Monday, November 19, 2012

Venizia again

Couldn't pass up a chance  for a quick three days back in Venice before we head back to the thrice-driven beds of down of Pasadena.  Aside from a few unfortunate encounters with the Venetian criminal element (viz, the Resturante La Rivera) it was very satisfying, as we managed to cover all the bases of the Venetian Triple Crown: St. Mark's Basilica, the Palazzo Ducale and, one more time, L'Accademia.
Finally managed to get a decent picture of the marvellous ceiling of the first room of the first floor in the Accademia, a nice counterpoint to the rather severe pre-Renaissance iconography that much of this room contains.
Also a couple of rooms and centuries up,  one of mia mogile's favorites, which I admit is pretty cool, Tinteretto's St. Mark flying in to rescue a slave, right over the camera, so to speak.

St. Mark's square and the Basilica were a lot more enjoyable this time around (a somewhat chilly but sunny November day).  Here it is looking a lot like Luna Park,

 and we made the rather arduous climb up to the loggia and the place where the four horses stolen from Constantinople (and, nearby, outside, their replicas) are displayed.

As for the Basilica, it seemed to me, what with all the gold mosaics laid on everywhere, to be more an adjuct to the Palazzo Ducale treasury than a place of worship.  But that's just me--if you like it, go for it.

Despite its charming facade, I found the Palazzo Ducal a grim and intimidating place -- more suitable for the headquarters of some sixteenth century secret police. Here's your faithful reporter strugging up the golden staircase just as the foreign visitors did, hoping for a word with the Duke.

The staircase itself, despite its obvious purpose, is rather nice, looking, as it does, more like a wedding cake decoration than an instrument of intimidation.  So at least the poor sods had something interesting to look at on the way up.

Appropriately, the tickets included a tour of the place's prisons where Casanova was resident before he managed the only reported escape. Also part of the legend, he fled only as far as the nearby Cafe Florian (see earlier post) to enjoy a coffee before heading for the border. Way to go, Casanova.

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