Friday, January 31, 2014

Venice, Italy ~ St. Mark's Square

Early morning in Venice means finding the gondolas still covered from the night before. Rides go on till late in the night so they don't start back up again til late morning. The splash of blue at the harbor just adds to the beauty of the scene.
 San Giorgio Maggiore Church is part of the beautiful view in the morning. This is a very popular view to photograph so early in the morning is the easiest time to get the Church without the crowds.
 This is part of the large waterway that the busses and water taxi's use as a highway around the islands so there are always boats zipping back and forth from side to side.
 Early morning is also the best time to get a close look at the gondolas. You can't help but be romanced and charmed by their shape and beauty.
 This gorgeous building is part of the Hotel Danieli. Part of what I do before a trip is to research the area. Somehow I missed that the inside of this hotel is world famous type beautiful. I will go back just to photograph the inside! So even if you do more!
 Lions are everywhere in Venice. It is a sign of virility and power. You will see them in statues, carved into doors, as door handles and even as places to tie up a boat!
 This was, by far, my favorite lion in Venice! He is just the most fierce lion statue I have ever seen in our travels! Made from bronze, he has had centuries to get this wonderful patina!
 Even at 9am the square begins to get crowded. Be aware of pick pockets and then take the time to really soak it in. There are several cafe's near the edges that you can grab a coffee and relax and people watch.
 St. Theodore watches over the square from the back of a slain dragon that looks like a crocodile to me! But he does look quite grand facing into the square. It is very easy to imagine the vintage lamps with their rose colored glass being gas lit which just adds romance to the area. 
 This is another version of the Venetian Lion. The twin columns represent the two patron Saints of Venice, St. Theodore and St. Mark. If anyone can explain to me how a winged lion represents St. Mark please do let me know. It really isn't clear to me.
 The clock tower was completed in 1499 and it is the gateway to the main thoroughfare to the city and the path you would take to get to the Rialto section of shopping. We wandered to the Rialto Bridge from here through some really beautiful streets.
 To the right of the square as you enter from the water is St. Mark's Basilica. From this angle you can see the famous four horses of Venice. (click on the photo to enlarge it and see the horses at the top of the arch) They were considered such a potent symbol of power that they had bridles added later to "contain" the power and even Napoleon stole them and took them to Paris in 1779 when he conquered Venice. The newest Dan Brown book "Inferno" covers these horses in part of it so you know they are truly famous.
 The details in the front of this building are amazing. (Remember to click on the small photos to see these details better!) and as much as we wanted to go inside of the Church it was SO crowded there was a line around the building.
 The other regret is that the famous square was under construction so 3/4 of it was covered in drapes or scaffolding or both. I was able to get this small section of the famous columns. Just one more reason to go back again.
Our tour that morning was of The Doge's Palace. It takes up one full quarter of the square. One side faces the water and marina and the other side faces the square. The beauty of the outside doesn't even hint at the beauty in the inside. Unlike the Basilica, we were part of our Go Ahead Tours group and didn't have to wait in the long line to get in. If you are not with a similar group then give yourself plenty of line time and arrive early in the morning for shorter lines.

Next week I'll take you inside the Palace so you can see just how beautiful it is and get an idea of the drastic change the prisoners went through as they passed through the Palace, across the Bridge of Sighs and into the dungeons, never to be seen again.

See you then!



  1. Glad to hear you had a wonderful time. So many fantastic places, impossible to narrow it down. We love hiking and because of my ties to the Dolomite area, that would be one of my favorite areas.
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