Italy 2011: Day 8

I just got back from an amazing ten day vacation in Italy with my folks! This is Day 8 of our trip.

Our second day in Venice was a busy one! We started with the Palazzo Ducale, the fourteenth-century palace that was the residence of the doge. (The doge was the leader of the Republic of Venice.) The palace was amazing, particularly the ceilings, which were covered in ornate gold frames. Sadly, we weren’t permitted to take pictures on the inside. The palace is connected to the prison by the famous Bridge of Sighs.

Palazzo Ducale

More pictures of the Palazzo Ducale and the rest of our day after the jump!

Palazzo Ducale

Palazzo Ducale

Palazzo Ducale

We were pretty worn out after visiting the palazzo! There was so much to see, and we explored every inch. Because our next destination was literally next door, we grabbed some lunch in the museum’s cafe.

sitting in the Palazzo Ducale courtyard

Then we moved on to the Basilica di San Marco (or St. Mark’s Basilica, but I like the ring of all these Italian names). I had been prepared for a huge queue, but we just walked right in! Entrance to the church is free, but there are certain corners that have paid admission. For example, there is a bejeweled altar screen at the front of the church that is only visible after paying the two Euro fee. It was worth it; the altar screen was fantastically opulent, and the fee also gets you up close to some funerary monuments and other carvings at the front.

The ceiling of the church is covered in glimmering golden mosaics. I had never seen anything quite like it.

golden mosaics via Wikipedia

We got a chance to the see the mosaics more closely when we went up to the loggia, another paid part of the church. There, not only are you close enough to see some of the mosaics on the wall, some pieces of the mosaics are preserved in a small exhibit. The museum also contains the Horses of Saint Mark. The horses are these beautiful bronze horse sculptures that were looted from Constantinople, and they were one of my favorite things that I saw on the whole trip. The originals have been restored and are now kept inside to protect them from the elements.

One of the best parts of visiting the loggia was getting to stand outside overlooking the piazza and the canal. It was a lovely day in Venice, and we could have stayed up there all day.

Basilica di San Marco

Basilica di San Marco

on the loggia with Mom & Dad

horse replicas

We had more places to go, though, so we climbed down from the loggia and moved on. We visited the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari (the Frari), a huge church filled with impressive funerary monuments. A number of notable pieces of art were inside as well.

After we left there, we were hungry and tired, so we stopped in a small shop for tea and cake. Properly restored, we made our way home, where we rested before an evening walk through the Piazza San Marco and over the Ponte di Rialto. We had dinner at La Serenissima before finishing our evening with another stroll.

hiding behind the guidebook

Coming up next: Our final day in Italy! And modern art!

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2 responses to “Italy 2011: Day 8

  1. Great post. Venice is truly an inspiring place. Glad that you enjoyed your 10 days in my new home. Did you make it to Sardegna by chance?

    • Thanks! No, we didn’t. There are so many places to visit, and we sadly only had ten days. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of everywhere that we went! I’m already dreaming about a return trip!

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