Wednesday, July 19th Day 4

We had breakfast outside on the terrace with the birds. We had cereal, rolls, fruit and pound cake. We leave on our bus to catch the boat to Venice. We meet our guide, Alexandro, who brings us to the Palace of Doge.

This is the Golden Staircase in the Doge's Palace

This is the Great Council Hall. It is the largest hall in the palace. Some of the artists who decorated this hall were Tintoretto, Veronese and Palma the Younger. The pictures show the most important episodes of the history of Venice.

The Bridge of Sighs is where the prisoners passed by before going to the Piombi Prison. It was the last time they saw the beautiful sight of the canal. One of those prisoners was Casanova. Giacomo Casanova became one of the most legendary lovers of Venetian origin but other lesser known lovers soon filled the State orphanages with their children. Many of these love affairs had their start in the cafes of St. Mark's Square so in 1767 the government prohibited women from frequenting cafes. However, Casanova couldn't resist the charms of the women who strolled about the Square and under the porticos of the Procuratie, he was placed in "Piombi", the prison, by State Investigators because of his lascivious and anti-religious habits. Casanova attempted to escape twice. The first time, just before finishing a hole in the floor he was moved to another cell. However it was better that he didn't finish digging as that hole would have dropped him directly in front of the Inquisitors (again!) in the room below. The second attempt succeeded and he made his way out of the Palace and walked directly down the Golden Staircase and out the main entrance! The wardens saw him leaving but they thought he was a politician and didn't stop him. Before taking the Gondola to leave the city, he couldn't resist one last stroll through the Procuratie where he bid his friends good-bye and had one last cup of coffee in his beloved Piazza San Marco. Casanova reached Paris where lived for 20 years before he was pardoned and allowed to go free.

St. Marks Basilica - we viewed this from the outside. The lines were too long in the morning but by the time we got back to the Piazza in the afternoon it was closed.

Back into the Piazza, close to the Bell Tower and Clock Tower, we saw a demonstration of Venetian glassblowing at the Murano glass factory. This is where mirrors were invented.

We left the factory and were left on our own to explore Venice. We took a boat taxi to the ghetto. The ghetto is where the Jewish people live in Italy. We picked up a sandwich to eat (mozzarella and tomato) and ate on the bridge. We walked to the Rialto bridge and went shopping in the little shops.

Here is a view of the canal

Kathy, Maureen and I needed to use the bathroom so we stopped in the MacDonalds. We got in line not knowing that in order to use the bathroom you needed to make a purchase and then on your slip would be a code number to punch in so you could enter and use the facilities. This Italian girl (worker at Mac kept insisting we need to purchase something. We waited for her to disappear and then when someone came out we all piled in. Going to the bathroom is quite an experience in Italy. Stephanie and I took a boat taxi to the Academia. I went into the GALLERIA DELL'ACCADEMIA Accademia, Dorsoduro - Tel. 041-5222247 to admire all the beautiful works of art. Kathy met us there and then we went back to meet at the Bell Tower at 7:00 to go to supper. We had dinner in the Piazza of San Marco. I can't recall the name of the restaurant but we had macaroni with a cream sauce, vegetable, fried calamari (excellent), polenta, potato and tiramisu for dessert.

Look at this pan we were served from!

After supper we went on the gondola. It was so beautiful. We then met to go back to the boat and then to our hotel. It started to sprinkle.

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