Sunday, 7 May 2017

Venice, Or What I Did on My Holiday, Part 2

One of the things many visitors to Venice do is to go up the Campanile of St Mark's, to see the views over the city. However, you have to queue, and the queues are long. I don't like to queue.

So, instead, I decided to get the ferry across to San Giorgio Maggiore, which *also* has a Campanile with great views, and which seems to be a little of the beaten track, so far as crowds are concerned. Plus, bonus boat ride!

There are nice views back across to St Mark's, from the boat.

When I got to San Giorgio, it was still closed (there does seem to be a certain unreliability about information places provided regarding opening hours, but there are worse things than pottering around a marina and looking at Venice in the sunshine!)

But being early did mean that when I went up the tower (there is the luxury of a lift) there were only 2 other people up there. And some bells. The views are pretty great.

It turns out also that 25th April is the feast day of St Mark, and St Mark is pretty popular in Venice.From the campanile I could hear the brass bands in St Mark's Square.

After leaving San Giorgio I decided, on a whim, to go to Murano, another of the islands, famous for its glass-making.

The Beast from the Lagoon
There is a glass museum, which has some interesting exhibits. I liked the sculpture garden, where I found the creature from the lagoon, and some glass cuttlefish (or maybe squid).

Glass Squid (or Cuttlefish) : Murano
The museum also has displays showing the history and development of glassmaking in Venice . I ave to admit that Murano glass doesn't actually do a whole lot for me, but the museum was interesting, and some of the exhibits are pretty impressive. I mean, I'm not entirely sure why anyone would want a glass trumpet or a glass celestial globe, but it's quite impressive that people are making them...

Mosaic peacocks, Chiesa dei Santi Maria e Donato, Murano
After the museum I visited the church of Saints Maria and Donato, which is one of the oldest churches in Venice. St Donato apparently killed a dragon, and brought the bones with him to this church, where they are displayed behind the alter. It would be churlish to suggest that they look a lot like whale bones..

The church also house some rather nice 12th Century mosaics on the floor, including  a very nice pair of peacocks.

Back in Venice itself, I spent some more time exploring the quieter streets, and came upon the Ponte del Chiodo, the bridge without parapets. Apparently, originally, none of the bridges in Venice had parapets, but this is the only one left in the city itself (there's another on Torcello) 

I ended up back at St. Mark's again. There was still a lot of celebrating going on. I'm not a big fan of crowds or crowded places, but it was all very good tempered and non-threatening. 

There were also nuns selling red roses - apparently it s a tradition, that Venetian men give roses to their wives or girlfriends, a rose on St Mark's day, so the nuns sell them on behalf of the Red Cross.

Museo Correr
 spent the evening visiting the Museo Correr, which is at the far end of St Mark's Square from the Basilica. It is, as you can see, another subtle and understated building!


It was originally built in the 1620s and then updated and extended under Napoleon, who wanted a suitable palace for his brother-in-law. 

The museum has a collection of Canova sculptures, and also some beautiful 17thC globes, with little painting of ships to decorate all the oceans.  The building also houses the city's archaeological museum, so there are some Roman sculptures and Egyptian sarcophagi, as well as the more modern stuff, and a whole suite of rules decorated in the 18th Century with images inspired by Pompeii.

I finished the evening with a stroll down to the Rialto to enjoy the views over the Grand Canal in the dark.

It was a good day.

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