my list for so long. My parents went there several times, and through their stories and pictures I do feel to know a tiny little bit of the place - but seeing it with me very own eyes, walking the place etc. - what a dream come true would that be!

Kay said...

Art will love seeing how you took these amazing photographs with a Lumix. That's his camera too. I always buy postcards when it's too dark an interior shot also. Thank you so much for sharing your fabulous experience with us.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

Her you have captured the remarkable efforts made back in the day. Today all is so different in architecture. Goergeous photos.

Marie-Anne said...

What a wonderful post!!! Venice is so beautiful! I also love pigeons! I am very pleased to have found your very interesting blog...I have been reading some of your older posts for about an hour now!!!!! Fascinating!
Un petit bonjour d’Athènes, Grèce !! Félicitations chère Vagabonde!!! C’est avec grand plaisir que je repasserai !

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...