Africa 2017

Africa 2017

Monday, February 20, 2012

Standing in the Piazza San Marco

After some unpacking, a much needed shower and some rest E. and I are ready to have our first evening out in Venice.

I am delighted with our location for our first time here.  I know that I would call our area "ground zero" for the crowds but as a starting point we are close to the Piazza San Marco, St. Mark's Basilica, the Campanile, the Torre dell'Orologio or St. Mark's Clocktower, as well as what we know we can't see because of renovation, the Bridge of Sighs (it just recently has been finished and can now be seen).   

Coming through the narrow calle out into the Piazza was euphoric!  We're here!  My first thought was "thank goodness it is not crowded"!  So often I have been told not go to Venice because of the crowds and yet here we were with hardly a crowd at all.

St. Mark's Basilica

St. Mark's Basilica is incredibly beautiful.  And indeed it does remind me of a lavish wedding cake as I had read on a blog Venice for Vistors.  At once it feels light and airy compared to the Duomo in Florence.   Gold shone brightly on the mosaics we could see on the outside as the sun began it's late afternoon descent.  Domes, spires, ornate crosses, statues and those magnificent bronze horses gazed out on the Piazza.  The original horses are safely kept inside in the Museum of San Marco (I'll be writing about this later).

Mosaic over one of the doors to the Basilica

The Piazza is large with buildings framing three sides opposite the Basilica.  To the right is the  Torre dell'Orologio whose clock face is of the Zodiac signs of gilded gold with a deep royal blue background.  Atop the building above the clock is what we can see from our room, the bronze bell with two figures who ring the bell on the hour.  E. points out the lion above the clock face who reminds her of Aslan from the book the Chronicles of Narnia.  What I know now is this is the traditional symbol of Venice that stood for Mark the Evangelist who is the patron saint of Venice.  We will see many of these lions in Venice in days to come.

Torre dell'Orologio

We walk farther into the Piazza and I notice the restaurants opposite each other and side by side, that my friend K. had said do the dueling pianos in the evening.  

One of several restaurants in the Piazza that will be doing dueling pianos concerts in the evening.

Rising from the Piazza stands the St. Mark's Campanile.  It is surrounded by fencing as they are doing renovation here.  It is still open to take an elevator to the top for views but we have decided we will not do that.  We will take our views from the Basilica.  

St. Mark's Campanile

I'm a bit awe struck here in the Piazza because it is almost too much eye candy to see.  Every building is either with gilded gold upon them, deep hued colors of the mosaics, statues, ornate columns, the dramatic fabric awnings over the restaurants arched openings, elaborate marble designs, the many languages of the tourist around us and of course the ever moving street vendors trying quite hard to get you to buy their cheap toys while on the look out for the Polizia to shoo them away.  

Another view of the Basilica

We soak it in and I am once feeling how much history lies on this island.  How little I will fully learn while here for our short time and how I wish we were staying longer.  I remember my brother by marriage asking how long we were staying in Venice and told him four full days.  He said we should stay at least a week, maybe two and I told him that we only had so much time to see the other places we wanted to go to.  We couldn't fly all the way to Italy and only go to Venice!  Yet I was beginning to see what he might have meant and we had only been here but mere hours.

1 comment:

  1. Aha! Another one hooked by Venice. But, there are other places to explore, of course. You can always come back!