Sunday, September 12, 2010

Venice with Dennis

Venice!! Doge's Palace on the Right.

St. Marks Square, Venice


Grand Canal, Venice

Grand Canal, Venice

Grand Canal, Venice

Venice Taxi, I Fell in Love With These Boats. The Drivers: Impeccably Dressed Italian Men

Gondola Driver, They All Wore Black and White Stripped Shirts

Italian Goodies

Market Day in Venice

Market Day in Venice

Sharply Dressed Italian Man, One of Many

The Restaurant Where We Had the Most Amazing Tortellini! To Die For!

Beautiful Venice, So Colourful

Dennis Throughly Enjoying A Fine Glass of Valpolicella and a Cigar

Me Rocking the New Shades

Part of Beautiful Bronze Monument

San Marco, Venice

The Horses of San Marco, Venice

Grand Canal, Venice

Enjoying a little Concerto in St. Marks Square

Venice, Night Snaps

Venice, Night Snaps

Restaurant Where we had Dinner with Dennis's Parents

Doge's Palace, Courtyard View

Entrance to the Interior of the Palace

Doge's Palace, Ornamental Bronze Well-Head, Courtyard

Doge's Palace, The Golden Staircase

Doge's Palace, The Golden Staircase, Detail

Best Pizza Ever!

Spent the most amazing 4 days in Venice at the beginning of September with the love of my life. Dennis's parents were leaving on a cruise from this wonderful floating city so we thought it was a great excuse to head down to see them off on their trip and to check out one of the most romantic cities I've ever been too.

We went to a fabulous little restaurant with them not too far from our hotel the first night we all arrived. It was a beautiful restaurant with delicious food. Both Dennis's parents ordered spaghetti while Dennis indulged in savoury lamb chops and some fabulous ravioli. We all shared a plate of cold meats to start. I ordered roasted bass with sundried tomoatoes and olives. They brought the entire fish out for me to see it before they cooked it, I guess to make sure it was to my liking. Talk about fresh! Then they roasted the whole thing and brought it back out to show me, it was still completely intacked, head, eyes, tail, scales and fins. Our waiter asked me if he could fillet it for me and I said absolutely! He did an amazing job because I don't remember coming across many bones, perhaps the two bottles of Chianti we had at dinner had somethign to do with that. It was fantastic. We topped the night off with a wander through St. Marks square and some gelato!

We did so much walking during our stay, through galleries, churches and palaces. Saint Mark's Square was certainly the most crowded and congested place in the city, loaded with visitors and tourists from all over the world. All of the major monuments had line ups had gigantic line-ups. However, once you ventured away from the very popular area there were far less crowds and people. It was fairly busy, lots of tourists, when we were there. The Venice film festival was also going on at the same time we were there, so that may have accounted for some of the people.

We braved the line-up for the Doge's Palace (Palazzo Ducale), which was worth the wait and certainly one of the highlights of the trip. It was spectacular. Opulence like you've never seen it before, inside and out. The Doge's Palace, was the seat of the government of Venice for centuries. As well as being the home of the Doge (the elected ruler of Venice) it was the venue for its law courts, its civil administration, its bureaucracy and its city jail.

The Doge sat on numerous of the committees and thus played a huge role in steering policy; the principle of rule for life was an attempt to establish stability, a mature check on the whims of temporarily elected officials … not unlike Britain’s House of Lords. But the Venetians were wary of the corruptions of lifetime rule and established a similarly complex system of checks on the Doge. All his mail was read first by the censor; all foreign dignitaries were received in committee rather than by the Doge alone.

Transgressions were taken seriously. The palace’s most impressive room, the Sala del Maggior Consiglio (the Hall of the Great Council), has a frieze of paintings of the first 76 doges … with the exception of Marino Faliero (or Marin Falier). The 55th doge was appointed on 11 September 1354 and by 1355 was plotting a coup, after which he would declare himself prince. Perversely this was fired by a hatred for the nobility, and more plausibly by his senility (he was already in his seventies). The hapless Falier pleaded guilty, was beheaded, mutilated and condemned to Damnatio Memoriae, whereby all traces of a person would be expunged from history or memory. His place on the wall of paintings is empty, covered by a black veil.

My favourite part of the whole trip was just being able to wander through all the little streets and admire the shops filled from floor to ceiling with venetian glass, costumes and masks. During our meandering we always found time to stop for a slice of the most delicious pizza and a glass of wine. All the restaurants we went to and food we tried were all amazing, so simple but oh so good. Just a side note, the clothing stores in Venice are absolutely amazing!!!!!

We had thought about taking a gondola ride on our last day but it was 100 euros for a 40 minute ride. We figured we didn't need a gondola ride that badly. We found that the best and cheapest way to get around was to buy a 3 day pass for the vaporetto, which is basically like a floating subway and gives you unlimited riding capabilities up and down the Grand Canal and to the nearby islands, such as Murano where we ferried over to one afternoon – world famous for their glasswork.

Dennis decided to celebrate my birthday a little early this year, since he wasn't going to be here for the actual day. He spoiled me rotten – the biggest badest pair of Chopard sunglasses and the most beautiful pair of black Prada riding boots. Yes, they are the same one's I wrote about earlier in my blog. They are amazing. And they match the sunglasses! Dennis, my darling, I love you!

We had such a fantastic trip. I had been told many times that it stinks like sewer, this is not the case!!! Venice is a truely beautiful, romantic, and colourful place – the boats, buildings, people, food and gondolas! A 'must see' destination.