Venice: Mass, Marathon, Murano, Gelato

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3 days in Venice
Sunday, October 22, 2017

We started our day at Mass in the Basilica di San Marco (St. Mark’s Basilica), a stunning example of Italo-Byzantine architecture. We enjoyed the beautiful gold mosaics throughout the Basilica during the sermon, since we don’t understand Italian. After Mass, we took some pictures of the interior; glad we did, because during tours to the public they don’t allow photos. The ceiling is beautiful, as is the floor. The floor is extremely uneven, and one woman almost fell as she was going to communion. We’ll post the interior shots on Facebook ~ we didn’t want to be disrespectful by bringing the camera to Mass, so we limited the pictures to our cell phones.

During Mass we could hear the cheering outside; after taking in the beauty of the Basilica we joined the throngs of people welcoming the runners who were finishing up the 10K in Piazza San Marco. We continued to see runners and walkers throughout the day, doing half or full marathons. Between the rain the night before and the high tide, the square was a little flooded. The solution? They put up planks for people to walk on. Since we had changed into our waterproof trail runners, the same kind that we wore on our Camino de Santiago, we just walked through the water. The more elevated section of the square was where the runners finished their races. I’m sure they appreciated not having to slosh through 6 inches of water to get to the finish line!

The concierge at our hotel highly recommended a “complimentary” boat trip to Murano Island where the glass is made, since the weather was still not great. Given the crowds of people in the city between 3 huge cruise ships and the marathon, we decided to take a tour of one of the Murano glass studios. A very charming man, Nicola, met us at the boat, and took us for a private tour of Linea Murano Art Glassworks (“when the sand turns into glass, and the glass becomes art”). Then he brought us up to the 2nd floor to see the beautiful glass art. Note: the 1st floor has “less expensive”, hand-made, every-day glassware (drinking and wine glasses, plates, bowls, vases, etc.). Naturally we fell in love with a few pieces on the 2nd floor. The tall blue and orange vase is the one that will be shipped in a crate to California. I loved the glass pyramid, but that was entirely outside of our budget. Mike loved the gorgeous plate, which was maybe the most expensive piece in the studio. We took pictures of the pieces that we didn’t buy, and joked that we’d make prints of the photos and hang them up.

When we got back to Venice we went on a hunt for a gelataria that was recommended: La Meda Verde. Our guide in Florence practically swooned when we told her that our last stop was in Venice. She advised us just to “get lost in the city”. And that we did! Looking for one very small place with very delicious gelato! It was well worth it! Mike had pistachio; I had cherry vanilla. As far as we can tell, people usually get more than one flavor of gelato. I tried that when I got the crème caramel and dark chocolate in Florence; I decided that I prefer just one flavor at a time. The guy who was serving the gelato was confused when I asked for 2 scoops of cherry vanilla; he was waiting to see what my next flavor would be.

We continued our walk, over to the Cruise Ship port, and when we finally meandered back to what we thought was Piazza San Marco, we realized that we were on the wrong side of the Grand Canal. Well, at least we “walked off” our gelato!

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