Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Time to take in Venice, Italy!
Coming into Venice, Italy. . . The amazing city of canals. . .
The above poster truly encapsulates the spirit and ambiance of the time I spent in Venince, Italy. It was truly a charming city. Peaceful, classical, magical and VERY romantic. . . .
To say my trip just kept getting better and better would be an UNDERSTATEMENT in the extreme! I spent two glorious days in Venice during the Venice Film Festival madness and mayhem. And although every tour guide and supposedly sane person walking around assured me that indeed BRAD PITT and GEORGE CLOONEY were there and that I surely must have seen them or run into them by now. . . alas, I did not!
I did, however, manage to spot a couple of dudes who looked a bit like them. . .
And more importantly I managed to see some amazing sights and meet some wonderful people and absolutely fell in love with the romance and magic of Venice . . .
Venice is like no other place on earth. . . No cars are allowed in the city and the fastest way to travel within the city is by boat on the canals. This is their 'taxi' system and the 'boat taxis' are called 'vaparettos' and it was quite fun to 'boat hop' from one place to another to get around the city. I did NOT miss the noise of traffic at ALL!
Of course, there are other methods of water travel, such as private boats and the famous GONDOLAS. . . and YES, we decided to have an evening gondola ride to check out the city night life. . . and listen to the beautiful serenading by our gondolier. So first we had to check out the gondolas:
Then we held 'auditions' for our prospective gondola ride--and after thoroughly checking out the craft--as well as sizing up the men--I must say we came out with a real 'winner'! The guy looked a bit scary--but he was real charmer, very witty, and could actually carry a tune.
While on my madcap adventure of trying out the various vaparettos--I ended up stopping at the 'Ponte Di Rialto' and I must say--that the shopping was FABULOUS!
This is the famous bridge at the Ponte Di Rialto:
One of the highlights was visiting the famous St. Mark's Square, or 'Piazza San Marco' along with the Doges Palace:
Entrance to St. Mark's Cathedral:
Stairs of St. Mark's:
Ceilings of St Mark's:
Looking up at Doges Palace:
Inside Doges Palace:
Here is a little bit of trivia about the Bocca della Verita or mouth of truth)which is located in Rome, Italy. It supposedly was an ancient 'lie detector' in that if you put your hand in it and did NOT tell the truth--it would bite your hand off!
Venice has their own version in the Doges Palace. Here--you could write down any accusations (anonymously) and stuff them in the mouth, where they would then be acted upon by the Council of Ten. The other side of the box is located in the Room of the Compass:
I decided to forgo any false accusations and just went for a photo op instead!
And here is the famous 'Bridge Of Sighs' at the Doges Palace:
The bridge of Sighs - The famous "Ponte dei Sospiri" links the Palazzo Ducale with the prisons section. The windows allow the prisoner(s) to see the outside world for the last time before execution, hence the name originated.
Today it bears a romantic flair by young lovers who believe that if they kiss under the bridge (presumably in a gondola) their love will last forever.
We also took a tour of the amazing, very famous Murano glass factory. Murano Island has been a glassmaker's paradise Since 1291. First some photos of Murano itself--with it's clock tower and plaza:
Here you can see the glass blowers at work:
And finally the beautiful glass products themselves:
And what trip to Venice could be complete without indulging in a Venician Carnivale Mask??? Certainly not this one!
The Venetian Carnivale in this day and age is an opportunity to wear some very elaborate masks in Venice.
The origin of the Venice carnival goes back to the year 1094! During this period, the wearing of the mask was crucial and it was required about seven months a year, from October to the holiday of Ascension.
So everyone became anonymous--from the richest to the poorest… (and from the truly wicked and conniving to the not so wicked and conniving!)
“A Carnivale Ogni Scherzo Vale.” It means: anything goes at Carnivale. Before Lent, before Ash Wednesday, before Easter, there is Mardi Gras - and the creme de la creme of them all is the Carnivale in Venice Italy. There are lavish parades, luxuriant masquerade balls, and tons of spontaneous parties in the streets. The festivities and celebrations lasts for nearly two weeks! Costumes and masks are the norm--and the more ornate and gaudy, the better! And just remember, with your mask on, you are pardoned and your sins are forgotten. With the mask on, anything goes!
Did I buy a mask and participate in a 'Carnivale party onboard my Carnival ship? Oh yeah, you betcha!
After two absolutely FANTABULOUS days in Venice, (yes, that's a word I just made up that perfectly describes the occasion) Carol and I had an equally scrumptious dinner on board our cruise ship. . . ahh. . . life is certainly SWEET!