Monday, October 17, 2011

A lazy Sunday in Venice

Another perfect weather day in Venice. 

We tried to get into a walking tour of Venice, but since we booked too late, couldn't get in, so created our own walking tour, which was probably better in the long run anyway. It allowed for cappuccino breaks, shopping breaks, photo ops and lazy moments, after all, we were on vacation.

Armed with my trusty hotel map, which now had key points marked on it, we set off. It was a quiet Sunday morning in St. Marco's Square, as the cruise ships had not landed yet, and there was just a dusting of tourists walking through. We set our sites on the Rialto Bridge.  I tried to follow my snakey route which took me to the internet cafe, as I knew it was near the Rialto Bridge. Gondoliers asked us if we wanted a ride, as this was the best, and most quiet time on the canals, so they said. We resisted. Prior to going to Venice, I was convinced I had to do a gondola ride, regardless of price, and once we arrived, I just didn't feel the need. I got enough pleasure out of having them parked under my bedroom window each night.

A quiet Venetian Canal on Sunday morning.

Until 1854, the Rialto Bridge, was the only bridge that crossed the Grand Canal. To think that Michelangelo and his contemporaries walked across this same bridge that opened in 1591.And now here we were.  Incredible. Looking up the Grand Canal, minus the speed boats, and vaporettos, it looks like a Canaletto painting. In some ways much has change, and in some ways nothing has changed. It looks like so many paintings I've seen of Venice over the years. For some reason I thought it would have changed, but it really hadn't. No skyscrapers here. I loved it.

Looking up the Rialto bridge.

Tourists on the Rialto

Does this not look like a scene from a Canaletto painting?

We crossed over and wandered around the Rialto market area. Being Sunday, there were no vendors, however, there were local antique dealers — selling their pieces of Murano glass, silver, paintings and general bric-a-brac. Unfortunately nothing caught my eye. That would be short lived. I swore I wouldn't buy a mask of any kind, and next thing I knew I was buying this simple black cat mask. How could I resist, after all, I am the kat.

The cat mask.

A bouquet of red hot peppers.

We booked tickets to another concert for tonight. I hesitated,  knowing that it didn't start till 9, and that we would have to walk back here tonight, and then home after the concert. No cab to catch if your feet were tired, or swollen (in my Mom's case). But, my Mom was all excited about the selections, and it was in a beautiful little church, so tickets were purchased.

Location of evening concert.

We crossed back over the bridge and headed toward the Accademia galleries, to put a little culture in our day. Well, we stumbled across the most delightful little glove shop on route. They had every style of glove, in every shade of every colour. They were very proud of their colour prowess. Being from a country where I really do need to wear gloves half the year, I bought 4 pair and my Mom 3 - orange, wine, aubergine and apple green. They are like butta — so soft, with cashmere lining. We were properly fitted, with our gloves stretched first, raising our arms with elbows resting on the counter as they slid the gloves on. The orange gloves are the exact shade of a lovely orange purse I bought that morning too. I love when accessories all come together like this — after all, it is all about the accessories.

Continued to make our way through narrow streets, crossing canals, passing cute little cafes, witnessing a traffic boom of gondolas. We ascended the steps of the Accedemia bridge with yet another spectacular view of the Grand Canal. We lunched al fresco beside the Accedemia before heading inside to get our fill of Belllini's and Tintoretto's. Many of my "must knows" from my high school art history classes were before my eyes.

So easy to have a cappuccino break.

Gondola rush hour in the canals.

Another scene from Canaletto, as seen from the Accedemia bridge.

Tourists on the Accedemia bridge.
Lunch break.

We opted for the vaporetto, one stop, back to St. Mark's. Set up along the dockside were artists of all skill levels - from the caricature artist to skilled artist. Simultaneously, my Mom and I both stopped in front of the same artist. We liked his simple,  yet captivating scenes of Venice, and we each bought a charcoal drawing. Mine is of the Rialto bridge and my Mom's is of a Venetian canal. Making our way through the cruise ship hordes, we lined up to get in to St. Mark's Basilica. The line was moving quickly. Gorgeous Byzantine gold ceiling and precision mosaic floors like a patchwork quilt greeted us. Hey, it was Sunday, and I was in church. How novel.

My favorite picture of the trip.
 This is our artist. He wanted to give me his Leonardo profile,
and my Mom just gave me one of her wonderful natural laughs.

Mosaics of St. Mark's.

Grabbed yet another pistachio gelato on our way home. In our room I hear more serenading, even accompanied by an accordion - just like in the movies. Even though I was listening to Italian, the banter sounded light and friendly, sprinkled with laughter and song, and church bells.

Time for dinner - VinoVino was our restaurant for tonight. A left at Ferragamo, a right at the furniture store, over the canal, and VinoVino was on our left. We dined al fresco next to bamboo plants & under a giant fig tree. Only in Italy can you find two restaurants combined in one setting, sort of. As we walked in, it was VinoVino's, the it changed names & menus and price points as we walked into another room, then back to VinoVino's as we went out to the garden. Capresse salad x 2, Valpolicelli x 2, Raviolo for me and Pork Scallops for my Mom. Dessert was panacotta for my Mom and lemoncello for me. Easy two minute walk back to our hotel with contented tummies. 

VinoVino's for dinner, beside the bamboo and under the fig tree.

Ian & Sue phoned to say they had arrived in town and were just settling into their hotel, across on Giudecca. We made plans to meet in front of Florian's in the morning. As I had suspected earlier in the day, a 9:00 concert was just too late for this twosome, and we passed on tonight's concert.

Light's out.

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