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Bell Tower San Marco Square
Saint Marks Basilica
View From The Bell Tower
After spending many hours planning our Italian vacation I couldn't wait for the day to start in Venice. I arrived late in the afternoon knowing by the time I checked into our hotel I wouldn't have time to do any real sightseeing. After getting settled in I walked around the area a little and picked out a nice little restaurant for dinner. After which I went back to the room and double checked our plans for the next day then settled in for the remainder of the evening.
The next morning I started with breakfast at the hotel and were on our way. Since I did a little walk around the evening before I knew the water bus stop was only a couple blocks from the hotel and was the only part of the trip planning that I didn't know much about. The entire length of the city of Venice is only about 2 miles and I was headed to Saint Marks square which was about a mile away so it didn't seem far but since I had never been on a water bus I couldn't guess on the time it might take to get there. It turned out to only take about a half hour to get there however the ride was quite interesting as the boat zig zaged from one side of the Grand canal to the other making it important to know which side of the canal you wanted to go.
Once I arrived at Saint Marks square (Piazza San Marco) I walked around a little took some pictures and decided which of the 3 main sights I planned to see first. I decided to go to the top of Saint Marks square tower and get a view of the city. At first I thought I was going to have to walk to the top and was surprised to see an elevator in it. The ride only took about a minute but seemed longer because there are no windows to look out on the way. Once at the top I realized what a beautifully pristine day I had and without a speck of haze in the air I would be able to get some great pictures. I took our turn looking out each side of the tower at the view which was spectacular and took some great pictures. I kept a close look at my watch for the time because the huge bells in the tower still struck on the hour and I for one didn't want to be in the top of the tower when there were ringing.
After coming down from the tower the next place to see was Saint Marks Basilica which is the most famous of over 400 churches on this little island. Upon entering the church I was a little surprised with the lack of light, which I thought made it a little difficult to see the paintings and other works of art in the church. Another thing that struck me odd was not being able to take any personal property into the church, I could understand no cameras but you couldn't take in a back pack and I can't remember if a large purse was allowed in either.
After I was finished in the church I took time out from sightseeing to have a bite of lunch at a nice place right around the corner, a little pricey for me but I was on vacation and planned on going to just a few pricey places and more reasonable places the rest of the time.
The last sight I had planned on seeing this day was the Doge's palace and I suggest to anyone going to Venice as a must see sight. Entering the palace the first thing you notice are the ceilings which are all very ornate with carvings and paintings everywhere. To me it seemed like there must have 50 or more rooms in the palace and everyone had a different kind of pattern carved and painted in the ceilings.
Most of the rooms were big over 30 x 30 and a few rooms that seemed small compared to the rest but each one had either paintings or sculptures in them. There were a few rooms I found particularly interesting one being two very large side by side rooms with a giant 24 hour clock mounted in the common wall so you could see the clock from both rooms, each room being at least 120 x 75 feet.
The most impressive room in the palace was a common meeting room which I believe was used as a court room and for town meetings. I have seen very large rooms before but this place was immense at least 250 foot long 120 or more feet wide and over 60 feet high with no center support beams of any kind the entire roof was free standing. I couldn't imagine how they could build such a span well over 400 years ago without steel.
By the time I was finished seeing the Doge's palace it was mid afternoon around 4, so I still had time to see more so I walked down to see the bridge of sighs, probably the second most famous bridge in Venice. After which I headed back to the hotel for a short nap before going to dinner.
I was staying in a hotel about 100 feet from Rio Tera San Leonardo which is one of the major streets in Venice and will take you all the way to the train station after a few street name changes that is. Being so close to a major street made it easy to find a nice place for dinner, after which I took a nice walk to see our little part of Venice at night before turning in for the evening. I can't believe according to what I have read that most people only stay in Venice for one day and I recommend to anyone planning a visit to Venice to stay for at least 3 days, there are just too many wonderful things to see to only stay for a day. You can experience great adventures like this, all you need to do is start planning your trip.
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