Venice: Stores, Basilica, Gondolas

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Italy
3 days in Venice
Monday, October 23, 2017

Our last full day in Venice, last day in Italy, last day in Europe… we got up early to walk around the city before the crowds arrived. Luckily the stores were all closed, or we may have been tempted to make additional contributions to Italy’s economy. We booked a guided tour to see some of the “hidden gems” of the city, as well as to get some additional information on the Basilica. Our guide walked away from us when we wanted to take a few shots of the inside of the Basilica (because photos are not allowed). The “Pala d’Oro”, or “Golden Cloth” is not usually displayed except for special days (Easter, Christmas, the Feast day of St. Mark). You have to walk behind the wood panels that face the congregation to see the ornate panels made of gold and silver, and embellished with jewels. There are 60 pounds of gold on the ceilings!

We walked through small alleys to avoid some of the crowds, saw a few more churches and Cathedrals, an exterior staircase that is known as the Caterpillar Staircase, found another gelato place…. Learned that there are large drainage spots throughout the Piazza San Marco to help drain the water. I don’t think they work very well. We also went under and onto the Rialto Bridge, and took pictures of the Bridge of Sighs. And we finally went on a gondola ride. Our gondolier, Alberto, was a terrific guide!

Then we went to the “original” Harry’s Bar, very close to our hotel. I had the famous Bellini before going back to start packing for our journey home. We were too tired to do the museums in this history-filled city. Walking was fun when we got out of the touristy sections, or early in the morning. I think that next time we’d start in Venice and end in Positano, regardless of which stops we make in between.

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