Doge’s Palace and Lido

Our plan today was to get to St. Mark’s Square in the morning and see if we might be able to see the interior of either St. Mark’s Basilica or the Doge’s Palace. When we arrived, we were surprised to find that the square was already busy. However, after having used the Rick Steve’s audio guide for the square on the previous day, we already were aware that tickets for the Doge’s Palace could be purchased at the museum in the far corner of the square where there were much shorter lines. Where we purchased the ticket, there was another museum which we decided to tour for awhile before going to the Palace. It had some interesting architecture and displays, but we didn’t want to be in museums all day. So, we left after approximately 2 hours. We were going to have a snack in the museum cafeteria, but the woman providing service seemed to totally ignore us, so we left to find food elsewhere. Shawn wanted to try a cafe in the square. I was feeling defiant about paying inflated prices, so I grabbed a sandwich in a bread roll like a calazone and shared a little of it with Shawn. Then we went to the Doge’s Palace.

The line for ticket holders was fast in comparison to the line for people waiting to purchase tickets. Unfortunately, the line we went it didn’t include the opportunity to get the audio tour equipment. So we just used the information posters in each room to get a description of the room’s purpose and artwork. It was okay, but at times there was a crowd around the posters which made reading the information more challenging and the rooms were a little dark which also meant that it took a little more effort to read.

The Doge was the chief magistrate for the city of Venice and the Palace was the living quarters for the Doge’s family, the meeting rooms for the Doge’s council and the government and the place for legal proceedings, as well as the prison. It had been built and expanded over time like the palace at Hampton Court. And like Windsor Castle, it had been exposed to fire (although hundreds of years earlier). The palace had many rooms; I last noticed the room count at 36. There were astoundingly high ceilings, ornately carved fireplaces, and tremendous numbers of frescos and paintings. The eye could not take in all the sights. It could make you numb, like a kid who ate too much candy and suffered an overdose of sweet. I think by the 30th room, it all became a blur. We merely scanned the last rooms and then did a quick pass of the prison cells. I stopped by the gift shop to purchase a few postcards since we were not allowed take photos. Then we agreed it was time to enjoy the outdoors and more of the beautiful sunny day.

We walked to one of the vaparetto stations and took a trip over to the island of Lido. It is 12 km long, but only 1/2 km wide. We found a few cafes near the town site and decided to sit and have a late lunch. Shawn got a sandwich and I ordered a caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella) and we shared.  Afterward, we got a couple of cones with gelato and we walked to the east across the island. At the other side of the island, we walked north along the beach on the shore of the Adriatic Sea. It was very warm and sunny. When we had reached a series of  beach cabanas, we found a gate back to the street and walked south again and the back to the town. After walking in the sun, we were ready for a cold drink and we found a vendor and bought some diet Cokes. We hopped on the next vaporetto back to Venice.

At the hotel, we put up our feet and had a rest for awhile. We didn’t feel like we needed a big meal, so we went to a nearby snack bar and shared a pizza and a pastry with coffee. Then, back at the hotel, it was time to do our packing.

We had done and seen a lot on this vacation. It was a great first trip to Europe and I wouldn’t turn down another chance to visit more countries.

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