Glass making has been a colourful part of Venentian history. Although it dates back to the Roman Empire, it was Venice’s trade with the Orient that brought it to the next level. As the popularity of Venetian glass grew, so did the protectionism of the authorities. In 1271 they made it illegal to import foreign glass and to hire foreign glass workers; 20 years later they forced all glass-making to move to Murano (supposedly because the risk of fire was too great). It’s widely believed that this wasn’t the only motive, as the glass makers themselves were also forced to move to Murano (where they were treated like royalty). A few years later it was made illegal for the glass makers to leave the Republic, the penalty for this “crime” was death.
The industry went through a decline in later centuries, but experienced a resurgence in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and Murano is once again renowned for it’s glass.
There were so many beautiful glass sculptures and pieces in the shop windows…
One of the things that make Murano glass unique is the colours – and they are beautiful
Like Venice, Murano is a number of smaller islands interconnected by bridges. Unlike Venice, it wasn’t terribly crowded.
On the Campo San Stefano in Murano there is a clock tower (with the wrong time) and at it’s base is “Comet Glass Star”. Created on Murano by master glass maker Simone Cedenese, it’s made up of 500 glass blown pieces of various sizes and colours. On a bright sunny day, the result is spectacular.
It was a lovely place to wander a little, enjoy the glass and reflect over a nice glass of wine…
All good things must come to an end, soon it was time to leave Murano – destination St. Mark’s square.
After a short bus ride from Murano we arrived at St. Mark’s square. On the right is the Doges Palace (the doge was the chief magistrate), St. Mark’s bell tower in the background and some government buildings on the left.
The Bridge of Sighs connects the Doge’s Palace on the left to the prison on the right. Legend has it that the prisoners heading from the examining rooms in the Palace to the prison would sigh as they caught their last glimpse of Venice through the small windows.
Gondolas wait for passengers in front of St. Mark’s square.
The Campanile (Bell Tower) of St. Mark’s stands alone in the square, across from the St. Mark’s Basilica.
The front facade of the Basilica San Marco, nicknamed the Chiesa d’oro – the Church of Gold and it’s easy to see why.
The basilica sparkles in the sun…
As do the masks in the shops…
The afternoon light creates patterns on the wall of the Doge’s Palace
Escaping the crowds…
The view of the Torre dell’Orologio from the back. The sun pointer is the only moving piece on this side of the clock tower, showing the hour in roman numerals on the 24 hour clock. The picture was taken around 6:30 pm, so this clock was actually correct!
At night the lights come on and the orchestra’s play; most of the people are gone and it becomes much more pleasant.
Looking out toward the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore you can see the Lion of St Mark and the statue of St. Theodore, the first patron saint of Venice, atop the two pillars.
The next morning we headed over to the Rialto Market, on the San Polo side of the Rialto Bridge. At the market, you will find fresh vegetables and fruits, spices and a very extensive Pescheria (fish market)
A few shots from the walk back from the Rialto market…
It’s a whole new Venice when you get off the beaten path and away from the crowds…
These iron bars can been seen throughout Venice – they are put in place in an effort to hold the brick and stone together. If you look closely, you will see them on almost all of the buildings and bridges.
In the afternoon we headed to the Dorsoduro sestiere which is located to the west of the Grand Canal in the south of Venice.
Just a short walk from the Giudecca Canal on the Rio di San Trovaso is the Squero di San Trovaso, the oldest and most famous gondola yard in the city. Did you know that gondolas can cost upwards of €20,000 to build? They also require regular maintenance to maximize their working life and there are only a handful of Squeri in Venice and the lagoon.
We had received a recommendation for a lovely little bar with a fantastic patio – Bar Foscarini. It sits in the shadow of the Accademia bridge on the edge of the Grand Canal and was a wonderful spot to sit and watch the world go by.
The next morning it was time to head to the ship, but not before taking another walk around!
The Venetian flag flies proudly in front of the dome of the Chiesa di San Simeone Piccolo
And more early morning deliveries…
We packed our bags and headed out; a short walk to Piazzale Roma brought us to the People Mover which is light rail that connects the Piazzale Roma to the maritime terminal. For €1.50 each we were quickly at the pier where our ship, The Celebrity Constellation, was waiting.
As we sailed out of Venice, we had a passenger…
Sailing out the Giudecca Canal past the Chiesa di Santa Maria del Rosario
Passing by the Arsenale area of the Eastern Castello sestiere, looking up the Rio de l’Arsenal.
The Tempio Votivo della Pace di Venezia (the Votive Temple of Peace) on Lido was designed following WWI as a tribute to peace. Sadly, it remains unfinished today due to the untimely passing of it’s architect and the lack of funds to complete the project. It was the last great building built in the Venetian Lagoon and the last one you see as you’re sailing out of Venice.
Venice is a wonderful city when you get away from the crowds, an interesting city with a unique way of life.
Until next time – arrivederci Venezia!