Viva Venice!

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

Venice, Venezia, La Serenissima, the Queen of the Adriatic!  There’s a reason people rhapsodize about the city: Venice is as magical as it is improbable.  We got our first sight of La Serenissima when roaring across the lagoon in a water taxi.  Venice floated ahead of us in the morning mist like Brigadoon.  Way cool!

Venice is a city of church bells and stone tunnels, hidden courtyards and alleys that end abruptly at water’s edge.  It hints at deep, ancient secrets.  It’s also a modern city that’s a major cruise port, with ships large and small traveling through the lagoon to the open Adriatic. 

Venicemapold1913 
The city was settled around the fifth century when Romanized locals fled to islands in the lagoon to escape invading Germanic tribes.  Originally 117 islands, Venice was gradually built on millions of pine wood pilings driven deep into the clay and mud bottom of the lagoon.  Under water without oxygen, the pilings petrified and were covered with planking and stone that provide the foundation for buildings. 

Though now the city has only about 60,000 residents, its fame and romantic beauty Canal shot draw tourists from around the world.  In its heyday, the Republic of Venice was one of the great Mediterranean trading powers with an empire that stretched from the Alps to the Levant.  In the 13th Century, Venice was the wealthiest city in Europe. 

Crusades were launched from Venice, and a couple of Venetians stole the body of St. Mark from Egypt because they wanted a high-powered patron saint for the city.  <g> Now the winged lion symbol of St. Mark is everywhere in Venice.

We’d flown into the Marco Polo airport, and the water taxi was the most convenient (and expensive) way to get ourselves and our luggage to the flat we’d rented for the three days before our cruise began.  We were dropped off at a coffee shop near the flat.  (The flat has a courtyard that opened directly onto a minor canal which was, alas, too narrow for water taxis.) 

Venetian bridge Then we had to hump our bags along stone walkways and up and over a stepped bridge.  I love the bridges, and the way people trot briskly up and over them.  (The only place in the city where automotive type vehicles are found is at the end of the causeway from the mainland which allows trains and a few other vehicles to come over.) 

There were a lot of tourists pulling their wheeled suitcases and looking somewhat disoriented.  Plus, lots of dogs, mostly small and extremely well behaved.  The Mayhem Consultant was a little startled when dogs trotted into the coffee shop with their owners, but as I told him, this was Europe.  They do things differently here. <G>  Including eating breakfast—always some form Venetian breakfast of coffee and pastry—while standing at the counter.

Italian women wear scarves tied in complicated ways reminiscent of Regency dandies.  And—this is Italy!  Of course the food is good! <G>

Vaporetto It’s fascinating to see how thoroughly adapted the people and the city are to their watery matrix.  Instead of buses or subways, Venice had vaporettos (vaporetti) which scoot rapidly around the city and along the major canals. 

On the advice of a resident, we rode the #1 vaporetto, which travels up and down the Grand Canal so you can see all the amazing (and crumbling) palazzos built in the days when Venice was a major maritime power.  The #2 line took us to a more of the industrial side of the city.  The vaporettos are a great way to travel, and we never had to wait longer than ten minutes for one.

Gondolas 300 Boats fill all the transportation niches.  There were trash boats, boats that looked like pick up trucks, and even hearse boats carrying handsome coffins adorned with flowers as they made their way to San Michele, the cemetery island. 

The gondolas are mostly for tourists and very expensive, but a very similar boat called a traghetto carries people across the Grand Canal at several points.  Traditionally, passengers stand.  If you saw them sitting, you knew they were tourists. <G>

Even “acqua alta,” the high waters that cause regular flooding of parts of the city such as St. Mark’s Square are treated with equanimity.  People just put on their high Flooding in St. Mark's Square Wellington style boots and out come the duck boards—in this case, solid tables that are stacked out of the way until needed.  Here’s a blog about one of the highest tides in several decades. 

I loved Venice and want to go back, but I’m no expert on the city.  For a better understanding, I asked Jaclyn Reding, a writer friend who is the owner of the flat where we stayed, Ca' Venexiana, what she loves about the city.  Jaclyn was actually in Venice on one of her regular visits to make sure that everything is kept in first class shape.  Her reply:

Canal behind “I love…

The church bells ringing through my window (as they are right now),

The improbability of the city being built as it is on water, and surviving for as long as it has.

There are no cars, no noise, no traffic, no hustle and bustle.

It is slower, quieter, peaceful…so restorative for me.

It is its own little world.  You can walk without a map, you can wander at will without having to worry about getting hopelessly lost.  No matter where you wander, you will always…always still be in Venice.

I love that progress has not marked Venice.  The buildings have changed very little for centuries.  You can imagine Casanova, or Henry James, or even Marco Polo as they were, each of them, when they lived here.

I love that the gondola is still made by hand, even if it takes almost a year to make just one, and not mass produced in some Fiat gondola factory.

I love that the traditions carry on…in the regattas, the festivals, the way the city still marries itself to the sea every year in a ceremony that has gone on for centuries.

I love that the fish market is set up each day near Rialto, as it has been for more than 500 years.  That it hasn't been replaced by a dollar store, or a fast food place.

Last night, I went in to the little bakery around the corner.  The owner was there, who had made the tortas and breads himself, and I love that he took the time to explain to the woman in front of me every ingredient he used in his products, and that they had a friendly conversation with her about foods and families. 

I love that when I bought my own torta, the owner's daughter wrapped it in decorated paper, and tied it with a pink ribbon and even curled the end of the ribbon for me.  Who does that anymore?

I love that I can sit at my window, watching the gondolas and other boats glide by, and write and that if whoever is passing by my window somehow catches my Leaving Venice eye, he will inevitably wave and wish me "buon giorno."

Just reading her comments makes me want to go back right now! 

If you have dreams or experiences of Venice, please share. 

Ciao for now!

Mary Jo

85 thoughts on “Viva Venice!”

  1. Hi Mary Jo, lovely post. Makes me want to pull out my passport and fly off – and I hate flying!
    I don’t have any personal experience with Venice, but I’m going to show this post to my 14-year-old daughter, who will be visiting Venice and Germany next year on a class trip. I so envy her!

    Reply
  2. Hi Mary Jo, lovely post. Makes me want to pull out my passport and fly off – and I hate flying!
    I don’t have any personal experience with Venice, but I’m going to show this post to my 14-year-old daughter, who will be visiting Venice and Germany next year on a class trip. I so envy her!

    Reply
  3. Hi Mary Jo, lovely post. Makes me want to pull out my passport and fly off – and I hate flying!
    I don’t have any personal experience with Venice, but I’m going to show this post to my 14-year-old daughter, who will be visiting Venice and Germany next year on a class trip. I so envy her!

    Reply
  4. Hi Mary Jo, lovely post. Makes me want to pull out my passport and fly off – and I hate flying!
    I don’t have any personal experience with Venice, but I’m going to show this post to my 14-year-old daughter, who will be visiting Venice and Germany next year on a class trip. I so envy her!

    Reply
  5. Hi Mary Jo, lovely post. Makes me want to pull out my passport and fly off – and I hate flying!
    I don’t have any personal experience with Venice, but I’m going to show this post to my 14-year-old daughter, who will be visiting Venice and Germany next year on a class trip. I so envy her!

    Reply
  6. Cynthia, your daughter will be going to Venice and Germany? They sure didn’t have class trips like that when I was in school, back when mastodons roamed the earth. I’m sure she’ll have a marvelous time.
    Like you, I don’t love flying, but a few hours packed in an airborn cattle car can take us to so many interesting places. *g*

    Reply
  7. Cynthia, your daughter will be going to Venice and Germany? They sure didn’t have class trips like that when I was in school, back when mastodons roamed the earth. I’m sure she’ll have a marvelous time.
    Like you, I don’t love flying, but a few hours packed in an airborn cattle car can take us to so many interesting places. *g*

    Reply
  8. Cynthia, your daughter will be going to Venice and Germany? They sure didn’t have class trips like that when I was in school, back when mastodons roamed the earth. I’m sure she’ll have a marvelous time.
    Like you, I don’t love flying, but a few hours packed in an airborn cattle car can take us to so many interesting places. *g*

    Reply
  9. Cynthia, your daughter will be going to Venice and Germany? They sure didn’t have class trips like that when I was in school, back when mastodons roamed the earth. I’m sure she’ll have a marvelous time.
    Like you, I don’t love flying, but a few hours packed in an airborn cattle car can take us to so many interesting places. *g*

    Reply
  10. Cynthia, your daughter will be going to Venice and Germany? They sure didn’t have class trips like that when I was in school, back when mastodons roamed the earth. I’m sure she’ll have a marvelous time.
    Like you, I don’t love flying, but a few hours packed in an airborn cattle car can take us to so many interesting places. *g*

    Reply
  11. Mary Jo, I wish they’d had that kind of trip when I was at school. I’d have loved something like that! As for flying, it got me to my dream destination (Ireland) 2 years ago, so it was indeed worth it. Now I can’t wait to go back again, but I’d love some sort of teleporting device, rather than the plane!

    Reply
  12. Mary Jo, I wish they’d had that kind of trip when I was at school. I’d have loved something like that! As for flying, it got me to my dream destination (Ireland) 2 years ago, so it was indeed worth it. Now I can’t wait to go back again, but I’d love some sort of teleporting device, rather than the plane!

    Reply
  13. Mary Jo, I wish they’d had that kind of trip when I was at school. I’d have loved something like that! As for flying, it got me to my dream destination (Ireland) 2 years ago, so it was indeed worth it. Now I can’t wait to go back again, but I’d love some sort of teleporting device, rather than the plane!

    Reply
  14. Mary Jo, I wish they’d had that kind of trip when I was at school. I’d have loved something like that! As for flying, it got me to my dream destination (Ireland) 2 years ago, so it was indeed worth it. Now I can’t wait to go back again, but I’d love some sort of teleporting device, rather than the plane!

    Reply
  15. Mary Jo, I wish they’d had that kind of trip when I was at school. I’d have loved something like that! As for flying, it got me to my dream destination (Ireland) 2 years ago, so it was indeed worth it. Now I can’t wait to go back again, but I’d love some sort of teleporting device, rather than the plane!

    Reply
  16. We visited, all too briefly, about 20 years ago. I remember a city that thought of food as an art form – who know you can make art out of dead fish and pig parts? I remember street artists and a tiny courtyard full of cats, and my first taste of blood orange juice. My daughter, who was about 8 at the time, remembers wandering away in the Piazza San Marco and getting lost for long enough that her parents were frantic. Gorgeous place. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  17. We visited, all too briefly, about 20 years ago. I remember a city that thought of food as an art form – who know you can make art out of dead fish and pig parts? I remember street artists and a tiny courtyard full of cats, and my first taste of blood orange juice. My daughter, who was about 8 at the time, remembers wandering away in the Piazza San Marco and getting lost for long enough that her parents were frantic. Gorgeous place. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  18. We visited, all too briefly, about 20 years ago. I remember a city that thought of food as an art form – who know you can make art out of dead fish and pig parts? I remember street artists and a tiny courtyard full of cats, and my first taste of blood orange juice. My daughter, who was about 8 at the time, remembers wandering away in the Piazza San Marco and getting lost for long enough that her parents were frantic. Gorgeous place. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  19. We visited, all too briefly, about 20 years ago. I remember a city that thought of food as an art form – who know you can make art out of dead fish and pig parts? I remember street artists and a tiny courtyard full of cats, and my first taste of blood orange juice. My daughter, who was about 8 at the time, remembers wandering away in the Piazza San Marco and getting lost for long enough that her parents were frantic. Gorgeous place. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  20. We visited, all too briefly, about 20 years ago. I remember a city that thought of food as an art form – who know you can make art out of dead fish and pig parts? I remember street artists and a tiny courtyard full of cats, and my first taste of blood orange juice. My daughter, who was about 8 at the time, remembers wandering away in the Piazza San Marco and getting lost for long enough that her parents were frantic. Gorgeous place. Thanks for the memories.

    Reply
  21. Cynthia, I’m with you on the idea of a ‘beam me over’ teleportation device a la Star Trek! It would make the jet lag even worse, though. “g*
    Anne, it’s pretty darned easy to get lost in Venice! But, you found her, and you have so many better memories of Venice.
    I’m reading Donna Leon’s Venice-set mysteries–and see that a book written in the mid-90s has the hero walk past a decaying palazzo where the heirs were fighting vicious court battles–and that palazzo, beautifully renovated, is where we spent our fourth and last night in Venice! Fun.

    Reply
  22. Cynthia, I’m with you on the idea of a ‘beam me over’ teleportation device a la Star Trek! It would make the jet lag even worse, though. “g*
    Anne, it’s pretty darned easy to get lost in Venice! But, you found her, and you have so many better memories of Venice.
    I’m reading Donna Leon’s Venice-set mysteries–and see that a book written in the mid-90s has the hero walk past a decaying palazzo where the heirs were fighting vicious court battles–and that palazzo, beautifully renovated, is where we spent our fourth and last night in Venice! Fun.

    Reply
  23. Cynthia, I’m with you on the idea of a ‘beam me over’ teleportation device a la Star Trek! It would make the jet lag even worse, though. “g*
    Anne, it’s pretty darned easy to get lost in Venice! But, you found her, and you have so many better memories of Venice.
    I’m reading Donna Leon’s Venice-set mysteries–and see that a book written in the mid-90s has the hero walk past a decaying palazzo where the heirs were fighting vicious court battles–and that palazzo, beautifully renovated, is where we spent our fourth and last night in Venice! Fun.

    Reply
  24. Cynthia, I’m with you on the idea of a ‘beam me over’ teleportation device a la Star Trek! It would make the jet lag even worse, though. “g*
    Anne, it’s pretty darned easy to get lost in Venice! But, you found her, and you have so many better memories of Venice.
    I’m reading Donna Leon’s Venice-set mysteries–and see that a book written in the mid-90s has the hero walk past a decaying palazzo where the heirs were fighting vicious court battles–and that palazzo, beautifully renovated, is where we spent our fourth and last night in Venice! Fun.

    Reply
  25. Cynthia, I’m with you on the idea of a ‘beam me over’ teleportation device a la Star Trek! It would make the jet lag even worse, though. “g*
    Anne, it’s pretty darned easy to get lost in Venice! But, you found her, and you have so many better memories of Venice.
    I’m reading Donna Leon’s Venice-set mysteries–and see that a book written in the mid-90s has the hero walk past a decaying palazzo where the heirs were fighting vicious court battles–and that palazzo, beautifully renovated, is where we spent our fourth and last night in Venice! Fun.

    Reply
  26. What a lovely, lovely post and your friend’s ode to the city is definitely sigh-worthy. I too remember the bells, the quiet serenity, the feeling of stepping back in time. If it is indeed that unchanged after so many years I am very happy to hear it. Somehow changing the soul of that lovely place even a little would be a terrible sin.

    Reply
  27. What a lovely, lovely post and your friend’s ode to the city is definitely sigh-worthy. I too remember the bells, the quiet serenity, the feeling of stepping back in time. If it is indeed that unchanged after so many years I am very happy to hear it. Somehow changing the soul of that lovely place even a little would be a terrible sin.

    Reply
  28. What a lovely, lovely post and your friend’s ode to the city is definitely sigh-worthy. I too remember the bells, the quiet serenity, the feeling of stepping back in time. If it is indeed that unchanged after so many years I am very happy to hear it. Somehow changing the soul of that lovely place even a little would be a terrible sin.

    Reply
  29. What a lovely, lovely post and your friend’s ode to the city is definitely sigh-worthy. I too remember the bells, the quiet serenity, the feeling of stepping back in time. If it is indeed that unchanged after so many years I am very happy to hear it. Somehow changing the soul of that lovely place even a little would be a terrible sin.

    Reply
  30. What a lovely, lovely post and your friend’s ode to the city is definitely sigh-worthy. I too remember the bells, the quiet serenity, the feeling of stepping back in time. If it is indeed that unchanged after so many years I am very happy to hear it. Somehow changing the soul of that lovely place even a little would be a terrible sin.

    Reply
  31. Oh, the pictures are to die for, Mary Jo! What a wonderful snapshot of such a fascinating and historic place. I was there a LONG time ago, and really want to go back. It has such a unique mystery to it—that its past is so interwoven with the East is very alluring to me . . . I need to start planning a trip!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  32. Oh, the pictures are to die for, Mary Jo! What a wonderful snapshot of such a fascinating and historic place. I was there a LONG time ago, and really want to go back. It has such a unique mystery to it—that its past is so interwoven with the East is very alluring to me . . . I need to start planning a trip!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  33. Oh, the pictures are to die for, Mary Jo! What a wonderful snapshot of such a fascinating and historic place. I was there a LONG time ago, and really want to go back. It has such a unique mystery to it—that its past is so interwoven with the East is very alluring to me . . . I need to start planning a trip!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  34. Oh, the pictures are to die for, Mary Jo! What a wonderful snapshot of such a fascinating and historic place. I was there a LONG time ago, and really want to go back. It has such a unique mystery to it—that its past is so interwoven with the East is very alluring to me . . . I need to start planning a trip!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  35. Oh, the pictures are to die for, Mary Jo! What a wonderful snapshot of such a fascinating and historic place. I was there a LONG time ago, and really want to go back. It has such a unique mystery to it—that its past is so interwoven with the East is very alluring to me . . . I need to start planning a trip!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  36. What a great post Mary Jo I have never been to Venice but I really want to go now. My daughter went there when she was 14 on a school excursion (among other Cities in Europe) and loved it and I do have a few little keepsakes that she bought me back. Maybe one day I will be able to go there
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  37. What a great post Mary Jo I have never been to Venice but I really want to go now. My daughter went there when she was 14 on a school excursion (among other Cities in Europe) and loved it and I do have a few little keepsakes that she bought me back. Maybe one day I will be able to go there
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  38. What a great post Mary Jo I have never been to Venice but I really want to go now. My daughter went there when she was 14 on a school excursion (among other Cities in Europe) and loved it and I do have a few little keepsakes that she bought me back. Maybe one day I will be able to go there
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  39. What a great post Mary Jo I have never been to Venice but I really want to go now. My daughter went there when she was 14 on a school excursion (among other Cities in Europe) and loved it and I do have a few little keepsakes that she bought me back. Maybe one day I will be able to go there
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  40. What a great post Mary Jo I have never been to Venice but I really want to go now. My daughter went there when she was 14 on a school excursion (among other Cities in Europe) and loved it and I do have a few little keepsakes that she bought me back. Maybe one day I will be able to go there
    Have Fun
    Helen

    Reply
  41. Helen, what is this with 14 year olds from different continents being able to visit Venice on school trips? I was definitely short changed. *g* All my class got (at about age 17) was a visit to Washington, DC, which was about one day’s travel by bus. Times have changed indeed.
    I do hope you get to visit Venice, Helen. I’m sure you’ll find it delightful and fascinating.

    Reply
  42. Helen, what is this with 14 year olds from different continents being able to visit Venice on school trips? I was definitely short changed. *g* All my class got (at about age 17) was a visit to Washington, DC, which was about one day’s travel by bus. Times have changed indeed.
    I do hope you get to visit Venice, Helen. I’m sure you’ll find it delightful and fascinating.

    Reply
  43. Helen, what is this with 14 year olds from different continents being able to visit Venice on school trips? I was definitely short changed. *g* All my class got (at about age 17) was a visit to Washington, DC, which was about one day’s travel by bus. Times have changed indeed.
    I do hope you get to visit Venice, Helen. I’m sure you’ll find it delightful and fascinating.

    Reply
  44. Helen, what is this with 14 year olds from different continents being able to visit Venice on school trips? I was definitely short changed. *g* All my class got (at about age 17) was a visit to Washington, DC, which was about one day’s travel by bus. Times have changed indeed.
    I do hope you get to visit Venice, Helen. I’m sure you’ll find it delightful and fascinating.

    Reply
  45. Helen, what is this with 14 year olds from different continents being able to visit Venice on school trips? I was definitely short changed. *g* All my class got (at about age 17) was a visit to Washington, DC, which was about one day’s travel by bus. Times have changed indeed.
    I do hope you get to visit Venice, Helen. I’m sure you’ll find it delightful and fascinating.

    Reply
  46. Gorgeous post, Mary Jo — my feet are itching madly now. I’ve been to Venice twice — the first time was in winter, and because of the season, I was able to find a cheap hotel overlooking the waterfront, just steps away from St Mark’s Square. The first night I was exploring, looking for a restaurant to eat dinner, and all around there were men wandering the square in intriguing uniforms — not soldiers or police — it turned out there was some choir festival on during the next few days, and these were men from other parts of Europe, out like me, exploring. My guess is they’d dined — and wined — earlier than I had, for right there in the middle of St Mark’s Square Square a small group of them — Italians from the mountains, I later learned — burst into song. Their friends wandered across and joined them, and the chill winter air was filled with glorious male voices in an impromptu concert. They sang two or three songs, everyone clapped and then they all wandered off again. It certainly established Venice as a magical place for me.
    My second visit was when I sailed into Venice at dawn on a boat coming from Greece. It was magical watching the city slowly appear through the mist, floating on the waters like some enchanted island.
    One day I’ll use it in a book.
    Thanks for reminding me.

    Reply
  47. Gorgeous post, Mary Jo — my feet are itching madly now. I’ve been to Venice twice — the first time was in winter, and because of the season, I was able to find a cheap hotel overlooking the waterfront, just steps away from St Mark’s Square. The first night I was exploring, looking for a restaurant to eat dinner, and all around there were men wandering the square in intriguing uniforms — not soldiers or police — it turned out there was some choir festival on during the next few days, and these were men from other parts of Europe, out like me, exploring. My guess is they’d dined — and wined — earlier than I had, for right there in the middle of St Mark’s Square Square a small group of them — Italians from the mountains, I later learned — burst into song. Their friends wandered across and joined them, and the chill winter air was filled with glorious male voices in an impromptu concert. They sang two or three songs, everyone clapped and then they all wandered off again. It certainly established Venice as a magical place for me.
    My second visit was when I sailed into Venice at dawn on a boat coming from Greece. It was magical watching the city slowly appear through the mist, floating on the waters like some enchanted island.
    One day I’ll use it in a book.
    Thanks for reminding me.

    Reply
  48. Gorgeous post, Mary Jo — my feet are itching madly now. I’ve been to Venice twice — the first time was in winter, and because of the season, I was able to find a cheap hotel overlooking the waterfront, just steps away from St Mark’s Square. The first night I was exploring, looking for a restaurant to eat dinner, and all around there were men wandering the square in intriguing uniforms — not soldiers or police — it turned out there was some choir festival on during the next few days, and these were men from other parts of Europe, out like me, exploring. My guess is they’d dined — and wined — earlier than I had, for right there in the middle of St Mark’s Square Square a small group of them — Italians from the mountains, I later learned — burst into song. Their friends wandered across and joined them, and the chill winter air was filled with glorious male voices in an impromptu concert. They sang two or three songs, everyone clapped and then they all wandered off again. It certainly established Venice as a magical place for me.
    My second visit was when I sailed into Venice at dawn on a boat coming from Greece. It was magical watching the city slowly appear through the mist, floating on the waters like some enchanted island.
    One day I’ll use it in a book.
    Thanks for reminding me.

    Reply
  49. Gorgeous post, Mary Jo — my feet are itching madly now. I’ve been to Venice twice — the first time was in winter, and because of the season, I was able to find a cheap hotel overlooking the waterfront, just steps away from St Mark’s Square. The first night I was exploring, looking for a restaurant to eat dinner, and all around there were men wandering the square in intriguing uniforms — not soldiers or police — it turned out there was some choir festival on during the next few days, and these were men from other parts of Europe, out like me, exploring. My guess is they’d dined — and wined — earlier than I had, for right there in the middle of St Mark’s Square Square a small group of them — Italians from the mountains, I later learned — burst into song. Their friends wandered across and joined them, and the chill winter air was filled with glorious male voices in an impromptu concert. They sang two or three songs, everyone clapped and then they all wandered off again. It certainly established Venice as a magical place for me.
    My second visit was when I sailed into Venice at dawn on a boat coming from Greece. It was magical watching the city slowly appear through the mist, floating on the waters like some enchanted island.
    One day I’ll use it in a book.
    Thanks for reminding me.

    Reply
  50. Gorgeous post, Mary Jo — my feet are itching madly now. I’ve been to Venice twice — the first time was in winter, and because of the season, I was able to find a cheap hotel overlooking the waterfront, just steps away from St Mark’s Square. The first night I was exploring, looking for a restaurant to eat dinner, and all around there were men wandering the square in intriguing uniforms — not soldiers or police — it turned out there was some choir festival on during the next few days, and these were men from other parts of Europe, out like me, exploring. My guess is they’d dined — and wined — earlier than I had, for right there in the middle of St Mark’s Square Square a small group of them — Italians from the mountains, I later learned — burst into song. Their friends wandered across and joined them, and the chill winter air was filled with glorious male voices in an impromptu concert. They sang two or three songs, everyone clapped and then they all wandered off again. It certainly established Venice as a magical place for me.
    My second visit was when I sailed into Venice at dawn on a boat coming from Greece. It was magical watching the city slowly appear through the mist, floating on the waters like some enchanted island.
    One day I’ll use it in a book.
    Thanks for reminding me.

    Reply
  51. How wonderful to have a square full of singers! Magical indeed. As is approaching Venice through the water, which almost everyone does. We had hazy sunshine, and Venice coalesced out of the mists. Lovely. Haven’t figured out yet how to use it in a book, but give me time….

    Reply
  52. How wonderful to have a square full of singers! Magical indeed. As is approaching Venice through the water, which almost everyone does. We had hazy sunshine, and Venice coalesced out of the mists. Lovely. Haven’t figured out yet how to use it in a book, but give me time….

    Reply
  53. How wonderful to have a square full of singers! Magical indeed. As is approaching Venice through the water, which almost everyone does. We had hazy sunshine, and Venice coalesced out of the mists. Lovely. Haven’t figured out yet how to use it in a book, but give me time….

    Reply
  54. How wonderful to have a square full of singers! Magical indeed. As is approaching Venice through the water, which almost everyone does. We had hazy sunshine, and Venice coalesced out of the mists. Lovely. Haven’t figured out yet how to use it in a book, but give me time….

    Reply
  55. How wonderful to have a square full of singers! Magical indeed. As is approaching Venice through the water, which almost everyone does. We had hazy sunshine, and Venice coalesced out of the mists. Lovely. Haven’t figured out yet how to use it in a book, but give me time….

    Reply
  56. Mary Jo, what a wonderful post, and gorgeous pictures! An amazing place to visit and to linger in, I’m sure. And thank you for posting Jaclyn Reding’s beautiful, evocative comments on what Venice is truly like. She knows from experience!
    I’d love to go there someday, and
    your lovely post just made that a stronger desire. Our family tree has a well-known 18th c. Venetian painter – I’d love to see his work in situ. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  57. Mary Jo, what a wonderful post, and gorgeous pictures! An amazing place to visit and to linger in, I’m sure. And thank you for posting Jaclyn Reding’s beautiful, evocative comments on what Venice is truly like. She knows from experience!
    I’d love to go there someday, and
    your lovely post just made that a stronger desire. Our family tree has a well-known 18th c. Venetian painter – I’d love to see his work in situ. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  58. Mary Jo, what a wonderful post, and gorgeous pictures! An amazing place to visit and to linger in, I’m sure. And thank you for posting Jaclyn Reding’s beautiful, evocative comments on what Venice is truly like. She knows from experience!
    I’d love to go there someday, and
    your lovely post just made that a stronger desire. Our family tree has a well-known 18th c. Venetian painter – I’d love to see his work in situ. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  59. Mary Jo, what a wonderful post, and gorgeous pictures! An amazing place to visit and to linger in, I’m sure. And thank you for posting Jaclyn Reding’s beautiful, evocative comments on what Venice is truly like. She knows from experience!
    I’d love to go there someday, and
    your lovely post just made that a stronger desire. Our family tree has a well-known 18th c. Venetian painter – I’d love to see his work in situ. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  60. Mary Jo, what a wonderful post, and gorgeous pictures! An amazing place to visit and to linger in, I’m sure. And thank you for posting Jaclyn Reding’s beautiful, evocative comments on what Venice is truly like. She knows from experience!
    I’d love to go there someday, and
    your lovely post just made that a stronger desire. Our family tree has a well-known 18th c. Venetian painter – I’d love to see his work in situ. 🙂
    Susan

    Reply
  61. Susan, how lovely to see the ancestral painter’s works where they belong! Italians do the most amazing churches. There was one called San Sebastiano across the footbridge from our coffee shop. I went in–and found that almost the whole interior had been decorated by Veronese. Just amazing. And it was RIGHT THERE!

    Reply
  62. Susan, how lovely to see the ancestral painter’s works where they belong! Italians do the most amazing churches. There was one called San Sebastiano across the footbridge from our coffee shop. I went in–and found that almost the whole interior had been decorated by Veronese. Just amazing. And it was RIGHT THERE!

    Reply
  63. Susan, how lovely to see the ancestral painter’s works where they belong! Italians do the most amazing churches. There was one called San Sebastiano across the footbridge from our coffee shop. I went in–and found that almost the whole interior had been decorated by Veronese. Just amazing. And it was RIGHT THERE!

    Reply
  64. Susan, how lovely to see the ancestral painter’s works where they belong! Italians do the most amazing churches. There was one called San Sebastiano across the footbridge from our coffee shop. I went in–and found that almost the whole interior had been decorated by Veronese. Just amazing. And it was RIGHT THERE!

    Reply
  65. Susan, how lovely to see the ancestral painter’s works where they belong! Italians do the most amazing churches. There was one called San Sebastiano across the footbridge from our coffee shop. I went in–and found that almost the whole interior had been decorated by Veronese. Just amazing. And it was RIGHT THERE!

    Reply
  66. Thank you so much for sharing all this with us Mary Jo!
    Though I Live in Rome, Venice is my favourite town. I was sixteen the first time I saw it and will nvere forget the intense emotion I felt getting off the train and after few steps out of the station, finding myself surrounded by the sea. It was a breathtaking vision and it still steals my breath away after all this years. Every time the absolute beauty of this magnificient city moves me deeply because is an unique blend of art and nature. See you soon then, Mary Jo? 🙂
    Maet

    Reply
  67. Thank you so much for sharing all this with us Mary Jo!
    Though I Live in Rome, Venice is my favourite town. I was sixteen the first time I saw it and will nvere forget the intense emotion I felt getting off the train and after few steps out of the station, finding myself surrounded by the sea. It was a breathtaking vision and it still steals my breath away after all this years. Every time the absolute beauty of this magnificient city moves me deeply because is an unique blend of art and nature. See you soon then, Mary Jo? 🙂
    Maet

    Reply
  68. Thank you so much for sharing all this with us Mary Jo!
    Though I Live in Rome, Venice is my favourite town. I was sixteen the first time I saw it and will nvere forget the intense emotion I felt getting off the train and after few steps out of the station, finding myself surrounded by the sea. It was a breathtaking vision and it still steals my breath away after all this years. Every time the absolute beauty of this magnificient city moves me deeply because is an unique blend of art and nature. See you soon then, Mary Jo? 🙂
    Maet

    Reply
  69. Thank you so much for sharing all this with us Mary Jo!
    Though I Live in Rome, Venice is my favourite town. I was sixteen the first time I saw it and will nvere forget the intense emotion I felt getting off the train and after few steps out of the station, finding myself surrounded by the sea. It was a breathtaking vision and it still steals my breath away after all this years. Every time the absolute beauty of this magnificient city moves me deeply because is an unique blend of art and nature. See you soon then, Mary Jo? 🙂
    Maet

    Reply
  70. Thank you so much for sharing all this with us Mary Jo!
    Though I Live in Rome, Venice is my favourite town. I was sixteen the first time I saw it and will nvere forget the intense emotion I felt getting off the train and after few steps out of the station, finding myself surrounded by the sea. It was a breathtaking vision and it still steals my breath away after all this years. Every time the absolute beauty of this magnificient city moves me deeply because is an unique blend of art and nature. See you soon then, Mary Jo? 🙂
    Maet

    Reply
  71. Maet–
    There’s a Jewish saying, usually spoken at the end of Yom Kippur or a Passover seder, I think: “Next year in Jerusalem!”
    So a toast to you, and “Next year in Venice!” Okay, it’s unlikely to be next year, but one of these days, perhaps we can meet in Venice and absorb all that splendid history and beauty.

    Reply
  72. Maet–
    There’s a Jewish saying, usually spoken at the end of Yom Kippur or a Passover seder, I think: “Next year in Jerusalem!”
    So a toast to you, and “Next year in Venice!” Okay, it’s unlikely to be next year, but one of these days, perhaps we can meet in Venice and absorb all that splendid history and beauty.

    Reply
  73. Maet–
    There’s a Jewish saying, usually spoken at the end of Yom Kippur or a Passover seder, I think: “Next year in Jerusalem!”
    So a toast to you, and “Next year in Venice!” Okay, it’s unlikely to be next year, but one of these days, perhaps we can meet in Venice and absorb all that splendid history and beauty.

    Reply
  74. Maet–
    There’s a Jewish saying, usually spoken at the end of Yom Kippur or a Passover seder, I think: “Next year in Jerusalem!”
    So a toast to you, and “Next year in Venice!” Okay, it’s unlikely to be next year, but one of these days, perhaps we can meet in Venice and absorb all that splendid history and beauty.

    Reply
  75. Maet–
    There’s a Jewish saying, usually spoken at the end of Yom Kippur or a Passover seder, I think: “Next year in Jerusalem!”
    So a toast to you, and “Next year in Venice!” Okay, it’s unlikely to be next year, but one of these days, perhaps we can meet in Venice and absorb all that splendid history and beauty.

    Reply
  76. Wonderfully evocative and informative blog, Mary Jo. My travel blog on Venice was mostly about getting lost — which is why only my mother and sister bother to read it! But my favourite memory was waking one morning with the window open to let in the air and hearing absolutely nothing. Never heard such silence before, not even when camping in the Rockies.
    Laurel Watson

    Reply
  77. Wonderfully evocative and informative blog, Mary Jo. My travel blog on Venice was mostly about getting lost — which is why only my mother and sister bother to read it! But my favourite memory was waking one morning with the window open to let in the air and hearing absolutely nothing. Never heard such silence before, not even when camping in the Rockies.
    Laurel Watson

    Reply
  78. Wonderfully evocative and informative blog, Mary Jo. My travel blog on Venice was mostly about getting lost — which is why only my mother and sister bother to read it! But my favourite memory was waking one morning with the window open to let in the air and hearing absolutely nothing. Never heard such silence before, not even when camping in the Rockies.
    Laurel Watson

    Reply
  79. Wonderfully evocative and informative blog, Mary Jo. My travel blog on Venice was mostly about getting lost — which is why only my mother and sister bother to read it! But my favourite memory was waking one morning with the window open to let in the air and hearing absolutely nothing. Never heard such silence before, not even when camping in the Rockies.
    Laurel Watson

    Reply
  80. Wonderfully evocative and informative blog, Mary Jo. My travel blog on Venice was mostly about getting lost — which is why only my mother and sister bother to read it! But my favourite memory was waking one morning with the window open to let in the air and hearing absolutely nothing. Never heard such silence before, not even when camping in the Rockies.
    Laurel Watson

    Reply

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