We were very fortunate to have lovely weather for almost the entire trip, considering that it was winter and all. While not warm, it was a beautiful sunny day in Venice. We went along to the glass blowing demonstration. The demonstration itself was not that interesting, the guy made a vase, but the sales rep that gave us the talk on what Murano glass was and how the colors were mixed etc was very interesting. It really did make me want to buy something, and the wares on sale were fabulously beautiful, but in the end we both resisted. It was very interesting though, watching the guy drop precious gilded things from a height onto a slab of glass to demonstrate that they would not break. The slab of glass he dropped them onto looked pretty scratched up, but the Murano pieces themselves were unblemished.
After successfully resisting the urge to empty our pockets, we went into St. Mark’s Basilica. Everything inside is gold. Gold on the ceiling gold on the walls the solid gold altarpiece housing the remains of St. Mark himself … it was pretty, if you’re into that sort of thing. I was impressed because it was so incredibly Byzantine, and every surface was a mosaic.
For lunch we picked a nice looking sandwich shop and ate our sandwiches on the go, since it costs extra to sit down. One prosciutto, brie and arugula sandwich; and one ham, sauteed mushroom, peppers (boscaiola) sandwich.
I don’t know how three ingredients can be so freaking delicious. I mean, one of them is prosciutto, so that helps, but still. The bread was fantastic, the ingredients were fantastic, they were evenly toasted in and out so that the brie was ooey-gooey, it was just amazing. The other sandwich with mushrooms was even better, it that is possible. And these types of paninis are EVERYWHERE, in the busier areas of any city in Italy there are food stalls with them premade, displayed in glass cases, ready to be toasted up and CONSUMED with great gusto. Preferably by me. This may have been our best lunch of the trip, all for under ten dollars.
We walked toward the Rialto bridge while munching, and after I finished mine I got some fabulous, fabulous gelato for 1.50 euros. It was a flavor called fruitti di bosco, fruits of the forest, which comes in either regular or yogurt style. I went for the yogurt style. Halfway through I made a resolution to have at least one gelato every day I was in Italy (mission accomplished).
We headed for the Rialto fish market, but by the time we got there everyone had packed up and left already. We did get a decent whiff of the wares, and decided it was probably a good thing we didn’t arrive in time. Then we headed toward Tragicomica, located very very far away from the tourist hubs of Venice (my poor feet…) but worth the trip. One thing that really irked me about Venice is that a lot of shops that sell masks, glass and other Venetian souvenirs don’t have names or signs. If you don’t bother to name your own shop, how much pride do you have in it, really? It might as well be a kiosk. But Tragicomica was magical. I bought only one souvenir for myself the entire trip, from this shop : This mask.
ISN’T IT AWESOME! I KNOW RIGHT?
And then we walked back to St. Mark’s square and went to the Doge’s Palace, saw the largest oil painting in the world, were sufficiently awed by Venice’s bygone splendor and power and richy richness.
The only bad thing about this day was that dinner was catered by the hotel, and it was basically cafeteria quality food. I could make better pasta sauce than that in my sleep.