Saturday, 11 August 2012

Venice and my Rennaisance adventure!


So we planned a family holiday a month ago.... and I convinced everyone to go to Venice!
Except..... Dad had to work the Olympics and Andrew caught really bad tonsilitis and was hopitalised for two nights just before we were due to travel. Un-deterred, me, Mum and Ashley packed our hand luggage and headed off onto out easy jet flight.

We made it! After landng in Venice we took a taxi to the island and thought it best to walk what seemed 500 m to our hotel. It took an hour. Finally, we made it to our hotel at about 11pm and got a beer which tasted like the best beer in the world after that slog!

We woke up to this.....

And after finding a place to have a coffee and weirdly green venetian cake we went off on our adventure.

Yes, that is my Mum in the floppy hat next to my hairy giant of a brother.

We took our time finding the Gallerie Accademia, which is another way of saying we got pretty lost. You see, the thing is, Venice doesn't have roads, so when we were following the map and it looked like we could just follow a canal and we would get there, well that wasn't quite right. You need to cross about 20 bridges and 10 squares to get 50m down the road! As "itinerary coordinater" I was getting pretty miffed and was glad to get to a cold museum.

It was a great museum. Truly venetian. The gallery follows a chronological arrangement Titian, Tintoretto and Carpaccio seemed to be heralded as the height of Venetian renaissance masters, to whom the accadamy are still indepted too. Mum and Ashley were getting a bit bored of Virgin Marys and bleeding Christs on crucifixes, so we went and had lunch.

We headed over to St Mark's square where we went into the Museo Correr. We only stayed there an hour and said we would go back as we were knackered from all the walking and 32 degree heat!

 It was pretty awesome. It is their chief civic museum joined to the archealogical museum.

The next day we found our coffee shop and decided to buy a water bus ticket for the next few days. We headed out to Murano! The water buses are amazing! They are punctual, quick and surreal. The bus conductor ties up the boat to all the stops and you jump on or off quickly as they don't hang

We were at Murano within the hour where we had the nicest day. We went straight to their museum where we saw the most fantastic pieces from 300 BC to the present day! I had no idea that the italians had been making this glass for so long and with such detail. My favourite was seeing some really famous artist's work in the medium, as they must have been really influenced by it upon visiting the island. 
This is Chagall!

We then went and saw them making it. That was pretty awesome, although super touristy. I think it is fascinating how much pride they have in their export, and we saw some stunning things made of it in the shops on the island.

The next day was good. We went to the Basilica first thing and as usual, I was inappropriately dressed. I had to wear these paper cloths around my shoulders and legs as I had shorts and t shirt on. It was absolutely gorgeous inside and out. The legend goes that St Mark was greeted by an angel who told him on the night he took shelter in Venice on his way back to Rome that this is the place where his body will rest. in 828 the body of St Mark was stolen from Alexandria and brought back to Venice where this shrine was built up around him. You see these winged lions holding books all over the place, and this is the emblem of St Mark.

We then visited the Doge's Palace, which was honestly, the most ostentatious law courts and council chambers I have ever even imagined. The prisons attached to the building were even quite roomy!
Titian's adorn the walls which are dark wood, marble, stucco and gold.

Oh yeah, we did a gondola ride!

On our final day we visited the Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari, a boring building to see from the outside clad in red brick. However, I am so glad we went! Titian's "Assumption" soars above the altar. Titian is also buried in this building under a marble monument that is bigger than my house. He was the only person to be given the honour of being buried in a church having died of the plague. Opposite his tomb, is a monument to another revered Venetion, Canova. I get the impression that Canova was a bit in love with himself, because he designed this tomb himself to be built by his disciples following his death. Take a look and see what you think.....

We also paid a visit to San Giorgio Maggiore which is Palladio's church built across the canal from our hotel. I had a chance to have a bit of a sit down and draw here.

Our hotel was near the Santa Maria Della Salute, so we decided to pay it a visit on our way back to the hotel before leaving for our flight. We had seen people dancing the tango on the steps of this building two nights before at midnight. In the daylight it was impressive to behold.

It was a nice way to end the trip, as this is a peaceful church. You do not have to pay anything to enter. You do not need to be too concerned about what you are wearing. It was quiet enough to pray and beautiful with it's high renaissance art adorning the walls. This church was built when the plague claimed one third of Venice's population, and is a peaceful place to be.

I will tell you something for nothing. I would go back tomorrow.

J x