Venice La Serenissima
Trip Start Apr 13, 2011
19Trip End Apr 30, 2011
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mv Aegean Odyssey
Whether it is your first time or fifteenth in Venice, it is easy to get lost amid the labyrinth of bridges, footpaths and waterways, but save that pleasure for later. We had a great guide who took us this walking excursion, uncovering its treasures as he shared his tales. We travelled by boat down the beautiful Guidecca Canal to the heart of Venice, St. Mark’s Square, and disembark at the bustling Riva degli Schiavoni. The pigeons in St. Mark's square immediately bee-lined for Olga, who was screetching of fear and joy.
We walked to St. Mark’s Basilica, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, and admire its fašade mosaics and golden dome, both superbly restored to their original grandeur
We had some free time and had afwonderful lunch with Keith and Michael along the Grand Canal. Weahter was glorious and we took a short gondola ride through the side canals. Never made it to Harry'sbar for a bellini. We took a water taxi back to our ship for some packing.
We had a very unique and special evening visit to look forward to. With our guide we went to experience
Venice and St. Mark’s by night. If there is one memory to take home with you, it is the sight of St. Mark’s Basilica, the cathedral of Venice, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see this remarkable building at its very best
St. Mark's was reserved for Voyages to Antiquity guests who will be treated to a private excursion and the breathtaking sight of the famous mosaics illuminated in a spectacular light show. The church was built in 828 as a tomb for Saint Mark, whose body was spirited out of Alexandria hidden in a casket of pork, a bit of intrigue you can see memorialized in the mosaics above the church door. After a 976 fire, the church was rebuilt and served as the Doge’s private chapel. As such, it was a place of immense wealth and power that it became known as the Golden Church or Chiesa d’Oro. For example, the four Horses of St. Mark in front are replicas of the Roman sculptures inside, brought back by the Venetians after the sacking of Constantinople. These horses originally had giant rubies in their eye sockets. The interior reinforces the jewel-encrusted Byzantine effect with its galleries high above the naves, massive chandeliers and over 40,000 square feet of mosaics. Works by Tintoretto, Bellini and Mantegna – to mention a few – adorn the walls. The Treasury brims with wealth from centuries of conquest. A visit here is an unforgettable glimpse into the heights reached by La Serenissima, as The Most Serene Republic of Venice was called.
What a day and evening to never ever forget. It was truly magical.