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June 20-22, 2004
What is it with these people and pigeons!  This guy is actually playing with the pigeons.  I'm just not into winged rats crawling all over my arms, shoulders, and head.
This sits very high on top of a pillar.
Traffic jam.  One gondola sneaking around a corner, with two small motor boats.
Elizabeta, our tour guide on the morning of 6/22.

She was fantastic and feisty, especially when arguing loudly with other tour guides about who had the right of way.

Everywhere we looked, there was something beautiful to see.
Lou just cannot be trusted to leave the babes alone, even when I am right frickin' there.

Oh, he says, she just got in the way.  Right.

Even the saints don't believe Lou.
Look how they frown down on him.  Tsk tsk, Lou.  Leave the babes alone.
We wandered along and found plaza after plaza.  Or should that be, piazzetta after piazzetta.
Street musicians are as common as statues and fountains.  This guy is playing crystal water glasses, like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality.  (Okay, that movie reference is just not up to our usual high sci-fi standards.)

Just amazing beyond belief to listen to.

From the water taxi, we passed this adorable garden and very cool pink house.
Venetian glass.  Absolutely gorgeous.  Heck, we bought some!
We bought a Venetian Red decanter with 6 glasses.
I think this is the entrance to the Basilica.  No pictures were not allowed inside and I didn't chance it ;-)
Another large empty plaza.
Since real estate in Venice is extremely expensive, this is how people have gardens.
This is a 24 hour clock.
For tax purposes, builders would link 2 buildings together via a bridge so it could be counted as a single structure.
Quiz of the week:  what door is this?
Excursion: Doge's Palace, St Mark's Cathedral And Glass Showroom

6/22 morning

Explore two highlights of Venice's St. Mark's Square along with a visit to a showroom of Murano glass.

WHAT YOU VISIT Piazza San Marco - Your knowledgeable guide leads your walking tour through the very heart of Venice, pointing out the city's landmarks, including the Doge's Palace, St. Mark's Basilica, the Campanile and the many arcaded buildings around the square.

St. Mark's Basilica - Venice's basilica is a testament to Byzantium's influence on Venice. The fašade features gold mosaic arches rising above the carved, Romanesque portal and the rooftop is bedecked with five domes, reminiscent of St. Sophia in today's Istanbul. Your guide points out the basilica's feature before you enter; guides are not allowed to narrate while visiting the interior. Then join the entry line. The basilica's interior features marble floors and walls that blend in exquisite, carpet-like patterns. Gilded mosaic murals, like icons, adorn the walls.

Doge's Palace - Residence of the Doge and Venice's seat of government-the Palace was the example of the Republic's maritime and commercial power. The ornate fašade features an arcaded loggia, and your interior tour takes in the famous Golden Staircase, the Great Council Chamber, other historic rooms, and paintings by Tintoretto and Veronese.

Bridge of Sighs - Cross the 17th-century covered stone bridge that is one of Venice's most photographed landmarks. The bridge links the Doge's Palace with the old prison dungeons.


Excursion: Hidden Venice Walking Tour

6/22 afternoon

Explore Venice's intricate maze of pedestrian passageways on a 2 1/2 hour guided walk that passes along narrow canals, over ornate little bridges, and into the depths of the city.

WHAT YOU SEE ON YOUR WALKING TOUR Santa Maria Gloriosa Dei Frari - The fašade of this immense 14th-century Franciscan church is a simple, Gothic brick design punctuated with a white marble portico and pinnacles.

Campo San Polo - One of Venice's oldest squares, the Campo was a staging area for ceremonials, bull running and theatrical performances. Today it is a venue for the film festival-and Venice's Carnival celebrations.

Riva del Vin - This rare stretch of pedestrian access to the Grand Canal was where wine barrels were offloaded from vessels to warehouses. The Riva offers a superb view of the Rialto Bridge.

Rialto Bridge - The Rialto was built in stone in 1524, following the collapse of several of the city's wooden bridges. The overhanging porticos housing shops came at a later date. The most famous bridge in Venice, the Rialto offers lovely views of the Grand Canal.

Fondaco dei Tedeschi - This large Renaissance style building was once a warehouse and a large emporium; since 1870 it has served as the main post office.

Campo San Giovanni e Paolo - This monumental square typifies Venetian style: a church sits at the square's focal point, there's a central monument, and patrician palaces interspersed with modest houses stand on the periphery.

WHAT YOU VISIT Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo - The city's most ambitious piece of Gothic architecture was begun by Dominican fathers at the end of the 13th-century. Dedicated to Saint John and St. Paul, the church features a main portal that exhibits the shift in style from Gothic to Renaissance. Widely spaced columns divide the nave into three aisles, and the church houses the tombs of 25 Doges. The stained glass windows were fashioned by Murano glassblowers. Prior to your independent visit of the church, your guide wll explain the interior and exterior features from the outside.

WHAT YOU SEE ALONG THE WAY A short transfer by motorcoach takes you to Piazzale Roma, where your walking tour begins. Your guide leads you through narrow streets and passages, explaining the city's architecture and history. After reaching the waterfront near St. Mark's, your guide directs you to the motor launch for your return by water to the ship. You may choose to remain in Venice; you are then responsible for your return to the ship.


 St. Mark's Square Doge's Palace Gondola and Canals


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