We woke to an early start today in order to beat the crowds at the Doge palace. After a scrumptious breakfast overlooking the Venice lagoon we headed off to the palace which is pretty much next door to our hotel.
The palace, which was the home of the Doga (Duke), contains numerous magnificent rooms displaying amazing frescoes, stone carvings and artwork. As well as the Doga’s private quarters, the palace was also used for council purposes. A huge room where the council met, (stated to be the largest in the world), has beautiful wooden carvings in the ceiling and massive paintings on the walls. This palace certainly did things on a big scale!
The palace also conducted judicial affairs with magistrates dealing with a variety of crimes. Venice, being a republic, had its own laws. Below the court rooms, via the famous Bridge of Sighs, was the prison. The Bridge of Sighs was named as such because when the prisoners were lead from the court, they got one last glimpse of the outside world through a small window on the bridge. This sight, they say, induced great sighs from the condemned. There is also an armoury museum in the palace displaying antique weapons, armour and as well as other things, a rather painful looking chastity belt. Chafing is a word that comes to mind!
After the palace we went into St Mark’s Basilica. Now pretty experienced with Italian churches, we needed something special to wow us. This Basilica did not disappoint. The entire interior is covered with gold mosaics. The walls, ceilings and pillars all glisten as you wander around this magnificent church. It’s a shame there are so many tourists as churches need peace and tranquility, but still well worth visiting.
Next on the agenda was the Correr museum, located at the other end of St Mark’s square. Ancient paintings and statues filled all the beautifully decorated rooms. “Why do all the male statues have their willies removed?” we wondered! Feeling a little tired, we sat down on the edge of the St Mark’s square for a breather. Mistake! The ‘square police’ told us that we weren’t allowed to sit in the square and promptly moved us and other visitors on. Another blip on the square I’m afraid.
We completed the day’s excursion with a long walk to Santa Maria Salute church. It’s just on the other side of the lagoon from our hotel, but took forever to get to as there is no direct route on foot. It has amazing domes on outside but unfortunately was a bit disappointing on the inside.