Sorry for the delayed post, the Internet at the hotel where we are staying ( one of the most expensive hotels of our whole trip ) is really slow ( it actually took me 5 attempts to up load this post ) and Venice has been a very busy time, so fitting a post in has been a bit of a challenge.
Day two in Venice started off with a stroll we headed to the Rialto bridge area, to go to a shop gadget was keen to have a look at. I think here more than anywhere else we have wandered in and out of shops.
Then we headed here and had a coffee, and sat and watched the boats float past. It's so intriguing watching boats travel along the canals loaded with goods and boxes doing deliveries. Lounges, tables everything is transported by boat, we even seen a boat on a canal with a man clipping the hedge.
We discovered the fish and vegetable markets. At about 11am when we had arrived a lot of the fish had already been sold, but it was interesting to see all the different fish and a swordfish being cut into huge slices like a steak.
Just after lunch we headed back to Piazza San Marco to meet an organised tour.
Our tour guide explained a lot of details about the square, including the time periods that the relative buildings were built. The history is very interesting.
The tall red skinny building in the image above is the Campinile of St Marks basilica ( the bell tower) this is the newest building in the square it was originally built in 1156, and was also used as a watch tower, to identify foreign ships entering the harbour. Unfortunately the Venetians left it too long to restore this building and when it was undergoing its second restoration in the early 1900's the building totally collapsed and had to be totally rebuilt , it is now as it originally looked. The only original parts of the building include the bell and the entrance to the tower which can't be seen in this image.
We then went into San Marco's Bascilica and our tour guide explained all the features of the church including the absolutely stunning mosaics, both on the ceiling and the floor. Sadly we were not allowed to take photos in the church so I m not able to share this with you. But let me just say the church took my breath away. It was so incredibly old but so incredibly spectacular.
After the Bascilica we headed into the Doges palace. The doges were the " prime ministers " of Venice. They were elected to their position and remained in that position until their death.
The palace was were they lived but it was also the political centre of Venice. It housed the official offices and rooms where the elected officials ( one from each area of Venice) 12 in total ( I think) worked and voted on important issues of the day.
This is one of the ceilings of the official chambers in the Palace. Our Guide explained that all the paintings are on canvas ( ceiling and walls) and are actually suspended slightly off the original structure ( walls and ceilings) to allow airflow behind the paintings, this has resulted in the paintings surviving in the very humid environment of Venice. All of these paintings are original and have been made from crushed stones / gems which has ensured they have maintained their glorious colours over the centuries.
We also went across the Bridge of Sighs.
The bridge of sighs was the bridge walkway from the Doges Palace to the Gaol. It was called the bridge of sighs because it would often be the last time prisoners would see the outside world.
This is the clock tower in San Marco Piazza, it is the newest building ( in original condition) in the piazza it was built in 1499. The large dial at the bottom of the image shows the zodiac, it also shows ( but you can't see it in the image ) the phase of the moon and the hour of the day. Just above that in the two small boxes the hours and minutes of the day, the hours are in Roman numerals the minutes are numbers. And at the very top you can see the bell with two statues. At two minutes to the hour the statue on the right, strikes the bell and then on the hour the statue on the left strikes the bell the appropriate amount of times for the hour. It used to be all manually controlled, with wheels and dial ect, with a family housed in the tower to maintain it. But of course these days it is all automated.
The tour was three hours long and very very interesting