Monday, April 22, 2013

Lost in Venice, Part 1

Venice is now on my list of favorite cities. If you leave the crowds in the touristy areas behind you can spend hours in the labyrinth of narrow streets and canals and see some pretty remarkable sights. You will also enjoy the quiet atmosphere of small neighborhoods and the calming effects of being so close to water. This is how I spent the majority of my time in Venice with a few visits to big attractions like the Basilica San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale. I also wandered into several churches, including Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari.

My favorite of all the churches I visited, Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari, is where you will see Titian's masterpiece, "Assumption of the Virgin," which hangs above the high alter.

 The Pala d'Oro at the Basilica San Marco is an altarpiece dating from 976 in gold, enamel, and jewels. I only read a little about this astonishing piece before my visit to the basilica and upon seeing it I gasped out loud. Then I stayed there for at least 20 minutes just staring with my jaw dropped. My pictures do not come even close to conveying how incredible it is.

Also inside the basilica, I recommend paying 3 Euro to visit the Treasury where you can see a wonderful collection of reliquaries and other incredible objects in silver and gold. Finally, I was also impressed with the tomb of St. Mark:

The Palazzo Ducale is composed of many massive rooms that are almost completely covered wall-to-wall with paintings by Italy's great artists, like Tiepolo and Tintoretto.  I definitely checked ceiling painting off my list of top things to see on this trip with just this one visit. The Palazzo even boosts one of the world's largest oil paintings, Paradise by Tintoretto, which is 74 feet long and 30 feet high:

Tomorrow...Venice graffiti and some contemporary jewelry.

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Thanks for reading.

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