Archive for the ‘Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo’ Tag

Venice – Dorsoduro and final wanderings   14 comments

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On our last day we made a plan to head for one of the districts we hadn’t been to, the Dorsoduro on the SW side of the city.

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The plan was to walk a different way to Piazza San Marco, take a boat along the Grand Canal to the Station and then wander into Dorsoduro from there and grab some lunch

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We found some new streets, churches and canals

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And some old favourites like the Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo

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We tried hard, really hard to come out on the waterfront down from Piazza San Marco. Despite best efforts (and some new and lovely vistas) we failed

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We turned a corner crossed a bridge and there was the Bridge of Sighs and we entered the Piazza from the direction we always did

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Our old friends the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore

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And the Palazzo Ducale and Campanile Bell Tower

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The boat ride along the Grand Canal (in the previous post) was great but too crowded so we hopped off at the Rialto and walked from there. The first few hundred yards were rammed with people as its on the main drag to the station. As always one turn away from that street and we were in uncrowded piazzas and pretty streets

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The walking was as wonderful as ever

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We came out on the Fondamenta Rezzonico and the Campo San Barnaba. It was wonderful. Quiet but with an air of a more “real” neighbourhood. When I was looking for an apartment I found one overlooking this canal. The area is a bit less handy for getting about and the apartment didn’t have a balcony but I could happily have stayed here

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Time for another excellent pasta lunch (I think it was the Dallo Zio). I decided to try the local drink an Aperol Spritz (Prosecco, Campari and sparkling water – very nice)

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The restaurant is on the Campo Santo Margherita, busy with students in term time but wonderfully quiet in summer

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A view back towards the Campo San Barnaba and its church

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The area narrows to a point between the Grand Canal and the southern waterfront the Fondamente Zaterre. It’s a fabulous stroll. A broad walkway facing across the water to the island of Guidecca, backed by villas, restaurants and churches. It was my favourite walk in Venice

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Lots of side canals leading back into the heart of Dorsoduro

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Fine views across the lagoon to Guidecca and the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore

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As the headland narrows you can glimpse the Grand Canal on the other side

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The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute sits at the end. On our way through we passed a group of buskers. I say buskers but they were playing classical string music and they were note perfect, just superb. We sat for for a few minutes on the steps listening to them play. It was wonderful

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There was a gallery with a display of David Hockney sculptures right on the tip of the promontory. This sculpture was outside but I’m not sure if its one of his. It was rather good if a little weird

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We needed a rest and sat down on the banks of the canal and paddled our feet in the water. When I first visited Venice as a teenager one of the abiding memories was the smell and rather unhealthy look of the water (and the pigeons that were everywhere). There is no way I would have put my feet in the water. They must have made some strenuous efforts because even in the height of summer there was no smell and the water looked clean and healthy barring an inevitable few items of rubbish. It felt totally natural to have a paddle. We sat here for a few minutes enjoying the shade and the cool water while looking across the canal to the Piazza San Marco. The hour we spent walking along the water front, listening to music and sitting by the water were one of my favourite memories not only of Venice but of the whole holiday

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It was a pretty damn fine day, finished off with another evening stroll around San Marco and out to the Pont dell’Accademia and Rialto Bridges for a last long lingering look at this amazing city

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One last meal on the terrace and the next morning we had to pack and head of for our next city. We had a few hours to kill the next morning before our train. We chilled out in a shady square before heading to the station

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A couple of photos from the Ponte degli Scalzi outside the station

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The train station itself

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And a last lingering look at the Chiesa di San Simeone Piccolo from the station steps before we bid our farewell

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I changed my mind about which was my favourite city all throughout the trip and again now I’m writing up the blog posts. In revisiting Venice and especially this last post I’m starting to think again that there is just something extra special here. No doubt I’ll change my opinion again but for now at least its back at the top of the charts

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Venice – Piazza San Marco and around   10 comments

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Piazza San Marco is the heart of Venice and contains three of its most treasured and well-known sites. The Basilica di San Marco, Palazzo Ducale and the Campanile Bell Tower.

Before I take you down there for a look around a few photos from our neighbourhood in Venice. A sunrise view from the waterfront a hundred yards from the front door

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The street where we lived

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The view from the balcony

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And over the rooftops to the massive Basilica dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo on the left

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Our first day in Venice was very much a Piazza San Marco day. We spent the morning on a tour of the Palazzo Ducale (on the left here). More on that in the next post

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And this is the magnificent Basilica di San Marco. It’s a stunningly ornate and beautiful work and one of Venice’s treasured buildings.

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It’s free to visit and we paid a couple of Euros each to skip the line. You aren’t supposed to take photos so we dutifully didn’t although everyone else was. Trust me when I say its astonishing inside. A picture or two from the Interweb to give you a feel

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The amazing golden look is created by using gold leaf on thousands of tiny mosaic tiles behind a layer of fired glass. This creates the shimmering effect. It’s absolutely extraordinary and even though it only takes 10-15 mins to walk around its worth a few Euros to beat the queue or just to wait in it

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In between our visit to the Palazzo Ducale and the Basilica we returned home for lunch. We took a circuitous route to take in some typical Venetian streets, canals and squares

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It’s the middle part of the day and this image proves that you don’t have to wander far or try to hard in Venice to lose the crowds. Alas I have no idea which lovely square this was

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A leisurely lunch on the patio was always welcome and enjoyable

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We went back for our Basilica visit and to climb the Campanile Bell Tower which again I’ll cover in a future post

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This is still peak time and you can tell that even though there are loads of people the square is big enough to cope without feeling too oppressive (it’s the streets leading to it from the Rialto that are really crowded). The square is surrounded by up-market coffee houses with orchestras playing music. I was tempted to sit down and enjoy a break till I saw how much they wanted for a beer.

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We decided to wait for our time slot to climb the tower by the waterfront near the gondolas. No beer or music but it was free

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We went back to the square many times such was its draw. Early evening was perfect as the crowds thinned and the sun bathed the buildings in golden light that seemed appropriate somehow

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On our first evening visit we arrived a bit late and the Basilica was half in shadow although it still looked inspiring

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Again we took in the view from the waterfront. I think this view across to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore and its church was my favourite in Venice

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Closely followed by the view from the same spot to the eye-catching Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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I paid a visit early one morning on a very long walk and boat ride to pick up the breakfast pastries. It was quite startling to see it with no one there

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The Torre dell’Orologio with its mechanical men that chime the bell

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This photo shows really well just how quiet it was

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I enjoyed this shot, standing in the shadow of the bell tower

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With the inevitable pigeon in shot

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A morning view of the Basilica

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And the Palazzo Ducale

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We came back on our last night to try to catch the light better. Still not quite early enough to avoid a shadow on the Basilica alas.

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But the light was still amazing

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The Palazzo Ducale

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And a final close up of the church of San Giorgio Maggiore

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And the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

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I was expecting to find the Piazza overcrowded and spoilt. But even with the crowds you can really appreciate its splendour and charm and I fell in love with it and its surrounds and water front views (as you can tell from the many visits and photos). Make the effort to come late or early and its even better. Only occurs to me now that we never saw it at night. I shall have to go back then

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