Monday, July 25, 2016

Venice, Day 1: St. Mark’s Square

Yes! Here we were in Venice. The first thing we did was to take the vaporetti (waterbus) to the stop near our hotel and drop off our luggages. Then we went out to buy jackets. It’s not because shopping was our priority. The reason was the weather was surprising cold and windy when we arrived. It was early October but it felt like early winter. All the clothes we brought along the trip were thin, which were perfectly fine for Rome and Florence but not suitable for Venice. It was actually hot in Rome during sunny days, you would just want to wear short sleeves. 

Without proper gear, we couldn’t function and enjoy the trip. We had to shop. It took us a while to find clothing stores because Venice is like a maze. After we found the shops and got our outerwear, we went to St. Mark’s Square. It was already late afternoon, too late to enter any site. Therefore, we wandered around St. Mark’s Square and nearby for the rest of the day.

That’s the Campanile and St. Mark’s Basilica. The tower is so tall, it can hardly fit in the frame. The exterior of St. Mark’s Basilica was under renovation and they worked slow, really slow. Yeah, I didn’t see a single soul working on the building there. In Italian tourist sites, there is always something under renovation. It almost feels like these sites are taking turns to undergo restoration. 

In St. Mark’s Square, a lot of cafes have outdoor seating and musicians performing. 

That’s the winged lion on the top of the column. The winged lion, the Lion of Venice, symbolizes St. Mark. The pink building on the left is Doge’s Palace.

The hallway in St. Mark’s Square retains old-world charm.

Sansovino's Library was build between 1536 and 1553. The Florentine architect, Jacopo Sansovino, broke free from Venetian Gothic and designed this building featuring the art of Florence and Classical Rome.

On the top of Sansovino's Library, there are statues.

The clock tower, Torre dell’Orologio, is a Venetian Renaissance architecture. There are two bronze Moors striking the bell to mark the hours on the terrace. The clock shows the hours, phases of the moon, and the signs of the zodiac. Above the clock is a gilded Madonna. Above Madonna is that winged lion again.

This is the picture I took the next day from the balcony of St. Mark’s Basilica. Facing St Mark’s Basilica is Correr Museum (in the middle of the picture above), which is such a gem. As you can see, there are a lot of people and pigeons in the square. I hate pigeons. Oh, I must warn you that there are vendors aggressively tricking you to buy pet food for feeding pigeons. They would keep harassing you and just not let you take pictures in peace. It’s really annoying. There are also vendors scamming tourists to buy ugly friendship bracelets. Usually, the vendor innocently gives away the bracelet as a gift and ties the bracelet on you. Next, he asks for money, and you soon find out you can’t get the ugly bracelet off. He will charge you 20 euros for that bracelet you don’t want to buy. If you don’t pay, other vendors/scammers/his friends will all come toward you and harass you. It’s really a turnoff that these con men reduce a historical site to this low. Maybe you should google it and find out about all these scams at tourist sites, so you can spot a scam and avoid it. Travel smart and stay safe. Don’t let these losers ruin your trip.

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