Day 15 - 7/24/13 - Venice

The Bridge of Sighs was the last view of Venice that convicts saw before their imprisonment. Oh so tranquil (read with heavy sarcasm).

Getting to Venice

Our train journey from Mestre to San Lucia, the nearest town to Venice with a train station, wasn’t covered by the Eurail Pass. We stayed at the Mestre, Giovannani hotel, which, unfortunately, was quite disappointing. However, we needed a place to leave our luggage before we took the final leg of our journey to San Lucia via the Vapretto, a water bus service. This service conveniently dropped us off right at the edge of the Grand Canal.

At the hotel, we prepared our breakfast, which consisted of 10 eggs per room. The eggs were stored at room temperature and had hard shells with very orange yolks.

After breakfast, we took the train to St Lucia. From there, we boarded the Vapretto, which took us under the Rialto Bridge and dropped us off at Piazza San Marco.

Venice was not flooded! We have been here before when there was 2-3" of water covering the grounds of St Mark’s Square. Apparently, the Experimental Electromechanical Module (MOSE) project is working.

The previous photo (cropped) is such a nice photo, we have a quiet and tranquil Venice to ourselves. The reality is Venice is slammed in July, with all of the prime locations full of pandemonium. Our recommendation is to hit the high points in off-hours if you can.

There are approximately 400 gondolas in Venice today. This is a significant decrease from their heyday when there were around 10,000 gondolas in the city. Despite the reduced number, gondolas remain a significant symbol of Venice and a popular attraction for tourists.

The Rialto Bridge, connecting the districts of San Marco and San Polo, was a pontoon bridge in 1173. The development and importance of the Rialto market on the eastern bank increased traffic on the floating bridge, so it was replaced in 1255 by a wooden bridge.

The bridge had two ramps meeting at a movable central section, that could be raised to allow the passage of tall ships. The bridge was partly burnt in the revolt of 1310 and in 1444 it collapsed under the weight of a crowd rushing to see the marriage of the Marquis of Ferrara.

The present stone bridge, a single span was completed in 1591. “The Experts” of the day predicted the bridge would fail, but here we are, 432 years later, it is still standing.

The classic mahogany limousines of Venice are known to support Detroit V8 or Lamborghini V12 engines.

Not this one, but some of the new water taxis are powered by eco-friendly electric engines.

Saint Theodore with a dragon on top of a column at the Piazza San Marco in Venice.

Could it be a copy of the famous Italian Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci?

Ate dinner at an outside cafe under an awning (rain) and backed the tables up.

A second use of the Vapretto as we say Chao to Venice.

Sunset colors hitting the Santa Maria della Salute.

Our trip tomorrow from Venice to Florence is similar in scale to a trip from Jacksonville Florida to Orlando Florida. Similarly, travel from Florence to the heel of the boot at 11 hours is similar to the travel time from Orlando to Key West. See you in Florence!

The train from Mestre to San Lucia (the closest town outside of Venice with a train station) was not covered by the Eurail Pass and the hotel in Mestre we ended up using was awful! But we needed to ditch our luggage before the final leg to San Lucia with deposited us right on the edge of the grand canal.

I remembered from previous trips to Venice that we needed to take the (free) Vapretto (water bus) from there past the Rialto Bridge to St. Marks Piazza. We walked and walked finally enjoying sunset and dinner at outdoor cafe. My favorite drink of Venice is a Bellini which is like a champagne mimosa, but made with peach nectar.