10 October 2010

Venice Day 4


After a night of heavy rain  and thunder and lightning, we awoke to another dry day (we were so lucky with the weather as the forecast had been pretty wet and it only rained overnight) and we managed to have breakfast on the roof terrace before heading towards Piazza San Marco for our long awaited (we were waiting for a rainy day) visit to the Doge's Palace and the Basilica di San Marco. It's amazing to think that the Basilica used to be the church just for the Doge of Venice (the mayor) and the other councillors. Something that beautiful should be for everyone to use and enjoy not just the elite. 


The Doge's Palace is a gothic palace built in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries where the city government met and carried out their business and linked to the city's prison by the famous Bridge of Sighs (so called because the prisoners often sighed at the sight of the lagoon when the crossed the bridge between the courts in the Doge's Palace and the prison). 

After we had visited the Doge's Palace we headed back into Piazza San Marco to discover that the phenomenon known as "acqua alta" was taking place. Often in the autumn and winter the city experiences flooding known as acqua alta, particularly at high tide and influenced by the lunar cycle. When it happens a siren sounds to warn people and the local police are mobilised to lay out the hundreds of duckboards that become the pavements in the city, lifting the population above the floods. We made our way into the Basilica (or Ballistica as my friend kept calling it) and up to the balcony overlooking the piazza to take in the spectacle...



At certain times during the day, the inside of the basilica is illuminated and the golden mosaics are even more spectacular....



That afternoon we went to the Guggenheim Museum, former home of Peggy Guggenheim, on the Grand Canal, in what is known as the unfinished palazzo, originally designed to be 7 stories tall, it was never completed, and stands as a single storey building on the side of the canal. After her death, the house was turned into a museum, housing some of her amazing collection of modern art - at an early age she decided that she would use her family's wealth to purchase a piece of art a day and now the collections grace museums in Bilbao, New York and Venice. It was a lovely place to wander and relax and to enjoy the views from the terrace over the Grand Canal. 


That night we had an exclusive seat for dinner, on a duckboard, next to the Rialto Bridge eating pizza - could you imagine a better view for dinner! And all for 4 euros!


3 comments:

Ravenhill said...

This all looks marveous! Your pictures are impressive. I would love to travel more some day...
emily xo

Bethany Hissong said...

You were so lucky to be able to see acqua alta while you were there... that's something you wouldn't see anywhere else! Your photos are gorgeous as usual. I also hate to admit that I didn't know that about Peggy Guggenheim... thanks for the great info!

heather yalin said...

See, Venice really is sinking, just like they say! Looks like you are having a lovely time there. I love your picture of Doge's Palace reflected in a puddle, complete with pigeon!

Thank you so much for your warm congrats today, too! :)