My time in Venice came quickly to an end before I could ever be ready for it to end. After taking the “People Mover” (yes, the multi million dollar raised train system is really called that) from the mainland into Venice, my day in Venice began in St. Mark’s square, the center of Venice. For some reason, the pigeons in the square are considered sacred and it is illegal to feed or touch them. In times past, the pigeons were all captured and taken away, but they flew back. I guess they are there to stay now. It is also said that different coloured pigeons can be found flying around because some were captured, dyed, and then released (I can’t ever imagine why!). From St. Mark’s Square, the immaculate St. Mark’s Basilica can be seen–the most famous church in Venice of Byzantine architecture. Although I wanted to climb the windy St. Mark’s Campanile bell tower for the best (windy) views of the Venetian islands, I just didn’t have the time.
Near St. Mark’s Basilica, Doges Palace can be seen where the royals used to live. One of the pillars at the front of the palace is stained a tinge of red/pink which is claimed to be this way due to the numerous public executions (hangings) outside of the palace. Europe has such a tainted past. Next to the palace is the narrow street that leads to the Bridge of Sorrows, a 17th century bridge connecting the palace with Venice’s old prisons. The bridge is symbolic because it is said that the view the persecuted would see from the bridge was their last before their prison cell. On a more positive note, Venice also has a more uplifting past when it comes to art. Both the Academia and Peggy’s Guggenheim Museums host Italian art collections (and beyond), including works from local artists.
Leaving the center of the city lead me to the Rialto Bridge area. The area is popular for the many surrounding restaurants and large markets selling anything imaginable. I enjoyed a traditional lunch of caprese salad and margarita pizza followed by lemon gelato. After peruzing the many market vendors I found the perfect present for my best friend’s birthday: a green venetian leather purse. I couldn’t leave Venice without visiting one of the oldest lace schools in the city. After a lace making demonstration I can appreciate the process and time that goes into making Venetian lace. I’ll never take lace for granted again.