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In October, we spent almost a week in Venice, primarily to attend the Biennale. We have not been to Venice since moving to the continent and the last time I(Chris) came to Venice was more than 20 years ago.

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We stayed on the island in the sestieri Canneregio (not far from the Ponti di Rialto). We explored the islands and the lagoon on foot and by boats.

San Marco Basilica

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The most recognizable and visited place in Venice is Piazza San Marco – the social, religious and political center.

San Marco Campanile and Palazzo Ducale (Doge’s Palace)

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Surrounding the square are three museums (Palazzo Ducale, Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale) that occupied several of the historical buildings which housed past governmental institutions when Venice was a rich and powerful state.

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The Clocktower (Torre dell’Orologio), completed in 1499, with the archway into the Mercerie leading to the Rialto.

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The piazza is ringed by long arcades which is lined with shops and restaurants at ground level, with offices above.

Procuratie Vecchie

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At least three cafes serve the square and erected a small covered stage for musical performance. Popular classical and jazz was played throughout the day and in turns. We have seen musician going from one stage on another after taking a break.

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We discovered, in addition to the price of the beverage, Caffè Florian situated on the south side (and likely its competitors across the square) collects a 6 euro music fee per patron even if one sits inside. The inside of the 1700’s cafe is crammed but beautifully decorated in baroque details.

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As much as it is a touristy place, the open space, the water and intricate architecture really provide a unique atmosphere – rumor has it that Napoleon called the square “the drawing room of Europe”.

Courtyard inside Palazzo Ducale

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The Bridge of Sighs (Ponte dei Sospiri) passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the New Prison (Prigioni Nuove) to the interrogation rooms in the Doge’s Palace.

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Palazzo Ducale – Giants’ Staircase is guarded by Sansovino’s two colossal statues of Mars and Neptune, which represents Venice’s power by land and by sea.

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At dusk, the place is mesmerizing to say the least.

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Views across the lagoon.

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Piazzetta San Marco and Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana

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This has to be one of the top sights in the world.

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We all fell in love with Venice. Many more posts to come.

 

 

 

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