Venice, the lovely city-A A +A
By Luci Lizares
Sunday, February 9, 2014
IT WAS night time by the time we arrived in Venice. We had made no arrangements for airport transfers so we opted for what was available at the Marco Polo Airport. Since there were three of us, we booked our own motorboat, a speedboat actually and we glided through the Venetian Canal feeling like ladies of a James Bond movie.
The captain of our “ship” showed us the many beautiful edifices along the Grand Canal passing through the only seven-star hotel to the famous Rialto Bridge and many more significant establishments.
Venice is undeniably the most beautiful city made by man.
After months of choosing which hotel would be the most proximal to San Marco Square and can fit us comfortably, unanimously we decided on a two-bedroom apartment. Our luxury apartment, Ca’ Mariele is a once upon a time villa now fully restored but with 21st century amenities. We were billeted in the second floor sans elevator but that was manageable. The long trip and the joy of being in Venice served as sedative enough for a peaceful slumber.
Our apartment is just 10 minutes away from the Basilica so early the next morning, we decided to offer a Mass of Thanksgiving for a safe trip and for the journey ahead. It was fascinating to see local color as we made our way to the church. There were merchants cleaning up or plying their goods with their gondolas.
It was a joy having the piazza all to ourselves. Usually there is an overflow of tourists walking and admiring the scenes, and cafés filled to the brim. Venice hardly has permanent residents. Locals have converted their homes into apartments or hotels just like the one we were staying in.
Piazzas are the social, religious and political centers. Napoleon once tagged the Piazza de San Marco as the drawing room of Europe. The piazza is laid out in front of the San Marco Basilica, which is its masterpiece. The magnificent church nicknamed “Church of Gold” because of its opulence was built in Venetian-Byzantine style and commissioned by the Doge Domenco Contarini. It is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice since 1807.
The Bell Tower, which is separate from the Basilica, is one of the city’s recognizable landmarks. Along the square are the 12th century Procuratie Vecchie Buildings that housed the apartments and offices of the procurators.
There were also the St. Mark’s Clock Tower and two columns of St. Mark and St. Teodore, the original patron saint of Venice.
Aside from the beautiful architecture, the people that swarm Piazza de San Marco, are the pigeons. We couldn’t help but have a photo op of that. Venice will not be complete minus the pigeons.
I noticed something rather quite disturbing. It was awful seeing sea gulls attacking the pigeons and devouring them. I saw this many more times during our stay in Venice. I never knew that sea gulls are such predators.
More on Venice in the next article.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 09, 2014.