Floating on the Canals in Venice
No matter how many times I come to this city, Venice always takes my breath away. There is just no other place like it, and I’m reminded of that the minute you are on the waterways of this beautiful canal city that dazzles every moment.
We arrived at the Venice airport and boarded a wooden speed boat to go to our hotel on the canal. How very James Bond, sailing full speed across the waterways! It’s so funny that the front doors to the hotels are all on the waterways and not the streets, because in Venice, the canals are the streets! Just drive on up in your boat and hop out.
Even though it was raining when we arrived, it was still beautiful. What was funny to see was the tourists that had to get their gondola ride in spite of the downpour. I guess if you’re only in Venice once and it’s raining, who lets a little bit of water rain on your once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I might put this church in my list of top five in the world. San Marcos Basilica is one of the most beautiful, exotic, intricate and fascinating. Built in the 800s, it has been in a state of continuous expansion and updating, whose constant redecorating and embellishments have gone on for centuries.
There are over 500 beautiful marble columns flanking the front of the church, with none of them matching. Each one is more beautiful than the next. These were all the spoils of war, when the Venetians conquered Constantinople.
Under each of the five arched portals, which allow for entry into the basilica, are a glitter of golden mosaics depicting scenes from the life of Jesus.
The roofline detailing is so interesting that you can look at it for a long time and not absorb all that is going on up there. The statues are very exotic feeling…rather Asian, stolen again from battles against Constantinople which account for the Asian/Eastern vibe. The Italian sculptors also became such skilled craftsmen, that they were able to copy and duplicate much of these amazing statues that it’s difficult to see which ones were done by the Italians and which were stolen from Turkey.
You can always tell the symbol of the Venetians. It’s the winged lion. His paw is always over a book. When the book is open, construction happened during the time of peace, closed shows a time of conflict and war.
Inside the church are the most beautiful gold mosaics, enough to cover 1.5 football fields. After a five year long restoration to clean them, it now twinkles in all it’s glory. The mosaic glass tiles sparkle in the light, like being inside of a giant glittering jewel box. It’s just absolutely dazzling to see and your mind almost can fathom it all…
A short walk across the piazza you will come to one of the most famous bridges…the Rialto Bridge. There’s a hub of activity here with many sidewalk cafes offering wonderful Italian dishes and seafood. It also seems to be where a lot of the gondola rides are docked, waiting for customers eager to ride through the narrow canals.
I can’t take enough photos of Venice. No matter how many I take, I feel like I just haven’t captured enough to do it justice. Venice is one of those places you just have to come and see all its beauty for yourself. It’s definitely a pinch me, am I really here kind of moment. It will be an unforgettable experience that will long last in your memories.