Thursday, March 15, 2018

Venice 2017: The Piazza San Marco

Little by little, I'm coming back to parts of the 2017 Venice trip that have hung in the archives for way too long.  You could say, once again, that this is being resurrected for Astrid and me, lest we forget it!

Of course, you hardly think of Venice without thinking of its most famous square, San Marco, with its St. Mark's Basilica and Campanile.

Here's one of the best views I've found.
[Generali Group, Wiki]

 With this diagram, you can give names to the structures.
[Ed Stephan, Wiki]

Our very first day in Venice, 24 March 2017, we hopped on a vaporetto waterbus up and down the Grand Canal and made a stop at St. Mark's Square on that sunny day.  It was all about getting the lay of the land.

As we approached the square, it was the Campanile bell tower that first appeared.  
It's one of Venice's most famous landmarks.

And because it was sunny, we had our best view of St. Mark's Basilica...her facade.
That's St. Mark, the patron saint of Venice, the St. Mark Lion and the Horses of St. Mark.
But we were not there that day for the basilica.  That came later....

This was the day to get just a smattering of everything by climbing the Campanile bell tower.

 Whenever there's a chance to get a different perspective, it pays!

I don't remember what it cost to take the lift to the top, but it was worth every cent.
At 323 ft. tall, you can see for riles and riles amound.

   In fact, this is what I showed on Facebook after that day.

There are two columns at the waterfront:  St. Mark's Lion and St. Theodore.
How fun to zoom in on them with my magic 1200 mm camera.
St. Theodore was the first patron saint of Venice before St. Mark replaced him in 828.

The Palazzo Ducale, or the Doge's Palace, from 1340, opened as a museum in 1923.
It, too, sits on the waterfront.

 Last but not least of the square's landmarks is St. Mark's Clocktower, from the 15th century.
Two Moorish men strike the hour throughout the day and night.
The clock face itself is huge (top-right), restored in 2006.
And see how close it it to the basilica (bottom-left)?

Most of that above was on our first day.  Two days later we went back when it was rainy.
See how the Campanile bell tower sits alone on its own (right).

How many times have we said nothing rains on our parade!

That was the day we visited inside the basilica, when rain didn't matter, of course.

 Actually, Astrid didn't go inside with me because of some backpack issues (long story).
Not to worry because we were herded through like cattle and were told NOT to take photos.
I don't speak Italian, of course, so slap my hands!
Needless to say, I was not impressed till later when I could see my pics on the big screen.
Even then, my total impression of the place was "too dark and gloomy."
And we weren't even there during peak season, with 10x more tourists!

 It was in the hallway of the side entrance that I most enjoyed the basilica.
It was delightfully lighter.

 Upon exiting, I looked up!

Now, go to our 6th day in Venice when we made our night trip on the Grand Canal and stopped again at St. Mark's Square.

Sun, rain or nighttime, it's always magical.
Lucky for us, there were no crowds!

The Doge's Palace was all lit up.

As were the Moorish men atop the clock tower.

A handful of people were dining out on the square (March 29).
There was even a mini-orchestra playing.

But the colonnades along the square were all but empty.
Were we lucky or what!

As we left to return home, we were short of eyes...and thankful.

We missed hundreds of things to do/see at the square, we know.
We didn't visit the museums or back corners of the basilica, etc.
But it was just enough for us.  We saw what we went to see.


  1. So incredible. And I am jealous jealous jealous! I really hope I can get to Venice before I die.... and before it sinks too far.

    1. I, too, hope you can get there one day, Ruth! Start saving your nickels and dimes and just do it. Did I tell you that early next year, after Astrid is finished with her unemployment obligations (end of February), we plan to drive from Gorinchem all the way south to Ravello and Mt. Vesuvius, stopping everywhere we want to stop all along the way. Talk about a drive of a lifetime!

  2. You always see so much detail, Ginnie! Beautiful!

    1. Most kind of you, Marie. We do see a lot and I try to capture what I see. But I have a feeling I really miss more than I see!

  3. I love that square! Thanks for taking me back and also showing me things I didn't even see!!

    1. You're welcome, of course, Robin. I have a feeling we really missed more than what we saw, but we're at that age when we know we can't see everything...and have the sense to know when it's enough. HA!

  4. this was an astoundingly beautiful set of collages... but the weird thing is: when i saw that picture of the square with people walking amongst the pigeons, i was taken somewhere in my memory... to a movie no doubt... i love those european scenes... i think the movie was 'a room with a view', which i love.. thanks for the trip!

    1. Most kind of you, Elaine. And yes, I assume you've seen such a scene in one of the myriad movies you watch. HA!

  5. That first day was amazing and the things we did promised to be a good vacation to be. There is so much to see on that rather small surface Venice has. It is all packed together. It is great to have the memory refreshed with what we saw. Thank you, Ginnie. IHVJ

    1. We really did see so much! Sometimes I sit with my mouth wide open just thinking about it all. I'm so glad we got to share it with each other!

  6. Excellent post. I remember Venice well, but how did you get the wonderful aerials??? When we were there pictures in St, Mark’s was strictly forbidden. I was traveling with a video camera then, and I edited a movie from the video after the trip, but the stuff in St. Mark’s was useless. Yes, I know about that business of not letting pictures slip behind and get forgotten.

    1. We took the lift in the the Campanile bell tower our first day, Ted, to get the pay of the land. It was totally worth whatever the cost was. With iPhone use nowadays, I do NOT feel guilt when I use my camera surreptitiously. But I'm sure I was yelled at more than once...and acted so innocent! :)

  7. You just gave me a little pinch in my heart. I really long to go back to Venice!

    1. A "little pinch" is sometimes all it takes, Maria, right? :)