the post I promised on Venice

Venice could be regarded as the first canal estate in the world. The nucleus of the city began in the Rialto zone where canals were dredged out of the swamp and the earth obtained was then used to raise and reinforce the area for buildings. The Grand Canal (the main highway) of Venice and the numerous side canals all around 5 metres deep, connect to the sea. They form a network for transport and trade. Most of the palaces line the Grand Canal. My first experience of Venice was arriving there by train to find the streets slightly flooded by rain and the high tide.. I booked into a hotel near the station where the manager was still swishing water out of the foyer with a broom. Luckily, my room was high and dry on the floor above. After waiting for an hour for the water to subside further, I went for a walk to St Marks square to see the Ducal Palace and St Marks cathedral. The square was still about 30 cm ( one foot) underwater and there were planks to walk upon to access these tourist sites. The water was gone next day and I spent another four balmy sunny days in late October 1976 exploring this fascinating city including the parts not normally visited by tourists.. Like Florence, there are too many treasures to describe here, but other than the sites around the square, Rialto bridge and Grand Canal, I recommend the following to view by foot or gondola : – Palazzo Foscari (a Gothic palace by gondola), church of Santa Maria della Salute ( the walk there is worthwhile), the Academy Gallery for many famous paintings, the church of St Maria Gloriosa del Frari to see the painting “Assumption” by Titian, Rio San Barnaba for the most interesting architecture to take in as you stroll along the canal and over cute little bridges, Campo San Polo or some of the other town squares. It is essential to have a good map showing what you can access by foot or gondola.

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