Wednesday 22 June 2016

Buongiorno from Venice

We arrived in Venice and were met by our tour guide, Renata and took a short bus ride to our hotel in Mestre, Italy. We had a quiet dinner in a small Italian restaurant and spent the night recharging our batteries for the next day.

The next morning off we headed to Venice for a three-hour tour…. three hour tour….. (Thankfully, it wasn’t the S.S. Minnow on Gilligan’s Island).  Our modes of transportation were by bus, water taxi and a walking tour through the narrow streets of Venice. The first stop was St. Mark’s Square where our tour guides met us at the Lion’s Column. This was the place where executions took place and it was considered bad luck to walk through the columns. Highlights of the tour included the Piazza di San Marco famous the world over for its covered galleries, the Basilica San Marco, built between 1063 and 1073, with its great variety of architectural styles, Campanile – a 325 ft. bell tower and the Doge’s Palace with its pretty facades of pink and white marble.On through the narrow streets of Venice to the Gran Teatro La Fenice (The Venice Opera House) home to Maria Callas.  Our tour continued through the streets and viewed the MANY shops that offered wares of leather and Murano glass. 
A few purses were purchased this day!
Rounding a corner of one of the Cortes, our all female choir cast their eyes on a tiny plaque that had the name of the first female, Elena Luchezia Cornard Piscopia, to receive a university degree internationally. We then walked to Bacino Orseolo (the Gondola parking lot) and broke into groups of six for the signature gondola ride on Venice’s famed canals. The ride included a short time on the Grand Canal and a view of the Rialto Bridge. Sadly, the Rialto Bridge is presently covered for reconstruction that will take 5 years.

The evening consisted of a three course Italian dinner that started with pasta and finished with Tiramisu. After dinner we walked to Ateneo di San Basso – located on St Mark’s Square. Ateneo di San Basso is one of the oldest churches in Venice and now a popular classical concert venue. We attended a musical production of Vivaldi e L’Opera. Fantastico! At the conclusion of the concert we walked back to Riva degli Schiavoni to meet our private water taxi and then back to hotel. Day 1 done!!!!!

After an early start with a buffet breakfast at the hotel we departed for the journey to the Venetian Islands of Burano and Murano Burano is known for its lace and picturesque pastel houses and Murano is famous for its glass factories. A walk along the main street with its many glass shops was completed by a viewing of a glassblowing demonstration in the Murano Glass Factory. Then back to St. Mark’s Square for leisure time to purchase lunch, have a glass of Spritz (a Venetian orange beverage specialty) and of course more shopping.

Dinner was in a private dining room that consisted of a piano and drums. The evening ended with singing and dancing with 50 plus friends. Good Night! 

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