So today we spend the day in San Marco. Climb the Campanile (bell tower) alone as Mum suffers from vertigo and doesn’t want to be so high up. It turns out we’re not allowed to climb the hundreds of steps and instead go up and down in a lift. Ah well.
Here is the campanile:
Here is one of the bells:
And the views from the top:
Here, Galileo demonstrated his telescope to Doge Leonardo Dona in 1609 and there is a plaque to commemorate this:
Then we go to the Doge’s Palace. Here it is:
The facade dates from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and is pink Verona marble on lace-like Istrian stone arcades, with a portico supported below by columns.
We enter via Sansovino’s lavish staircase, the Scala d’Oro built between 1554 and 1558. The arched ceiling is embellished with gilded stucco by Alessandro Vittoria:
We see many rooms where the Council of Ten and other officials met, all lavishly decorated. This is by Veronese:
This, by Veronese, celebrates the defeat of the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on 7th October 1571:
This is The Rape Of Europa by Veronese:
We see some fantastic weapons in the Armoury: there’s a wonderful collection. Swords:
Maces and swords:
A suit of armour for a child:
We seem to spend ages in the prison under the palace. Here’s a prison cell:
Then on to lunch at Caffe Florian where Byron, Proust and Dickens used to hang out (not together). Byron’s bear never made it here – have checked. After Cambridge, the bear retired to Newstead Abbey where he lived with a wolf.
Here I am at the beautiful Caffe Florian:
After lunch we head to the Basilica which is quite extraordinary:
It was built 1063 -94 and remodelled over the following centuries. It became the cathedral of Venice in 1807.
The Quadriga, the original bronze horses, were stolen from the Hippodrome in Constantinople in 1204. They used to be on the facade but are now inside the Basilica in the museum. Show you:
Now there are replica horses on the facade:
One last thing: the Torre dell’Orologio. Built in the late fifteenth century, the central section is thought to have been designed by Mauro Coducci:
It displays the phases of the moon and zodiac.
After all this, have a sleep. Now am sitting up in bed writing. The panther lies next to me, on Mum’s bed, dozing, resting his head on his front paws. Am drinking coffee and eating a grapefruit.
Tonight is our last night here so we are going out to dinner soon.
In the attached photo, am with a nineteenth century Lion of St Mark (the symbol of Imperial Venice) in Campo Manin.
Happy Friday everyone!
*1935. Verse drama by T.S. Eliot about the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury cathedral in 1170. Nothing to do with Venice am afraid…