Lessons from the Road #5: Venice

Lesson #5:  Practice, practice, practice. Excellence is all about hard work.

The island of Sant’Erasmo, where we were staying, is a 30-minute vaporetto (waterbus) ride from Venice proper, and then another vaporetto ride to Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). This had its pluses and minuses. On the plus side, if we hadn’t stayed there we would never have gone to visit Sant’Erasmo. It’s a tiny island with one hotel and one restaurant—in the hotel.

The hotel, Il Lato Azzurro

On the negative side, we had to plan according to vaporetto schedules—and the vaporetto to Sant’Erasmo, for the most part, ran only once an hour. Back on the plus side, I enjoyed the vaporetto rides, especially when I could stand outside in the cool air—even in the chilly early morning.

Vaporetto Ride Cemetery Island from Vaporetto From Vaporetto

Because of the vaporetto schedule, we had to leave Sant’Erasmo early to get to St. Mark’s Square and make our entry time for the Doge’s Palace. We left before the hotel’s breakfast was available, but we arrived plenty early enough to breakfast at the outdoor café of one of the hotels near the Palace. The pigeons there are quite bold; they hop right up on the table to help themselves to leftovers after patrons leave. The wait staff clearly had experience with shooing the birds away. I wish I had a picture, but, of course, the birds had been shooed before I could get my camera ready.

Fortified with breakfast of ham and cheese on toast—and a café doppio for me—we went off to the Doge’s Palace. The tour encompasses only a small part of the palace, but it was all quite ornate (no photos allowed in the palace).

Doge's Palace Entry to Doge's Palace

Except for the prisons, of course. Those were small stone cells with huge wooden doors.

Doge's Palace Prison Door

We walked across the Bridge of Sighs—named not for romance but for the sighs of those prisoners condemned to die. (I find that I don’t seem to have taken a picture of the Bridge of Sighs—alas, sigh,… You can check out the ones on the Wikipedia link.)

Then on to St. Mark’s Basilica.

Copy of St. Mark's Entrance Gabriel

Too bad photos aren’t allowed inside, because the place is filled with incredible mosaics, all of them backed with gold. Amazing. Yes, I bought postcards. (Here are some more shots from Piazza San Marco to fill the void.)

Doge's Palace courtyard St. Mark's St Mark's Square Bell Tower

Then it was time for gelato. (When isn’t it time for gelato, really? Just ask John Pinette.*)

As we ate our gelato, we wended our way toward the Gallerie Dell’Accademia. We had seen signs around the city for an exhibit they were having on the studies of Leonardo Da Vinci. The studies were amazing, so many and so small. He made all these tiny, incredibly detailed drawings—studies of arms, of hands, of bodies in motion, of the faces of old men, of horses running, and other things I can’t remember. All these studies of the various components he needed to practice for his paintings. Of course, the man was incredibly talented—there is no question of that. But he also knew the value of hard work. Practice, practice, practice. (I need to take that lesson to heart for my writing!)

*A huge thanks to my friend Michael for posting the link to the John Pinette bit in a comment on my Lessons from the Road #1 post. For those who didn’t see that link, I thought I’d share it here.

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3 Responses to Lessons from the Road #5: Venice

  1. L. Marie says:

    Wonderful photos!! I would so love to go.
    I’m soooo glad you won Susan’s book. You’ll have fun revisiting these lovely sights.

  2. Michaelangelo says:

    You’re welcome! And … get outta the line!

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