Posted by: cyradisnyc | April 23, 2009

Day Three: Piazza San Marco

DaLet’s just get one declaration out of the way right now. I loved both San Marco and the Doge’s Palace. The guidebooks I read before then are those that try to get you away from touristy places into the “real” wherever. In this case, I think they are wrong to dissuade people from visiting these places. (Snide comments about “first-timers to Venice” didn’t go down well. Personally, I will go back every time–probably more than once for each trip! I did, however, appreciate the tip to not have a coffee there.

We finally went on the tour of the Doge’s Palace, taking the “Secret Itineraries” tour. I almost didn’t suggest it, because the name is so melodramatic, but it takes you into parts of the palace that are only available through this tour. For example, Casanova’s cell! Both of them–the one where he failed to escape, and the one that he DID escape from. It was also great to be running around in such a building. The public areas are absolutely amazing, as well.

Following that, we went through San Marco. I suggest going upstairs to the Museum, because you get to go out onto the balcony where the replacement horses are. (You also get to see the real horses. With the current wave of repatriations going on, I wonder if Turkey will ask for them back?)

On the way back, we passed what had to be the most unintentionally meta thing I have ever seen. It is a large souvenir store selling the typical mix of masks, glass ktochskies, and t-shirts but is called “Veniceland.” It also has a terrifyingly large, fake plastic Casanova. It really drove home exactly how much of the current Venetian city is driven by tourism. (However, I did meet a Venetian who does not work in the tourism industry. It was encouraging.)

We wound up back at the Piazza, as we hadn’t been able to go to the Museo Correr and the National Archaeological Museum. If you truly want a cup of coffee in the Piazza, go to the little cafe in the Museo Correr. It is quite reasonably priced, and you can angle for a seat by one of the tiny windows overlooking the square.

We had the only mediocore dinner of the trip. I had spaghetti with clams, which was good, but not great.

Then we headed up to Treviso, where I had to switch to for the work part of the trip. We grabbed some awful pastries, not knowing that, including one secretly laced with grappa. (Once we got to the hotel, we bit into it and that was that. No more pastries.) The train system was quite easy to figure out, and Treviso is only about 30-40 minutes out of Venice.

* I’m writing these on the plane back, and watching “Quantam of Solace”. Why is Bond’s mysterious ex-love named Vespa? Is she a scooter? It’s not bad,

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