Venice. A city I never thought I would go to, but go I have. And it was incredible. It is strange, the beauty of that city. Full of canals, the sea, bridges and gondolas, art and glass, masks and history. And yet, it is a tourist city. Unlike any city I have ever been to, it is a city of tourists, full of English and French speakers to a near universal capacity. Shops with masks and Murano glass line nearly every street. And yet the beauty remains and the pride of the lion continues to reign.
We went to the Basilica San Marco and inside it was incredible. Gold plated frescos and massive, square columns.
And the Dowager Palace. Full of art, the “golden stairway” and beautiful examples of architechture. Including the prisons, in which we managed to get lost briefly. Don’t worry, we made it out.
There was Murano, the island of glasswork. That place was cool. It was independent from Venice for much of it’s history and was the old master of glass production, the secrets passed through time from father to son. We saw a glass-blowing demonstration there.
We also went to the Glass Museum “Museo [Viterio].” Aside from some of the most beautiful examples of glasswork chandeliers and table “centerpieces” so extensive they were patterned after castle gardens, they also had glass from the 1st century there. That’s right. Glasswork nearly two millennia old.
We took a water bus as well and that was interesting and strange. Floating bus stations. So cool.
We did manage to get stuck on the wrong side of the canal once, and then were faced with the interesting realization that you can’t just walk across the street when you’re on the wrong side.
It’s a city of dreams. A city from the books my father read me as a child, full of the kind of beauty made more beautiful because of its dying.
And when you see the lion. There seems no animal more appropriate. Fierce, protective, oftentimes lying down. As if even in its fatigue, it carries its full power and pride yet.