One day in Venice
So expecting the worst, we got on the Frecciabianca to Venice – a journey of 2 1/2 hours even on a high speed train. An hour out of Milano we suddenly came upon a picturesque village/town on a beautiful bluer than blue lake- Desanzano which we realised long after it had passed was actually one of the towns on Lake Como. This beautiful sight lifted our spirits and we soon began to notice that the sky got brighter and that the sun was coming out.
The weather changed miraculously after a brief shower at Venice during which time we grabbed a spot of lunch before heading out to the vaperetto for the obligatory canal cruise. One of Anna Shetty’s friends had told us that we should get out of the station and go to the glass bridge from which we could board the boat. Alas, we searched high and low for the glass bridge till we realised that what she meant was a jetty where the boats docked.
As usual there were long lines in front of the ticket office and with every passenger taking his time to decide between the 28 Euro conducted tour or the 20 Euro day pass, moved slowly. But the line did move and we managed to take one boat which was going to San Marco or the famous St. Mark’s Square. Unfortunately we got off at the Rialto and walked around for a bit before we realised that this was not a wise choice as the Realto bridge was choc a bloc full
of people and it would have been foolish to attempt scaling it with a baby in a pram. So we got back on the boat and went to San Marco.
Along the way we passed some marvellous buildings, some teetering dangerously and looking terribly rundown and decrepit while others which were restored reflected the famed beauty of this city. San Marco was all that it promised and more. While we didn’t have time to visit the Basilica, we took the lift up the bell tower to savour the gorgeous view of the city sprawling beneath us and the snow capped Dolomites in the distance.
The Square itself was filled with people enjoying themselves in the unexpected afternoon sunshine. A small band playing at one of the cafes added to the charm of this gorgeous morning as we marvelled at the mosaic decorations on top of the domed arches that we could see from the outside of the church.
Unfortunately we didn’t really have time to see all the details of the square and quickly made a side trip to the alleys and streets behind to catch a glimpse of the shops selling masks and Murano glasswares.
Venice is famous for its masks which were worn during the masked balls before Lent and you can get hundreds and thousands of masks for prices ranging from 10 Euros to 100 or more. Buying a mask can be quite difficult in the sense that one can’t be too sure of how genuine they are, but I took the chance and bought two which I hope are authentic.
The Glasswares of Murano are simply stunning and once again you get a wide range to choose from – the cheap and the expensive. Here again you have to go by your gut feeling but generally speaking, you can spot an expensive and exclusive piece if you look carefully.
Since time was of the essence, we took a boat ride to another island across San Marco to see the two Tinterettos in the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore.
While walking to the vaperetto stop we had to cross several bridges and we realised that there is a ramp which made it easy to take the baby across in the pram…So perhaps we could have made it across the most famous bridge at the Rialto. On the way back to the Railway station we took a long route where we passed ocean liners with happy passengers sunning themselves on their balconies and waving to all of us.
As the vaperetto approached the station we went under a new bridge made of steel and painted white – beautiful and modern but looking strangely like the spinal cord of a dinosaur. Truly in this magical city, there’s still lots to see and I will have to make another trip to see the sights I missed.