Our Italia Vacanza! Venice, Part 3: Getting Lost in Venice!

My favorite thing in Venice, well and all of Italy for that matter, was just walking around, watching the people, and taking in the ambiance of such a beautiful, ancient and culture packed place. I read in a few different articles to “just get lost” and that we did – more than once.  With tiny, curvy roads, signs in a foreign language,  and unreliable GPS on our phones, we got to experience many different back streets.  The first night we wondered around it was a little nerve racking but even by just the second night it started to feel very comfortable.  Of course, I am sure it didn’t hurt that I had a strong, handsome man on my arm!

We never took a water taxi – we hoofed it everywhere! And it was awesome! Here are some of my fave pics while we meandered around and just got lost in Venice.

Venice, Italy Venice, Italy Venice, Italy Venice, Italy Venice, Italy

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Venice, Italy

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Venice, Italy Venice, Italy

 

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Venice, Part 1: Canals and Bridges

Venice, Part 2: Doge’s Palace

Our Italia Vacanza! Venice, Part 2: Doge’s Palace

My favorite museum type building we went to in Venice was the Doge’s Palace. Not only because the building was really interesting but the building (and interior museum) along with self guided tour from *Rick Steve’s book immersed us into the very unique history that Venice has.

Probably my only complaint about Italy is that cameras aren’t allowed in most of the buildings or museums.  There were plenty of people who just ignored the rules but me being a stickler for rules and also always afraid of getting in trouble (especially in a foreign country! Eek!), was only gutsy enough to take a few sneaky pictures.

The Doge (Doge, meaning Duke) lived and ran the government from his palace. And the Palace was designed to impress and show off Venice’s immense wealth. First visitors climbed the Stairway of Giants and then went through the Golden Staircase (the ceiling is gilded in 24-carat gold).

The Stairway of Giants - Doge's Palace, Venice Italy

Golden Staircase, Venice, Itay

Mouth of Truth, Venice

The Mouth of Truth was for complaints and accusations.  Originally, any Venetian could anonymously place their suspicion of someone in the mailbox and the powers that be would take charge.

 

Chastity belt, Venice, Italy

Remember the couple times I was gutsy enough to sneak a picture?  Well it was for these two interesting devices in the armory museum part of the Doge’s Palace.  Above, is a chastity belt worn by the wife of Francesco da Carrara, Lord of Padua in the 15th Century. Ouch!  And below, another ouchie… a thumbscrew torture device.

Thumb Screw Torture Device

 

Here are a few more pictures of the outside and courtyard of this amazing building:

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Up next: Venice, Part 3: Getting lost in Venice

Previously: Venice, Part 1: Canals and Bridges

 

 

 

Our Italia Vacanza! Venice, Part 1: Canals and Bridges

I realized yesterday that it had been one year – to the day! – of when Mike and I started our incredible Italian vacation.  And then I sadly realized that I still hadn’t done anything with the over 800 pictures (yes, 800!) I took while we were there!  Of course at the time, I had grand intentions that involved photo books and a power point presentation to our interested friends and family but like so many things, it got pushed aside. And left there.  Well it seems like the perfect time to start going back through all those pictures and start sharing some of the best ones and our story.  I am not a professional photographer nor am I very good with photo editing software.  Luckily for me, these pictures didn’t need anything – all I really did was crop them and put a frame on them. It wasn’t me or the camera that was amazing, it was Italy.

As many of your know, Mike travels a lot for his work.  As soon as we found out that he would need to travel to Italy, I started figuring out how I could go with him.  Italy had always been one of my dream vacations and I wasn’t about to let it slip by.  Korea, Hong Kong, Columbia, yeah of course I’d love to go with him to those places if it worked out (which it never has) but ITALY?! I was prepared to pack myself in a suitcase if need be. In the end, although he had to do some work most every day, he was able to spend 8 days with me touring the top three destinations (the Trinity as it is often called) Venice, Florence and Rome.

One of the amazing things about Italy is that it is stunningly beautiful.  Everything is beautiful. Old buildings, bridges, fountains, the street (ha ha – no really, I am sort of serious). And now you know how I took over 800 pictures when I wasn’t even allowed to take pictures inside most of the places we went.

The first thing that struck me in Venice is what I think probably strikes everyone. The canals and bridges!

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There are no cars in Venice so everybody walks (or bikes) or rides in a boat. One of the reason that Venice is so expensive is because all supplies and groceries have to be brought in by boat.

If you look closely, you can see how the canals have risen and fallen over the centuries and how that has affected the buildings.

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IMG_4284a ^ This picture was from out hotel window.

 

Bridge in Venice, Italy Scalzi Bridge, Venice, Italy Walking over a bridge in Venice, Italy Bridge in Venice, Italy

I did take a picture of the famous Rialto Bridge but it didn’t turn out well, kind of like how I felt about it.  I just didn’t get the hype – it was so crowded that it was hard to walk over it and it was hard to see.

The Bridge of Sighs, on the other hand, completely lived up to it’s hype for me.  It was my favorite bridge and one of my favorite of all sights in Venice.

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The Bridge of Sighs connects the Doge’s palace to the prison and it was given it’s name for the condemned men that would be led over this bridge on the way to prison, take one last look at Venice and sigh. Tragic and beautiful.

Next up: Venice, Part 2: Doge’s Palace