Under the Venetian Sun. That’s my mantra today. The sun was shining and it was so lovely. Every chance that I could, I was basking in the warmth and soaking in the sounds and smells of Venice.
This morning started with a tour of the Doge’s Palace. I actually didn’t know very much (anything) about the Doges of Venice before coming on this trip, so the tour was very informative. Each hall is grand and covered in oil paintings and gold embellishments. The paintings were courtesy of Titian, Tintoretto, and a third artist. The Doges were the “rulers” or dukes so to speak of Venice. They have checks and balances in place to keep the Doge’s power within reason, kind of like our Congress. Their republic government valued justice above all else. You start to notice the many paintings that include swords and balances, which represents justice and how it balances the government when it leans too much one way on the scale. The Doge would address the people between the ninth and tenth columns of his palace and make declarations relevant to the citizens of Venice.
After a tour of the Doge’s Palace, we ate at a delicious sandwich place with a friendly wait staff. I went for the caprese sandwich and was not disappointed. After a quick lunch, we returned to Piazza San Marco to begin our Venice in the Details presentations. It was really interesting to learn more about the small details of Piazza San Marco that I might not have recognized before. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the Tetrarch statue on the corner outside of the Doge’s Palace next to Basilica San Marco. After completing the presentations, Emily took us on an architectural tour of a small portion of Venice. We discussed the difference between gothic and neoclassical architecture, in particular, how Venetian gothic is a hybrid of the two.
When the architectural tour was done, we then finished out the planned portion of our day with a tour of the clock tour in Piazza San Marco. The clock tower was built in 1499 and stopped being manually changed in 1999. For roughly 500 years, a man had to reset the clock every 12 hours. His entire family live within the clock tower building and he could never really leave Venice because of his duty to the clock. The Doge ordered the clock tower to be constructed in order to draw in more tourists and visitors to Venice after the founding of the Silk Road. Merchants now didn’t have to travel through Venice in order to trade their goods, so Venetians needed to lure them back in.
Once the clock tower tour was complete, we had free time to roam around the city. The clock tower tour guide told me about the best place to get an amazing view of the canal, so we went there first. It’s tucked away inside of this fancy “mall-esque” shop corner right by Ponte de Rialto. You take an elevator up to the fourth floor, then grab a ticket, and walk out onto this beautiful terrace that looks over the canal. The sun had just set and you could just see some twinkling lights over the water.
The next stop was dinner at a quaint little pizzeria. I went for the classic pizza-salad: pizza with marinara, mozzarella, parmesan, and rocket. After pizza, we found this cool little jazz club a few streets over. The building was bumping and filled with other jazz music loving-people. We went straight from the jazz club to, of course, a gelato stand. Flavor of today was frutti di Bosco or berry flavored and it was absolutely delicious. Not sure if it one-upped pistachio, but I will report back after flavor number three tomorrow.