Our drive from Ascoli Piceno was a long one. We decided to stick with highways (it’s about 4 hours) and head through Bologna instead of going straight up the coast. There was a huge accident just outside of Bologna which made the trip about 30 minutes longer. Since Brett and Teri would be flying out of Venice, we decided to park the car in long term parking (8.50 a day) at the airport and take the water bus over to Venice (27Euro RT). The boat ride is about 30 minutes and the dock is adjacent to our hotel. How convenient! Brett and Teri are long time Marriott reward peeps and were able to use reward points to score us the 5 star Boscolo Hotel on the North side of the island. Guide books often state that Venice is now a sort of Disney Land, void of permanent residents, existing only for tourists. This might be true if you stick to the windy grand canal lined with beautiful old hotels and the streets and canals just adjacent to the grand canal. But in truth, there are many permanent residents. Our hotel was tucked away in a teeming residential area with kids, folks going to work, schools and local churches. Restaurants were much cheaper and more locally oriented than down in the touristy area of say, St Mark’s square. Here is a pic from our hotel window of the Madonna dell’Orto church:
When we needed to get around quickly, we went by boat. These were provided by the hotel and were beautiful pristine wooden boats:
The pic above is a pic of the boat pulling away from the small island where the Murano glass factory is located. We took the boat over, toured the factory and ogled at all of the beautiful glass pieces that they produce. One of the most fun things we did was take a boat ride on the grand canal. The ugly people mover boats are best utilized for trips up and down the windy grand canal. And grand it is:
Open water around the island is a beautiful thing. Our hotel was situated on the edge of the island and we walked out through the gardens with wine and beer and sat on the dock late in the afternoon:
Musically, I wanted to hear a concert and visit St Mark’s Basilica in St Mark’s square. Here is a pic of us on the approach. You see the Duomo (palace) in this pic. St. Mark’s is adjacent to it:
Gabrieli (1600) was the church musician at St. Mark’s Cathedral. Up until 1600, brass were considered Haute instruments; meaning “outdoor” instruments. He decided that brass were too glorious (or something) to be relegated to the out-of-doors and employed players to perform in 2 split choirs inside the church (blasphemy!). (Isn’t it interesting that the Mormons hang on to a 400 year old and older tradition of not allowing brass in there churches.) The entry is free to both the duomo (saw this in 2010) and the church. As such, the wait can be an hour or more. We took advantage of a short line (20 minutes) and went in. No pics allowed but this was one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been in. The frescos and gold leaf through out were stunning (Again, if religious institutions and gov’ts put this kind of money into taking care of the people, how different the world might be…..) Here is a pic of the outside:
Musically, we happened upon a small string orchestra that performs all over Europe. We were excited to hear that they would be concertizing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at San Vidal church just off of the grand canal. Of course we would be attending. Tix were 28Euro and the concert sold out on the day of the concert. It was dark when we arrived so no pix of the exterior. Here is the program poster and interior of the church. The ensemble was outstanding:
And the stage:
The tempi were quick and the soloists virtuostic. Four Seasons is Teri’s favorite classical piece so she was excited to hear it. It was an impressive evening and one of the better churches, acoustically, in which to listen to live music.
We finish off Venice with one last shot of the Utah family in one of those cool wooden boats:
We are off to Lido di Jesolo, a beach town just north and around the curve from Venice. We would like to extend summer for a few days before heading into Germany. I blog to you from our flat one block from the beach. He is a parting shot of the Adriatic Sea.