Saturday, June 5, 2010

Venice, Italy/ Piazza San Marco or St. Mark's Square

Have you ever been traveled some place and had it capture your heart?
That is how I feel about Venice. At first I avoided it because of all the "bad press" such as, "The water stinks of raw sewage." "There are too many tourists." and my favorite, "You can't get good food in Venice."
So I will state for the record, that I now have been to Venice twice.  The water didn't stink, both times we had great food but, there certainly are HORDES of tourists.

A water taxi waiting dock

Mac and I drove from Sirmione on Lake Garda to Venice.
It took one and a half hours and FYI, the road is a toll road. Have euros handy if you drive.
However; parking was no problem as they have a huge parking garage to leave the car. Here we bought our ticket for the water taxi.

This was our water taxi that took us to San Marco Square.

Our dear little traveling companion Jaxson.
He loved the water taxi.

First stop was in Piazza San Marco or St. Mark's Square which, Napoleon once spoke of as "the most beautiful drawing room in Europe".

Here in the square you find the Basilica of San Marco which is one of Europe's
finast examples of Byzantine architecture.  When Mark Twain saw the Basilica he proclaimed that "it looks like a vast warty bug taking a meditative walk."
We had toured this church on our last visit and Mac and I agree that it was well worth the long wait to go inside and see the Basilica.

The square also boasts the 323 foot tall Campanile (Bell tower)
which can be climbed for a view over Saint Marks Square.

Vendors sell  bird food and people enjoy feeding the pigeons in the square.

Since we had done all the touring of buildings before, we headed to our favorite place on the square for some music and refreshment.
If you'd like to hear the music ( Mac videoed a bit of Venice for you) go to Facebook and look for the page Cultural and Culinary Adventures.

Here in the halls of  the Procuratie Nuove

you find Caffè Florian. This place opened in 1720 and is one of my favorite haunts.
Do check out the history and recipes on their website.

We chose to sit outside the cafe to hear the live music.
Here we are attended by white-coated waiters

and served refreshment literally on a silver platter.
I sat back and imagined all the people who had had walked these halls and frequented Florian.
We know that Casanova, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron and Stravinsky were found on these premises.
The music, the wine, the complete romance of this place in the square always takes my breath away.
Don't forget to people watch because you sometimes see a beautiful moment that makes your heart smile.

Like this moment!
As the musicians played La Cumparista
this couple strolling by decided to Tango.
One of those heart-stopping "AHHH" moments.

Mac gives Piazza San Marco THREE thumbs up.
Tomorrow we'll blog on gondolas and food in Venice.

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