July 5-8 Italy - Venice "It seemed strange"

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July 5 and July 6

Bozen - Venice, Italy

gondola 150bLeft Bozen at 6.10. Ride very much the same as the day before. Gorgeous at every turn of the very winding RR. Here began the vineyards growing on trees. By the numbers of grapes grown, one would suppose that they could supply the world! Had lunch on the train. As we reached the border between Austria and Italy, the baggage was examined. We were saved that trouble as we were without. As we neared Venice, we left the hills and the country became monotonous and there were such long stops in the stations! When we reached Venice at 12.30 we were met by Hotel Grand porter who put us in Gondolas - four in one and four in another, and took us on about a half-hour ride to Hotel Grand on The Grand Canal directly opposite Santa Maria della Salute. I fell in love with Venice at once - all but the odor! The little canal streets - where every now and then you pass under bridges - and the tiny crooked paved courts just wide enough for (?) to pass with high houses on either side.

We first went to St. Mark's Square where San Marco, the Campanile - clock tower and the doge's palace sprang into view all at once. A most beautiful sight. Visited San Marco twice. It was much more beautiful than I had anticipated - very ornate on the outside and every nook and cranny contains saints in colors of Venetian glass. The floor was exquisitely made of stone mosaic - altar of green marble with canopy top held in place by four beautifully carved columns - back of this altar seemed to be another altar with green spiral columns - said to have formed part of the Temple of Solomon. On either side of the chancel over rail two beautiful angels in mosaic. St. Mark's bones supposed to have been brought from Alexandria to Venice in 829 and deposited under the altar of the church? The bronze horses were supposed to have adorned the triumphal arch of Nero, and afterwards of Trojan (?. Constantine brought them to Constantinople, and one of the doges brought them to Venice. Napoleon took them to Paris, but they were restored in 1815. A wonderful view from the balcony - well worth paying the price to go up.

Next went into the doge's palace which dates from the doge 1424. It was the tribunal as well as the residence of the doges - dates back to 814, but has been rebuilt and restored several times - there are 2 arcades - the upper one called the "loggia" between the two red pillars the republic required for its sentences of death to be read. The columns of both court and loggia are decorated at the top with faces and flowers. The inside is decorated with pictures by Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, and Palma Vecchio are most beautiful - contains rooms of council, etc. of doges and private apartments - is now a picture gallery and museum. The walls and ceilings are most elaborately decorated by Tintoretto, Palma Vecchio, P. Veronese and Titian and others - went to see Titian's St. Christopher on the staircase - anyone looking on this figures was supposed to be saved from a violent death, so the picture was painted on the staircase so the doges could see it every morning when they went to chapel.

In St. Mark's Piazza is an enormous square tower called the campanile - a high bell tower which fell a few years ago and is not yet fully restored. At the right of the campanile facing St. Mark's, is the piazzetta - an open square with the lion of St. Marks and St. Theodore on a crocodile - on high columns on the leftof the clock tower with bell and two bronze figures which automatically strike a clock which has 24 hours on the dial. They use the entire 24 in telling time - time tables - the train leaves at 19 o'clock etc. The other sides of the square contains stores below and apartments above. Went into the middle of the square and fed pigeons with peas and corn which they ate out of my hand.

In the evening, we took a most beautiful gondola ride. The gondolas are very comfortable and the easy way the gondoliers stand and row with one oar is remarkable. Many of the private gondolas are beautiful. Our gondolier sang selections from operas for us. It seemed strange that anyone in such a lowly position should know operas instead of ragtime. The music gondolas decorated with lanterns were numerous and voices good. To lend to the enchantment, the full moon was shining down in all its splendor.

The shops were perfectly entrancing, and before you knew it you could hear yourself saying - I'll take this, I'll take that - corals - Roman pearls, scarfs, beads, pictures, Venetian glass, laces etc. Heard a concert in the square the second night. Have forgotten our trip to Lido the little summer resort - about 20 minutes ride from Venice - very pleasant, but not especially interesting. Still water bathing - some of the girls had on men's bathing suits - no shoes or stockings. Very warm weather and fleas, fleas, fleas! Scratch scratch!

 

July 7

Venice - Milano - Como - Bellagio

Left Venice at 8 reaching Milan at 12.30. Took autos and went to San Maria della Grazia to see Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper" - a most beautiful painting on the plaster of wall - not very well preserved, but still so very much better than copies on other walls and other conceptions of the same subject. Milan cathedral next with spires galore and statuary in every niche - inside the most beautiful arched roof of carved sandstone - three arches forming three aisles with enormous pillars of marble - the only coloring the most gorgeous windows - tremendously big - containing - I should say - about a hundred separate pictures of bible subjects - coloring most exquisite - at right and left of chancel stood two brass arrangements - can't describe - but which seemed out of harmony with the rest of the cathedral. From Milan to Como by train with mountain scenery continuously - snow-capped alps. At Como, beautiful lake Como came into view and a heavy storm was brewing. Started on the boat in a hurricane of wind and raging waves - saw rain all around us in the mountains and soon the storm broke on us with thunder, lightning, and hailstones as big as hickory nuts - really a most beautiful sight. Reached Bellaggio after a 2 1/2 hours ride on boat. The rain had ceased when we reached the dock. Went to Hotel Grande Bretagna, a very nice hotel but very fleay! Had a lovely room overlooking the lake - mountains in distance - which I could see from my bed.

 

July 8

Bellagio - Lugano, Italy

Bought olive wood and blankets and had picture taken for Swiss tickets. Bought blue straw baskets to carry purchases in - still without suitcases - and feel rather forlorn at nice hotels! Bellagio is built in the side of a mountain. Went up about a mile! of cobblestone steps to the photographer.

Took boat to Cadenabbia to see Villa Carlotta which was formerly owned by Prince Albert of Prussia, and named after his daughter Carlotta. It is now owned by Duke of Saxe Meiningen who has recently died - the most beautiful garden imaginable - terraces and flowers - fountains and mostly shrubbery and trees from every quarter of the globe - even California came in for a share. Magnolias most tremendous and Australian ferns and the most exquisite varieties of pines and cedars. Saw terraces lined with blue lobelia - oranges and lemons growing on a pergola. Saw only the entrance hall of the villa - containing the original Cupid and Psyche and Magdalen & Cupid giving Pigeons a Drink by Canova.

Took the 2 o'clock boat to Menaggio - changed for train to Porlezza and then took the boat to Lugano. Stayed at Hotel Bristol. Had a nice room with a beautiful balcony overlooking Lake Lugano with mountains in the distance. At about 11.30 the moon came up and the scene from the balcony was so beautiful - it was positively uncanny. I had to pinch myself to appreciate I was really alive and seeing such gorgeous sights

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Last Updated ( Friday, 13 October 2017 11:50 )