Sunday in Venice
It’s Sunday in Venice. What’s the first thing to do? Go to church, of course! After a bit of breakfast on the apartment terrace, we head out to catch the 10:30am mass at Saint Mark’s Cathedral. We wind our way through the Venetian streets and when we get to the cathedral, we find the service has started. I also find out that my small black fabric backpack is not allowed in, even though some woman with a huge purse went through ahead of us. Fortunately, the church as a bag-check right around the corner and I take out my valuables and leave it with the guy there. Back in line, we are escorted through one end of the transept, around the back of the church, then back to the front on the other side of the transept and are seated in the second row from the front. From here, we can see the altar quite clearly, but that’s not what is catching my eye. It’s the glowing gold ceiling of the domes above. Thousands of gold and brass tiles interspersed with jewels form a mosaic that covers the entire ceiling, telling bible stories and parables. I don’t understand much of the Italian service, but I do understand the magnificence of the scenes above me. Combined with the organ and choir and everyone else in there, it is magical and spiritual.
When it’s over, Susie and I hang out a bit just to enjoy being in the center of the church, and listen while the next choir is warming up. But, for us, church is over and we have other things to do.
Amedeo said he had a surprise for us and led us to the head of the Grand Canal. To the gondolas. And here, he arranged a ride in a gondola poled by a gondolier, across the Grand Canal. Fantastic! Susie and I are beside ourselves and try to sit back and relax in the Venetian splendor. We can’t believe Amedeo did this and thank him profusely. Wow. We wove through the ferries, motorboats, other gondolas, and just about any other type of watercraft you can think of, enjoying the view of the city along the canal. I was torn between wanting to take pictures to remember this amazing experience and just sitting back and enjoying it.
A stroll through the streets and over bridges brought us to the Accedemia Bridge, one of the four that cross the Grand Canal, and right around the corner we found a very busy but not touristy (always a good sign!) restaurant and had some pasta for lunch. Next, time for some art. We stop at the huge Frari church and enjoy Titian’s Assumption, one of the largest altarpieces in Venice, and say a prayer of thanks when we pass the tomb of the artist, also located there.
After a large lunch, we are getting tired, and thinking that a stop at the supermarket is in order to pick up some antipasti ingredients and some wine to enjoy on our marvelous rooftop terrace. Amedeo goes out to check on tomorrow’s plans, in the meantime, Susie and I stretch out with a yoga session on the roof.
In Italy, everything has to be beautiful, and beautiful it is. Not content to just put out some bread, cheese, and olives, Amedeo creates a feast of antipasti and we enjoy it with our favorite Italian drink, prosecco. It’s local, from the vines that we passed through yesterday as we wound down from the Dolomiti. The sun sets.
But the day is not done! We go back into the city and wind again through the streets to enjoy the fabulous Piazza San Marco at night. A band in front of a restaurant at one end of the square draws a crowd, while a band from the other side of the square tries to compete for our ears. I wish I knew how to waltz. We walk down the waterfront, past the Bridge of Sighs, and take a peek into the Hotel Danieli, where I think I stayed on a fam trip as a travel agent 30 years ago. More sighs, then time to go back, crossing the Rialto bridge and seeing the lights reflected in the canal. Goodnight Venice!