As we arrived at the dock and boarded the transport boat we could see Venice Proper and its neighboring islands in the distance. The amazing colorful architecture built on sand and mud that has lasted so many centuries caused for a few photo opportunities as we crossed the lake.
After checking into our hotel we hit San Marco square, just one small bridge away from our beds. There we met up with the amazing Guido (yes our guide’s name was Guido) who toured us through the 24 kt gold lined San Marco’s cathedral and the Doggia palace next door, complete with court rooms and fantastic art by Titian. Our slightly chilly class crossed the bridge of sighs and headed back to San Marco square to spread out and explore Venice on our own until Dinner.
A boat tour up the grand canal taught our class about the history of the buildings and influential families in the vast history of Venice; even about Napoleon and his influence after his 18th century takeover. Trips to the Rialto bridge and fresh seafood dinners helped us immerse ourselves in Venetian culture more than we ever expected.
After hearing a famous string mini-orchestra perform the most famous works of Antonio Vivaldi and seeing the Guggenheim contemporary art collection, it was off to the isles of Murano and Burano to learn about the famous Glass and Lace that Venice is known for crafting so well. We saw demonstrations on how to make both and were even able to find a good gift or two to take home to loved ones.
Despite the infamous “Acqua Alta” or high water (slight flooding) that greeted us on the morning of our departure, we found our way back onto the mainland and back on the bus for our long trip back to Rome, our final Italian destination!